When both children are out of sight and quiet, only bad things are happening. Never will you turn the corner to see both of their clean (ha!) smiling angelic faces peer up from the blocks they are stacking or the picture book they are perusing.
I learned number 281 the hard way. I was rinsing the last of the breakfast plates, lost in thought about a grocery list I should write when I acknowledged the deafening silence. No fighting. No crying. No incessant toddler babble about this or that. Numbing quiet. First I smiled, imagining that Scarlett and Aveline had finally learned how to share that one toy of their hundreds that they both must have. Then the knowing dread crept up from that part of the pit in my stomach where you know something is not right, but not dangerously wrong. Just messy wrong. I slowly placed the last dish in the rack and turned to the playroom. Imagining the worst, I peered around the corner.
"Look Mommy! SNOW!!!!!" cried my first born. Scarlett's smile flashed beneath a white powdery beard. She was busy scooping up the flakes as quickly as possible, shoving them into her mouth.
Aveline (I presume, being the taller and more criminally experienced of the two) had reached onto the counter and taken my Splenda container to her lair, sprinkling the "snow" all around her playroom. Scarlett, my sweet toothed child, was eating it as fast as she could without sucking it directly off of the floor.
I cleaned up the mess (who knew that Splenda got sticky when wet?) and the children, thankful she had not reached the syrup that sat two inches farther back on that same counter.