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A happy ending (on how to make a child look taller)

February 17, 2012

We started off to IKEA this morning with hopes high.  Every other time we’ve tried to check Elisabeth into IKEA’s childcare center (which includes a large and very popular ball pit) she has been deemed too short at the door.  I’m convinced she’ll be a teenager by the time she’s tall enough to pass through those hallowed gates.

Today, however, we had a strategy:  Teasing her hair in a tall beehive with a high pony tail on top.  As I worked on the pony tail, I explained that this was make her a little taller so she could join Charlie in childcare.  She looked at me sharply, “You mean so we can trick that lady?” I tried to explain that it wasn’t really a trick; except really it was so I just sort of trailed off….

But today, the trick worked!  There was one heart-stopping moment when the guard lady at the childcare door started patting the top of her head suspiciously, but at that point the extensive paperwork was complete, her shoes were off, and she was half way through the door, (with a line of waiting children threatening to storm the gates) so, with a dirty look, she let Elisabeth pass.

We headed home in the usual veil of IKEA fatigue. (Have you noticed the people going in IKEA look so perky, and the people coming out look like they’ve been in a street fight?)  About halfway home as I exited the highway and pulled up at a stop light, I glanced to my right and who should i see in the car next to me: DAN! With a car full of Hope Academy high school students.  It was a magical moment.  We honked and rolled down the windows and waved and shouted.  The children and I were so pleased.

But our dream soon became a nightmare as I pulled away from the light only to answer my ringing cellphone and hear those dreaded words:

Dan: “Honey, the back of the van is open.”

Me: “What do you mean, open?”

Dan: “Wide open. Pull over.”

I glanced over my shoulder and sure enough, the children’s hair was blowing all around and the hatchback of the van was sky-high.  Which would explain why all the way down the highway, Charlie was crying, “Lock the doors, Mom.  Aaaaahhh!  I don’t think the doors are locked.  Aaaaaah!”

And I just thought he was being weird.  And that our back window looked unusually clean in the rear-view mirror.

These things often happen to me, but I can usually keep them on the down-low.  I’ve found that if I just play it cool, the children take no notice and don’t tell on me.  (As in: “Sometimes, children, we close our van doors and sometimes we ride around with them open.”)

But of all the people to see me hurtling along down the highway with the door open….my husband. Oh the shame!

We pulled over and Dan had one of the high school boys, Giovanni Herrera, jump out and close it.

“It seems your carriage was in the way,” Giovanni explained sympathetically.

Which I guess is a happy ending, because no one has ever called my very, very beat-up double stroller a carriage before.  I feel so fancy.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth Saav permalink
    February 17, 2012 8:37 pm

    Once again, you leave me laughing.

  2. eva permalink
    February 17, 2012 8:52 pm

    once again i am dying laughing…..thanks lucy i needed that today ❤

  3. Cari permalink
    February 18, 2012 12:48 am

    I read this aloud to Pete (I do with most your posts). We both belly laughed and I could hardly finish it, by the end Danny looked at my face and said “Mommy why are there tears”. We both agreed we’re so glad you share these moments rather than keeping them to yourself!

  4. Alison Hanlin permalink
    February 18, 2012 1:46 am

    OK that one had me laughing out loud!

  5. Mary Olson permalink
    February 18, 2012 1:48 am

    This little essay tops them all; Phil and I had so much fun sharing this experience. And the pix of E. topped it all — THAT look! I am so thankful it had a hilarious ending 🙂 P.S. Did you hear that there are now 3 Caravans in the family? Keep those rear windows dirty all.

  6. February 18, 2012 8:46 pm

    Very Marie Antionette! This was an awesome story (as most of yours usually are).

  7. Terra permalink
    February 20, 2012 6:45 pm

    It’s so hard to pick a favorite Peppers entry. But since my laughter at this one got the most looks from my coworkers, it’s a strong contender.

  8. Carolyn permalink
    March 20, 2012 7:28 pm

    Lucy, you are hysterical! Thanks so much!

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