I made a mistake recently when emailing a friend back home saying that I thought Casper had overcome the worst of the “terrible twos”, even as I was writing it I knew I was doomed. The very next day he emptied the contents of our bathroom bin into the loo and flushed, just to see what would happen – unsurprisingly what happened was the loo blocked and overflowed and I spent the rest of the day bailing, plunging and flushing whilst trying to keep Theo from splashing about in all the water (and sending miserable texts to Neil about how unglamourous my life has become). Little did I know though that this was just a minor prelude for what was to come. Two days later he spectacularly trumped that behaviour and caused the most terrifying experience of my life. I went to Granville Island with some friends and the five children were merrily playing by the duck pond. They were all sitting together on a log, I looked down to check Theo hadn’t fallen off (which is fairly likely in these situations), looked back up and Casper had gone. I searched in the play boat next to us where he had been playing and he wasn’t there, nor was he feeding the ducks. The more places I looked the more it sunk in that he had vanished. Panic set in, my vision clouded over and I didn’t know what to do. Luckily I was with friends who calmly made sure we searched everywhere – at this point all I could see was the unfenced water hazard and main road. I was running up to strangers asking them to search for him, shouting out his description in shops – I never knew I had it in me, I was possessed. Once, many years ago I was at Covent Garden tube and heard a woman screaming that she had lost her child, I remember the absolute terror in her voice, now I know how she felt – I wish I didn’t. Eventually my friend Laura found him in a shop in the Granville Island Kid’s Market playing with the train sets after what could only have been about ten minutes of searching but felt like a lifetime. If I had been thinking straight I might have known he was answering the irresistible lure of Thomas the Tank Engine (he’d been to that shop once before a few weeks earlier and must have stored it in the special “trains and all their accessories” part of his brain) but in my panicked state I could barely remember my own name. When I saw him I was both over the moon to see him but also furious at him for doing it, I certainly needed a very large glass of Canada’s finest wine when I got home. Gladly he knows what he did was wrong, he has a book in which the mum cries (incredulously because her children were being naughty and driving her mad, how far fetched) and now always says “Mummy’s crying, don’t run away to play with trains, Mummy’s scared” when we get to that page so hopefully he won’t do it again. Thank you so much to Laura and Claire for being there. I may now never let him out of my sight again which may prove troublesome when he turns 18 but he’ll just have to deal with it.
Luckily I currently have and extra couple of pairs of eyes to make sure he doesn’t sneak off again, my parents are visiting. Unfortunately the weather has been so shocking that they’d been here for ten days before seeing the tops of the mountains. They have though seen a man on a unicycle, another man dressed in full 1920′s regalia – spats and everything – twice (and he was wearing a different outfit each time) and a wizard.
It has cleared up a bit now and we have managed a few days on the beach. The re-emergance of the sun has also meant the volleyball players have come out of the woodwork displaying a disturbing (though not unpleasant) lack of body fat. Add to that the kite surfers, paddle boarders, canoeists and tightrope walkers (yes – loads of them setting up professional looking ropes between the trees near the beach – it’s no ‘Man on Wire’ but pretty skillful nonetheless) I am feeling I ought to get out there and join in the relentless physical activity, either that or buy a Victorian bathing machine if I ever want to grace the beach with my pale, jellylike presence.
I’ll be the one in red.
It’s good fun being the tour guide, it makes me realise how at home we have become here. Mum and Dad still look like startled deer jerking their heads in every direction when trying to cross the road whilst I stride confidently out, I know that this sentence is very VERY bad “the Canucks were knocked out in the first round of the playoffs” and I know what signs like this means…
Though some things still remind me how far away I am….
You don’t get many Coyotes in Didsbury, or Skunks, Racoons and Bears come to think of it….oh, and a Loonie is a Dollar by the way (and a Toonie is, you’ve guessed it, two dollars).