Proof of Evolution

We have four bedrooms in this house.  Ken and I, predictably and selfishly, have claimed one of them (the one with an attached bathroom- we’re no dummies!) and the other three are for the minions.

Since we have only one girl, Lotus finds herself in the enviable position of being the only person in the house without a roommate.   If this newest baby decides to break the boy streak we’ve been on lately, Lotus will eventually know the joys of shared bedroomhood.  If the baby stubbornly insists on carrying the Y chromosome, then we’re going to have to do some room reconfigurations for about the millionth time.

Currently, we have Gabriel and The Jude, the four year old and three year old, shacked up together.  They’re only 15 months apart, so we figured they’d be in the same developmental boat in regards to bathroom, sleep, and nightlight requirements.

They also apparently have the same food requirements, since for the past two months, they’ve been waking up extremely early in the morning (think: the earliest a morning can be without it being last night), sneaking down to the kitchen, and grabbing anything that could remotely appeal to the discerning palate of the under-5 crowd (Gabriel’s already got a history of doing things like this).  I’ve found the sugar bowl in their room, stashed under covers, its contents empty and only a telltale sticky graininess left on the floors to give them away.  I’ve found hot chocolate K-cups, the tin foil covering gnawed off with rat-like precision, contents emptied, and a vague chocolately smear left on walls.  A few days after Valentine’s Day, they found the bag of Tootsie Roll Pops that I’d gotten to make them sucker bouquets.  There were 12 suckers left, and they whisked these away to their room in the middle of the night, stripped off all the wrappers, and proceeded to argue over who got which sucker.


Ken and I have spent hours desperately brainstorming ways to thwart the midnight pantry raids.  We can’t lock their door, since both boys use the bathroom at least once during the night, unless one of them is sleepwalking, mistakenly thinks he’s reached the bathroom, and ends up peeing in his closet instead (true story).  Baby gates at the top of the stairs are useless, since the boys simply deliver a gate-destroying karate chop to the obstacle.  A door alarm would only wake the two year old, and then I’d have even more trouble on my hands.  I’d consider getting a rabid guard dog, but I hate pets.

Besides which, I know that none of it, none of it would work if there were bananas in the house.

Bananas are like crack to my children.  Fresh produce of any kind (with the sole exception of eggplant) is extremely popular around here, but bananas have mythic status to the Donaldson children.  I dream of a day in the distant future when I “have” to make banana bread to use up the overripe bananas no one’s eaten.  One day….

I can’t even pass the banana stand at the grocery store without an immediate, loud, and highly noticeable ruckus from the kids.  You’d think they were these poor scurvy-plagued waifs who never get fresh food, by the way they wail.  And we get dang bananas.  Every time.    And we’re talking about a good five pounds of bananas, not like, three of four individual fruits.  Not that it matters.  One fruit or five pounds, they’re all gone in the same amount of time.  Which is to say, within 48 hours of them hitting my cart.

Less, if I forget to hide them.

The only thing we’ve come up with to stem the nocturnal foraging is hiding every single thing that could be even mildly edible to small boys.  And since they are small boys, their idea of “edible” is a good deal more liberal than yours or mine is.  So Ken and I usually close out our day with a round of “If You Were Gabriel or The Jude, Would You Eat This?”  If the answer is even a possible yes, away it goes.

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Cari Donaldson


Cari Donaldson lives on a New England farm with her high school sweetheart, their six kids, and a menagerie of animals of varying usefulness. She is the author of Pope Awesome and Other Stories, and has a weekly podcast about homesteading at

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  • I like how that bear is sitting over there in the corner pretending like he is TOTALLY innocent.  Nice try, smiley bear!

  • Lisa S

    I know at least one person that PADLOCKS her pantry, if I’ve heard her tell it correctly. 

  • ha! every article better than the last.

    Thank you for distracting me as I listen to not one but two irrational children middle of the night scream it out. 

  • Colleen

    Oh my goodness, your stories crack me up, and make me glad it’s not me!!  I remember sneaking cheezits and baking chocolate into the bathroom with my little sister and eating them until my Dad knocked on the door and we stashed them under sink in the cabinet.  He found them and we were busted.  We never took food again. 

    For some reason, my kids seemed to have learned that lesson without having to actually go sneak the food.  All of them still ask for every food item that they want and don’t take it on their own.  Which you’re probably thinking would be so nice, but I’m thinking of all the food prep and distribution that falls on my shoulders!

  • Tinafisher5

    You crack me up!  My kids only talk about middle of the night adventures, eating they desire.  They are sound sleepers, until about 5 AM! 

  • Harold Fickett

    I think in future I may be known as the man who helped Cari Donaldson find a larger audience.  And Dwija Borobia as well.  I know the community has yet to sample Dwija’s work, but everyone is in for a double-helping of laughter.  These women are some of the best writers on the family to come along in a long, long time.  Writing close to the bone like this and being laugh-out-loud funny is a rare and precious gift.  Thank you, Cari. 

    And we can’t wait for your bloggy home to be prepared for you, Dwija.  

  • You’re tale about the son using the closet as a bathroom, gave me stomach-holding laughs because it reminded me of my childhood. No it wasn’t me in the closet.

    It was one of my sisters (no, it’s not Marissa who writes on CE and for the interest of my safety I won’t name her, and I have three of them). She used to make her way to the kitchen and in the mornings my mum would find a puddle in front of the fridge. After years of research, the Pereira clan concluded that when she opened the fridge door she taught the bathroom light came on…

    if you never hear from me again on CE… I’ll see you on the other side…

  • Hough

    I was literally laughing out loud as I read this post! This is my house! WE have 6 boys and three girls and we also are plagued with the easy in, easy out approach to fruit consumption…and if you add in cheese or the “good” cereal…that’s just another day in the Hough household! lol God bless you and your fruit hoarders…