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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Open and Shut

I feel a draft coming from somewhere. The window is closed, so I head down the hall to the kitchen. The sliding glass door is open, only the screen shut against the chilly fall air. Blake is out on the trampoline, doing backflips and aerials. "Blake! Don't leave the door open, it's too cold!" I shout. He backflips onto the ground and yells, "Sorry!" Someday I need to sit him down and explain the definition of 'sorry'. I shut the glass door and pick up the baby, who has toddled up to cling to my legs.
     It's his naptime, so I carefully close the hall door and his bedroom door and---there's a muted rattling and a small voice yelling. I sigh as the baby slobbers on my shirt and tries to bite me, a sure sign he's ready to nurse, and go back through the hall to the kitchen. John is at the top of the stairs, trapped by the baby gate. He rattles it fiercely, calling at the top of his lungs, "I--WANT--TO COME--UP!!"
     I open the gate and John slams it shut again. "We can leave it open now because I'm putting James to bed," I explain as I open the gate again. I get him a snack and he runs outside with Blake, leaving the glass door open. I shut it and go back to naptime prep.
     The doors are shut and I settle into my nursing chair. Both of us doze in the quiet, then someone opens the hall door and it bangs against the doorstop. James twitches in his sleep, then resumes nursing, but I hear rummaging in the next room, then footsteps pound down the hall, and someone has left the hall door open.
     For the next several minutes I listen to the voices in the kitchen, the dishes clonking and feet pounding, the noise traveling unhampered into the back hallway. Luckily, James is too out to notice, and I'm able to place him into his crib--just as John opens the door.
     I turn quickly but carefully--"Shhh." John stops, then tiptoes up to me. "I'm hungwy for a dwink," he whispers. At least he is one of my children who knows how to be quiet. We shut the door behind us, close the hall door too, and I get him a drink. He settles in front of the computer and his favorite game and I start to make dinner.
     I call the kids in to set the table and they come in arguing, leaving the glass door open again. I tell the last one in to shut it and they close the screen. "Close the glass door!" They grumble, "It's not that cold." I start to explain that the furnace will heat anything below 70 degrees and do they want to pay to heat the whole outside? Someone slams the gate shut and dishes clatter onto the counter. We manage get the table set and then I realize that the hall door is open again. How do they do it? I was right here all the time and I didn't notice.
     After dinner, the baby is awake and kids are playing, so I have some quiet time. I sit on my bed and read a book. Soon enough, someone comes in to ask something, then they leave and close the door. "You can leave it open--I want it open!" But they're gone.
     I get up and open the door.

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