We’ve lived in this house for a year now and yet Bella had never been down to the basement before today. Our basement is dark and dank and dusty. I hate going down there; but go I must for it’s where the washer and dryer reside.
There’s a puddle at the bottom of the stairs that forms whenever it rains. It’s currently been there for about a week. There are exposed pipes covered in cobwebs. There’s the furnace and piles of empty boxes. It’s not a safe place for an infant. And so I’ve always don’t the laundry in dashes. I used to do it mainly during nap time. But Bella is such a good child that for quite some time now I’ve been able to simply go down and leave the door open and she stands quietly at the top of the stairs and waits for me. Once she did find the switch at the top of the stairs and turned out the lights; but the sudden darkness and my squawk scared her and she’s never done that again.
So this afternoon it was not surprising to find her standing at the top of the stairs as I descended to do battle with the laundry demons, I mean, to put the wet clothes into the dryer so they don’t mildew. What did surprise me was that she asked to come down. And what surprised her was that I invited her. And so, with much the same excitement and trepidation I imagine Odysseus and Aeneas and Orpheus felt when descending into Hades, Bella tentatively stepped, one bare foot after another, down the steep wooden steps into the unknown realm of “downstairs.”
“Don’t step in the puddle,’ I warned. She successfully skirted its dangerous depths. And then she stood and gazed in wonder like Alladin in the cave of treasures.
“‘ight!” she spied the bare light bulbs and then cardboard boxes and “stoyyeh,” the old single occupancy stroller, retired since Sophia’s birth. Her eyes sparkled as she turned this way and that, taking it all in. She was fascinated by the dryer’s door, opening and shutting it several times and then she “helped” me pull out Sophia’s clean clothes and gave me the pieces to fold. She identified the rod where I hang the clothes as a “closet”. I explained the workings of the washer and dryer and put the wet clothes in to tumble. And then we went back upstairs where she told Daddy about her adventures.
“I went downstairs, mama!” she proudly exclaimed a few minutes later. I have a feeling going “downstairs” will be a seven days wonder as much as going to the petting zoo or the park. I strongly suspect she’ll not only be talking about it for days to come, she’ll never be content to stay upstairs again.