I don't know if the room was actually ever a child's room but there were mice & mushrooms painted on the window in that special translucent paint for glass and a small bookshelf with some careworn and obviously discarded children's books, a couple of beat-up teddy bears and a doll.
"Ew!" Martin cried as soon as he entered the room and set down his duffel bag.
"What is wrong?" I asked when I heard the commotion. When I walked into the room, he had moved his backback to hide the menagerie.
"There's a one-eyed doll," he said. "It's creepy!" He was covering it up so he couldn't see it. Karin concurred with an emphatic nod: CREEPY! I didn't really think anything of it at the time and we proceeded downstairs to meet up with the rest of the family, have dinner and play card games.
Several days later, doing some picking up in their room and collecting laundry, I happened to move the backpack. Oh my! She WAS creepy.
Hmmm, I thought.
That evening, after we had been out and about, we were all getting ready for bed and there was a shriek from the kids' room. "Very funny, Mom!" Martin yelled.
"What?" I called back, innocence radiating from every pore.
"You put the doll in my BED." He'd climbed up the ladder to find the Cyclopean beauty resting her head on his pillow. "It wasn't me," I swore. "Maybe she likes you!" Then I giggled madly.
"Ha. Ha." he said, and pushed her down behind the backpack again. The next day she was hanging from the top bunk rail. Then she mysteriously appeared on MY pillow. I just laughed and bided my time. Soon she had climbed into Martin's hoodie pocket, and even took a shine to Karin by snuggling down into one of her shoes. Each time there were shrieks and shrill accusations.
VERY FUNNY, MOM I kept hearing. I maintained my innocence. She was on the move!
The next to last night, we were out late, staying up to squeeze every last moment of joy out of being together with our entire family. Tired and ready for sleep, we headed upstairs. "Get ready for bed," I called. "Get your jams on and brush your teeth." A few minutes later I heard Karin go into the bathroom. Silence. Toilet flushing. And then a SCREAM and wild laughter.
"I'm not touching it! I'll never brush my teeth again!" Karin yelled. I couldn't stop laughing! Muahahahaa!
Too bad I didn't think of asking the farmer's wife if I could take her home with me. Imagine the kids' faces if she showed up in a Christmas present or something. HEE!
After we got home and things had settled down to normal, my mom and I spent a lot of time working on the Lego project. Occasionally the kids would come and work with us, though we often had to cajole them to get even 15 minutes of Lego time out of them. I had printed a couple of missing instruction booklets and Martin had finished putting together the last Lego Knight: Vladek, the black bad guy. He was missing a piece of one of his legs though, so Martin kept putting him in funny poses and dancing him around. Tiring of it, he finally left the table and Mom and I worked on and then quit a while later to get lunch ready.
In the afternoon, I asked Martin a couple of times where Vladek was so that I could dismember him and bag him up. He evaded answering but I didn't really think anything of it. After dinner we puttered around a bit, watching TV and talking and, rather late, the kids went to bed and then finally Mom and I decided to call it a night as well. I brushed my teeth and fed the fish and turned off lights. Anders was watching a movie by then and Mom had already shut her door; I think it was close to eleven o'clock.
I walked into the bedroom and as is my habit, changed into my nightshirt with the lights off, and took off my watch and rings. Only then did I reach down to flip on the bedside light, taking up my book as I got ready to throw back the covers...only to find VLADEK waiting for me:
I cracked up, and picked him up and snuck through the house. Quietly I tiptoed into Martin's room, thinking I would hang him from the bed railing near Martin's head but as soon as I got in the door, a deep voice greeted me from the loft: "Finally!"