Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The toddlers have installed secret passageways throughout the house. It's just like the classic board game "Clue", except without the conservatory and the billiard room, and Col. Mustard lives in the fridge and bleeds on my ham sandwich. OK, it's not much like "Clue", and I don't have proof, but I highly suspect that somewhere hidden behind the bookcase is a dimly lit tunnel that leads directly to the shower in the spare bathroom. This tunnel is not only used for sneaking past Mom and Dad, but, more importantly, I'm convinced that this is where they keep their STASH!

This Easter, I stayed up late stuffing chocolate into plastic egg shells planning to hold an Easter egg hunt for my restaurant employees. I went to bed and left the eggs in a plastic bag within toddler reach. I was tired, and I wasn't thinking clearly. I awoke Easter Sunday to find at least a dozen eggs had been pilfered, their broken shells scattered across the floor, their treasures plundered. There sat my lovely children, brown smears across their chins, colored aluminum wrappers gripped tightly in their little fingers, and huge smiles revealing cocoa veneers by Dr. Cadbury, D.D.S. I conceded defeat and went to work with the remaining eggs.

For weeks afterward, we kept finding them chewing on those shiny pastel wrappers. We knew they had a stash somewhere, but where? We tore the house apart. We looked under cribs and in closets. We moved heavy furniture. We examined Mr. Bear for loose stitches. Try as we may, we could not find those chocolates anywhere. Eventually, the stash dried up, and the wife and I quickly forgot all about it. Until today.

You see, we thought we had put away all of the crayons until the children become more responsible. (By "more responsible", I mean they should actually be able to spell the word "responsible" before gaining access to crayons again.) In the past few weeks they have managed to color on everything from the furniture to the TV to the sliding glass door to the walls themselves. We put the crayons up when not in use, but one or two always seem to escape, and the temptation is too great for toddlers to withstand. So we have temporarily suspended their coloring privileges. But, today, Ella produced a crayon from her stash and proceeded to color on the back of the couch...again. It wasn't even a whole crayon. It was a pitifully small shard of burnt umber that might have been used to mark time served on the walls of a Turkish prison. I just hope she isn't hiding a shiv and planning to shank me in the shower before escaping from justice through her secret passageway to the bookcase. The headline would surely read, "Miss Scarlet, in the Shower, with the homemade Knife".

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