It was quite the weekend in the Baby Squared household. On Saturday morning — warm and sunny — while I was hanging out with the girls, Alastair was downstairs in the basement doing some cleaning and organizing, good man. Alas, he made the fateful mistake of trying to brush a bit of the rust off our old dinosaur of an oil tank. Next thing we know, black gold (well, it was actually sort of pinkish) starts spurting out of the thing like someone just took a machine gun to it. And of course, the leaks were happening right at the bottom of the tank. And, of course, the thing was 3/4 full.
So, Alastair’s down in the basement like the Dutch boy with his finger in the dike, I’m running around trying to get him rags and buckets while simultaneously calling our oil company and trying to explain to the girls that, no, we are not going to go to the playground as planned, because mommy and daddy are trying to deal with a problem, and they need to stop asking about the playground and stop asking for juice and stop fighting over where on the living room rug your baby dolls want to sleep, I will get you your juice in a minute, we just have a bit of a crisis, and mommy and daddy are a little bit tense. Do you know what tense means? It means we are a little bit scared and a little bit sad and angry because something bad is happening — but no! Not too bad, you don’t have to be scared. Just please. Please stop asking to go to the playground. And please, Clio, please stop taking Elsa’s baby. And no, Elsa, please do not come down into the basement. Yes, that’s very nice that you want to bring daddy a paper towel, and I know you’re trying to help but just…please….
Household calamities involving flammable liquids + two three-year-olds = really not a great mix.
After half an hour and two calls to our oil company with no call back from a service person, I said screw this, and called the fire department — which I should have probably done in the first place. A fire truck pulled up in front of our house approximately 30 seconds later. It was just a few guys at first, but then the deputy fire chief showed up, and then another whole truck. I think there must have been eight firefighters there at one point. They did a lovely job, helping to slow the leak and clean up the oil that had spilled. But there was also a lot of just standing around and chatting and laughing and asking us questions about our house (so, who did that roofing job? really nice!). I think they were all really psyched to get out of the station on a warm, sunny Saturday, and were in no hurry to leave.
Of course, it was entertaining for us, as well. The girls and I hung out in the backyard, escaping the oil fumes and watching the action, playing in the sandbox, eating PB+J. One of the firefighters was very sweet with the girls. He asked them how old they were, and Elsa said, “Actually, we’re three.” (“actually” is a popular word with them these days. Though they don’t actually use it correctly all the time.) Then she added: “And actually, we’re twins.” This was, actually, the first time we’d ever heard either one of them make overt reference to the fact that they’re twins. Very interesting!
Seeing all the fireman – toddler bonding that was going on, I asked the firefighter if maybe I could take a picture of the girls with him. He suggested that I take a picture of the girls on the truck, which was what I was hoping he’d say (heh heh). So, I got this choice pic of Elsa driving the ladder engine. Clio did not care to have her picture taken on or near the truck. But, if you look carefully, you will see that she is, in fact, visible in the photo. (Totally a happy accident. A little cute, a little sad.)
Eventually the oil company showed up and pumped out the old tank. God knows how much this whole fiasco is going to cost us — not to mention the cost of a new oil tank. (If we don’t end up switching to gas, that is.) I don’t even want to think about it. But it could have been a whole lot worse — like, the tank could have busted open and leaked all over the place without us knowing it had happened, and it would have been a nightmare.
And speaking of the other sorts of leaks that have been happening around here — namely in Elsa’s pants — things sort of came to a head a few days ago. She was basically not asking to use the potty at all, just peeing and pooping in her pants constantly. We started getting very serious about watching her body language and bringing her to the bathroom when she started doing “the dance,” and we reinstituted a sticker chart, like in the potty training days of yore (i.e. October). We are not out of the woods yet, but at least it feels like we’re doing something.
The moral(s) of this story: replace your old oil tank, thank your local firefighter, and never underestimate the power of stickers.
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