This morning I rubbed my bleary eyes in order to better appreciate the vision of a two foot little munchkin walking towards me, arms outstretched and wicker waste basket jammed over his head. I don't know whether Egg was the one who originally put him up to it (and by this I mean 'imprisoned his baby brother in upside down bin') but whatever the case Dumpie now quite happily toddles around looking like an extra out of a low budget Star Wars movie.
Speaking of Dumpie, he's discovered a new pursuit involving the balcony and shot-putting items of varying value over the side. We are nine floors up here in Dad's condo which overlooks not only the beach but unfortunately an oft-frequented pool area and lovingly tended garden. In the past 24 hours we have recovered a fly swatter, play-doh tins and Dumpie's beloved teddy bear from down below. We are also aware of several missing pieces of cutlery and the telly remote control and we fear these have gone to the same fate, yet sadly we have not been able to recover them.
The first sense you have that a misdeed has occurred is upon hearing triumphant clanging of the iron balcony bars, followed by giggling. Then of course upon stepping outside, the sight of Dumps pointing down and bouncing up and down excitedly on his fat little hobbit feet, is really all you need to ascertain that he's chucked yet another something down on unsuspecting sun worshippers. Poor Dad...if he's not careful he's going to be caught out and pulled up before the residents committee.
(NOTE: Just now there has been a ten minute hiatus in writing this blog as Dumps came running past giggling hysterically and prompted Auntie Ba to race outside on the balcony, lean over and see what his latest conquest had been. Much to my horror discovered it is my home exercise equipment - Pilates bands - and I've just had to race downstairs and retrieve them. Dumpie is now rather contrite after a dressing down and is standing quietly on a chair beside Auntie Ba who is frying up some bacon for his breakfast. We all agree that Dumpie needs an au pair. His own au pair. Dedicated solely to watching him 24/7 and keeping not only him from harm, but those he comes in contact with.)
Yesterday for some Florida excitement we ventured to the giant supercentre Walmart. I love that place. I make no bones about it. I am hypnotized by not only the millions of things for sale in there, but by the 'cultish' way its run and managed by its mostly disinterested but nonetheless robotically keen work staff. Dad and Auntie Ba (wisely) veered off on their own to do the bulk of the grocery shopping, while I plopped Egg in the back and Dumps in the front of a big grocery cart and took off vaguely in the direction of childrens footwear to buy them some sandals.
After about five minutes of attempting to wedge their respectively stinky little sweaty toes into too tight footwear, both they and I had lost patience. However I hadn't counted on Dumpie assaulting Egg, and he began in earnest to use his higher position to turn around in his seat and grab handfuls of Eggie's hair and pull it out. Egg began screaming at him and trying to slap him away and this just encouraged Dumpie to get creative and so he began pulling off his little shoes and whipping them at Egg's head.
Soon we had a small audience, and I was on my hands and knees in aisle 10, trying vainly to put shoes back in boxes and get out of there (didn't help that Dumpie had access to the shelves and was whipping boxes to the ground faster than I could recover them. Egg meanwhile was sobbing and clutching his head and trying to clamber out of the grocery cart by standing on and squashing the foodstuffs that were in there with him, and the whole scenario was causing me great humiliation and distress.
It was by the screams that Auntie Ba was able to locate us, and like an angel she made her way toward us with grace and dignity and a kind smile and helped calm down the situation and accompany us out of the store...ignoring the many looks and stares of fellow Walmart shoppers.
Truthfully we have not had a single positive shopping experience with the boys since we've been here. The other day in "Walgreen's" (a giant chemist across the road) Auntie Ba and I had popped in to buy some shampoo and had mistakenly carried Dumpie over with us. As he is rather heavy and solid these days once inside the store he quickly wriggled free of our arms and took off at a fast trot - overcome with glee at the absolute plethora of fascinating items for sale - all on his eye level!
When we caught up with him his arms were full of shampoo and conditioner bottles, and catching our eye with delight he whipped them to one side and took off again. After replacing the bottles we found him moments later in the next aisle, sat on the ground with a huge carton of black combs between his legs, whipping them one at a time behind his head and giggling like it was the funniest thing on earth. We vowed NEVER to bring him into a store again unless secured in a pushchair with industrial strength straps.
With all this talk of Dumpie one would think that Eggie is being such an angel in comparison. This is not entirely true. While Dumpie has been wreaking havoc in grand public fashion, Egg has quietly, behind-the-scenes been depreciating the value of the condo by several thousand dollars. Play-doh has been ground into creme carpets, cushions have been started to come open at the sides and lose their stuffing, towels have been stained, dishes have been broken, and cremes have been squirted free of their containers, never to be discovered again (except as stains on towels and bedlinen).
Yesterday we had a false-start attempt to go to DisneyWorld with the boys. Though they would love rides like 'It's a Small World' (the one with the demented dolls singing happily about world unity and peace) and no doubt have the time of their lives, we the adults chickened out at the last minute and just couldn't face the two hour drive either way or the hours spent queuing up with the masses. Besides, we have discovered that the boys are just as happy to go through Grandpa's coin pocket by riding the mechanical toys at the front of shopping centers.
So Disney remains a glint on the horizon. It may or may not happen on Monday. Grandpa has cancelled his Monday morning tennis, but on the otherhand Auntie Ba and I are desperately trying to convey to a too kind-hearted Grandpa, that Disney would likely turn out to be one of the worst days of his life. We would like to spare him that experience.
On another note I must go now as Dumpie has just chucked some of the contents of Egg's 'doctors' bag' over the side. I believe the pretend blood pressure kit is now gonzo. So much for twelve quid at Hamley's dutyfree. Might as well have flushed pounds down the loo and saved myself the trouble.