Our friends ask what it’s like having Elisabeth (our 17 year old) in India for 10 months. Well, she’s been gone for 2 months, but it certainly doesn’t feel like she’s on the other side of the globe. It feels like she’s just away at her summer job as a counselor at Camp Icaghowan in Wisconsin.
But then we see pictures of her in a sari surrounded by Indian people, and we talk weekly with her on Skype (as she often sports a dot on her forehead) and we hear about her new friends from Sweden and Mexico and about the local color in India, like festivals and rickshaw taxis and squatter toilets. And then we remember where she is and it’s a little surreal.
I can understand why, for some people, such a departure (like having a child go away to college) frees up space in the house by removing someone from the daily scrum. But since we’re a family who, for better or worse, can’t get out of each other’s way, Elisa being gone shrinks the house and we each have fewer people to tease, and laugh and argue with. The house is different without her — though it’s funny that the bedroom that she and Catherine share isn’t any cleaner.
But seriously, more than anything else, we just miss Elisabeth a ton. We just miss talking with her and seeing her every day.
But she has a great attitude and is having an amazing experience (www.elisabethinindia.blogspot.com) and we know that she’s staying safe and is meeting lots of students from India and all over the world.
This week, Timothy was like a performer in Las Vegas, with regular shows at 4 and 7, and an occasional preview at 1. The only problem is that he only does early morning shows. That means this was not a hall of fame week of sleep for TRBL or the rest of the family, as the little fighter battled some combination of teething, a cold and a little upset stomach (and the rest of us battled something resembling a lack of sleep).
So just as Laura and Catherine bonded together while shopping for hours, as Cat tried on different Homecoming dresses and found one that she wanted, Timothy and I enjoyed some father-son time for a few hours very early Saturday morning while he tried out different sleeping positions and locations before finding the one he wanted.
Note: Again, it is worth noting that Timothy is a gold medal sleeper 90% of the time, so our night challenges are nothing compared with those for some kids. And like all young couples, it’s an ongoing balance to decide when to pick him out of his crib and when to try to let him sleep through the crying (his and ours).
As we’ve said before, the ‘ball pit’ is an amazing invention. Take a few hundred plastic balls in a large box (the pit), have kids dive playfully in them and then hopefully disinfect the balls every few years. When Timothy was born, he received a portable ball pit, with about 50 plastic balls in a cloth dragon. He took his time getting interested in it, but now that’s his hot toy of the week. It’s fun to see him take out the plastic balls and throw them around and play with them. But you can also see why normally the balls are inside of a ‘pit’ — because otherwise it’s just a big fat mess of plastic balls (albeit colorful ones) rolling around on the floor.
And so we sometimes have Timothy help with the clean up. You just have to watch it, because his understanding of ‘clean up’ is that step one is putting the balls into the box, and step two is dumping the balls back out of the box — which obviously (and to TRBL’s delight) necessitates a return back to step one, and then step two, and then step one…
And actually, we can deal with the two (or twenty) step clean up process — just so long as Little Elvis agrees to give up his Las Vegas night act.