It was the full day yesterday. The day began like any other, with getting the boys ready for school. I used to be a morning person. I don’t know what happened to me. Kids, I think. In my heart of hearts, I want to be June Cleaver in the morning. I want to pack their lunches and cook them a full breakfast (though they are so picky, they’d refuse to eat it.) I want to send them off with a hug, a smile and a wave like the domestic queen I like to think I am.
But the reality is a little different. They start bickering from the get-go. I am usually greeted not with a salutation, but a tattle. “He’s in my bed and he won’t get off my arm,” or “He’s not listening to me,” etc. So that tends to set the tone for the morning, and by the time they are finished breakfast, rather than the hug, wave and smile, (actually I usually do get that hug, but then they run to the back door in competition over who gets there first and whose turn it is to open it, and they’re usually yelling at each other in the process) nine days out of ten, I feel like, “See you at three, don’t let the door hit you in the ass!”
I took Ee to the park late in the morning (after cleaning our shower and folding some laundry), then we walked to school to get T3. It’s a distance of almost two miles. She actually walked a good part of the way herself. She is a feisty little trooper, and I enjoyed watching her explore the urban terrain along the way. We had time. She touched flowers, chased a cat, blew the feathery seeds of an aging dandelion and then got them stuck on her tongue. She spat and sputtered, got all flustered. She tested the seating properties of various railroad ties people were using as borders for the landscaping in their front yards. It was awesome watching the little wheels turning in her head.
When she asks for my hand, my heart soars! There’s no better feeling in the world than holding your child’s hand when they initiate the contact. Is there?
Then on the way back, I pushed them both in the double stroller while they munched leisurely on pretzel goldfish. Those last couple of blocks are tough! Pushing 70 pounds of kids plus the weight of the double jogger. Killer. Then we had lunch at home, (they like peanut butter sandwiches in the shape of stars — See? I can get my “Cleaver” on by noon) and while they were playing upstairs, I folded more laundry.
Next thing I knew, T3 was screaming. SCREAMING. Turned out Ee had bitten him on the arm, so hard that she broke the skin and left a full imprint of her bite radius. I did what I usually do: I yelled, and put her in her crib, that old Sicilian blood in me boiling over, bubbling like hot lava. I was so angry that I couldn’t look at her. I hate that I am so quick tempered, like I am made of nothing but dry straw and then poof! I’m engulfed in flame. But then I calmed down, consulted a parenting book and went back in to calmly tell her it “wasn’t okay” to bite. She said she was sorry, and she wanted to kiss T3, which was kind of cute. Then she went down for a nap.
She’s going through the phase with the biting. It’s not the first time. Seems to happen when she’s frustrated, someone won’t let her do or have what she wants, and she doesn’t have any other means of expression. We’re working it out. Needless to say, T3 was not happy, especially since for some reason, he is her favorite victim
While she slept, T3 and I played a couple of Wii games, which brought him back to himself. Later we picked J up from school, came home for a snack, and went back to the park. A bunch of their friends were there, and some of mine as well. The park is always more fun that way.
In a development that rivals the shock and wonder of almost every surprise I’ve ever heard of, J (wonderful, amazing and beautiful J, who runs like an elongated penguin and is usually more interested in intellectual pursuits than physical) just started riding a two-wheel bike on Tuesday. For a year we’ve been trying to get him on his training-wheel bike to no avail. He had fallen once or twice, not long after we’d bought the thing, and trepidation about biking has ruled him ever since. Then without warning, he just hopped on some kids’ bike at the park and took off. He couldn’t wait to get on his bike yesterday, and he spent most of the time at the park going in circles on the basketball court.
We got back to the house after Manfrengensen had come home from work, and by then I was too tired to make dinner. We just ordered pizza. My parents came by on their way home from the gym to see J on his bike, then we stayed outside for a while and let the kids race in the alley behind the house on their bikes. By the time we got everyone bathed and to bed, nine o’clock was in sight.
One other note: not long ago, Manfrengensen joined the local rotary chapter in order to increase the visibility of his business. He’s the youngest member, by far. Every week they go to lunch, and a speaker makes a presentation. The guy who coordinates the speakers is coming to the end of his tenure, and I guess the people he’s lining up…anyway, yesterday’s speaker was an older gentleman, somewhere in his eighties, who spoke for an hour about his stuffed animal collection.
Manfrengensen said it was one of those situations where you couldn’t make eye contact with anyone else in the room for fear you’d both break out in fits of uncontrollable laughter.
Ee woke up last night a little before 3 a.m. Don’t lecture me — first of all, she’s two and a half, and she still takes a bottle. I don’t really care what she “should” be doing with the bottle. I know today’s parents are all hyper about what their kids should be doing when, but I try to chill about that kind of thing. She’s smart, she’s not lagging in any developmental capacity. She does take a cup most of the time, so I’m not worried that she’ll still be taking the bottle when she applies for college.
But I am trying to dial the whole bottle experience down. First of all, she used to call for a new bottle in the middle of the night. So that got old fairly quickly. First I switched from milk to a mixture of mostly water and juice. Then, to keep her from calling in the middle of the night, I started leaving it for her when I went to bed. That worked for about two weeks. Next, she started drinking that whole thing and then calling for more at 3 a.m. So, I cut out the juice and just put water in the bottle. That’s been working for a month or so, and she hasn’t even been drinking much of the water. Victory!
…as always, is short-lived. Last night, she started calling for milk at 2:50. I dug in my heels. I wasn’t going back. I wasn’t going downstairs. She cried. She screamed. She woke up one of her brothers. I went in a few times. I let her sleep with the light on (another issue, for another post…), I rocked her. Still she screamed.
I found myself lying in bed, applauding her tenacity, but also imagining that the applause was the sound of one of my hands clapping against her ass.
I won a hollow victory when she dropped off to sleep around 4:30. I lay there for another 20 minute listening to the gentle rhythm of her crying hiccups. I love that sound.