During Hurricane Sandy our family was very lucky to have sustained no damage, no power outages, and no injuries. We did, however, deal with the difficulty of spending several days stuck in the house with a 2 1/2 year old who wasn't allowed to go outside. The weather started to turn on Monday morning, and my school, Ella's daycare, and Mike's office all closed in anticipation of the storm. Mike and I both had work to do so we switched on and off between Ella duty and work duty throughout the day. Ella was generally thrilled that we were all home for another day (mostly because it meant she could stay in her pajamas), but also because she had the two of us to interchangably entertain her, and entertain her we did. By 9:30 that morning she had already fingerpainted, played with Playdoh, played catch, changed into a tutu, and ridden her quad in the living room.
At some point she got into her bin of play clothes, and she kept coming into the office to show me her latest costume. She would come in wearing sunglasses, a scarf, and a hat, or her safari outfit, or her waitress outfit and announce what she was about to do. "Mommy, I'm going on a camping trip!"
I wondered how we were going to survive so many hours stuck in the house, but for the most part she surprised me with her new found ability to play by herself. This is a truly magical moment in the life of a parent, when you suddenly realize your child is not pulling at your pant leg, and in looking around realize she isn't even at arms length. You perk up your ears for a moment and hear the quiet nonsense noises of a little girl talking to herself. You quietly peer around the corner and find that there she is, nestled among her dollies, or surrounded by her kitchen supplies playing happily without you. You tiptoe away as quietly as you arrived and bask in the freedom of the next five minutes. You go to the bathroom, have a cup of coffee, watch a few minutes of the Cooking Channel, or make a phone call. You know it will end soon, but after so many years of doing everything with one arm, one eyeball, and one pant leg focused on her, you stop to enjoy this moment of not being pulled in any direction.
Of course, this doesn't last long, and before you know it you hear her yell, "Ready or not! Come and find me!" even though you never agreed to a game of hide and seek. At first, you can't find her, and for the first time you are actually impressed with her hiding abilities. After a minute you start to get a little nervous until you hear that unmistakable giggle coming from the bathroom. You look around until you see a tiny hand peeking out from the cabinet under the sink, and you are reminded once again that a 2 1/2 year old is pretty good at entertaining herself.