“Why does the power hafta go out?” my four-and-a-half year old repeatedly asked me last weekend. “Well, it doesn’t have to,” I told her, “I just think it might because it’s so windy outside.” Cue the flicker and the familiar zap/whir of all the lights and electric gadgets shutting off simultaneously. Since it was still daytime, I think Sonja thought I’d just turned off the TV. “What was that pop?” she asked. “The lights went out,” I said. “Yeah, but why did it pop?” she asked again. This continued for several minutes. You get the picture.
We entertained ourselves for a while, playing games and lighting candles. As dinnertime approached, we were all getting bored. We went out to pizza at the best place in town, where Sonja gets to make her own pizza and tell the cooks, “pie up!” To which they respond, loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear, “PIE UP!” and put her pizza in the oven.
Returning home, it looked like we had power. Everybody else around us had power. We clicked the button on the garage door opener. Nothing happened, but that didn’t mean anything. We have to hit that button a minimum of fifty times to get the door to open. Unfortunately, this time, we didn’t actually have power. It was just our street, where a line had been downed. About 6 houses total. Around the region, 150,000 other houses were sans electricity. At this point, we figured we were in it for the long haul.
At 7:30, we made the unanimous decision to spend the night at my parents’ house. Some of this decision was influenced by the fact it was going to be a long night with a scared child in our own house, and some of it was influenced by the fact that without electricity to power his C-PAP machine, my husband (and I) will at the least get a very terrible night’s sleep, and at worst, die (or be killed by me when I can no longer stand the snoring.)
We gathered all the food we wanted to salvage and packed our bags for a night away. Sonja loves packing. She keeps asking if she can pack to go to Canada, a trip we may or may not take this summer. So she was all over this like peanut butter on jelly. She got her backpack and the toys she wanted, clothes, and a few bedtime stories. Packing for an overnight trip is much harder in the dark, and when you are trying to transport the entire contents of your refrigerator and freezer, a life-saving electrical device, a gallon of distilled water to use in the life-saving electrical device, and whatever armload of items that your child hasn’t looked at in months but simply cannot do without for one night. And the dog.
Once we got to the house, put away all the food, and unpacked our things, I then got Sonja into bed, stories read, and nightlight on. That’s when the screaming began. She didn’t want to stay at Grandma’s. She wanted to go home. “But we have no power,” I said. “You’ll have to sleep in the dark.” “But, I don’t want to stay heeeere!” she cried. The dog and I agreed to stay in the room with her until she fell asleep.
At 5 a.m., the screaming recommenced. This time, Sonja said she saw an ant in her bed. Since Shaun was getting ready to leave for work, she got into bed next to me. A few hours later, when she finally got up, I was the only adult person left in the house. A quick check of our security cameras let me know that power had been restored to our own abode, about 13 hours after it left us. So I made the beds, packed up all the groceries and all our stuff, and the dog. 50 button presses later, the garage door opened and I unpacked all of the groceries, all of our stuff, and the dog. By 10:00 a.m., I was feeling like I’d done more than a day’s work. And that’s when the questions started again, in earnest. “Mom, when will the power go out again so we can stay at Grandma’s?”
And that’s pretty much everything you need to know about a four-and-a-half year old.