This afternoon, my twins went to their twin friends’ house to play, leaving Zach stranded here with me and his sleeping baby sister. When he realized this injustice, he began to cry and said, “Why can’t I go?”
I said, “Well, honey, there’s no one to watch you over there.”
He said with disgust, “I can watch myself!” Then, “I am going to be so bored! There’s nothing to do around here!”
I said, “Bummer. Well, do you want to be bored in your room or in here?”
Amazingly enough, he went outside and found a way to amuse himself. It’s tough to be five years younger than your brothers. Awhile later, the neighbor boys showed up and played with him for thirty minutes, softening the blow of being stuck home alone without his brothers.
My husband came home at 4:00 p.m. so I could have the car and take the kids to the school Open House. Only, two of the kids were gone, so we revised our plans and he took Grace for a car ride while I walked with Zach down to the school. On the way, he said things like this:
“Mom, would you be scared if the entire world was sucked into a giant vortex?”
“Mom, did you know there are bugs that can battle spiders?”
“Mom, I heard there is a spider that is so big it can eat a mouse.”
“Mom, did you ever hear about that beetle who can shoot acid out of its (here, he points to his rear end) back?”
I said, “Where did you hear about this?”
And he said, “The extreme channel.” It’s not actually a channel, but rather, a show–something about Extreme Animals, I think on the Animal Planet. That show profoundly affected him, apparently. He said, “Thad kind of spider is only found in the Rain Forest.” I said, “Well, I guess we’d better not go to the Rain Forest.” He said, “No, I don’t want to have my hands eaten by a spider!”
We arrived at school and located his classroom and met his teacher. I recognized her because my twins went through the same school. She seems lovely and kind and extremely organized. Her room was neat and tidy and uncluttered visually, which matters to me because I am so distracted by a crazily messy room.
Zach’s favorite friend, David, is not in his classroom, which I figure is a good thing, as David’s been described to me as “active” (by his mother) and “energetic” (by my neighbor, a classroom volunteer). When I asked my son why he liked David, Zach said, “He loves action!”
Anyway, my son tends to like action, too, and likes to incite his classmates to giggle at phrases like “nickel and a pickle.” Last year, during the closing program, my son yelled out “pickle” during a pause between songs and the boys surrounding him all chortled with kindergarten glee.
My boy loves to get a laugh. He also thrives on doing well and meeting his teacher’s approval, so he gets good grades and excellent comments, but he does have that tendency to go for the laughter.
We lingered in his classroom awhile, then headed to the library to buy some books at the Book Fair. Then back to the classroom for further investigation.
I can’t believe school starts in two days. I can’t believe I am keeping my twins home for school. I can’t believe my baby is going to be two in two days. I can’t believe it’s 11:20 p.m.
Tonight, at 6 p.m., I looked at my baby prancing in the kitchen and said to my husband, “Hey, how about if I leave her with you and run to Target?” And he said, “Why don’t you just take her?”
I sighed and said, “Fine,” in that way that means, This is not fine, far from fine, why can’t you see that I just want to be alone in the car, listening to the radio and thinking a linear set of thoughts without interruption and then shopping in the store without distracting, amusing, entertaining, corralling and soothing the wild beast that is my daughter shortly before bedtime? Out loud, I suggested to Grace that we’d be going to the store, “But first, let mama change your diaper.”
Grace did not want her diaper changed, but finally relented. But then, she wanted to pull her pants on by herself. I sighed deeply, cradled my forehead in my hands and despaired. She pulled the jeans on, threw her hands into the air in a victory salute and shouted, “I DID IT!”
And then she pushed her jeans back down to the floor so she could pull them up all over again.
That went on for about twenty minutes. I gave up and said, “Hey, you want to take a bath?” She very happily said, “Zes,” and headed for the bathroom, where I grumpily sat on the toilet and watched her pour water over her head four times in a row, asking for “towel” each time to dab her eyes.
Sometimes, I just want to leave the house without complicated negotiations and arrangements. Alas, that day seems very far off. I finally deposited a somewhat sleepy Grace into her bed at 8 p.m. on the dot.
Then I went to Target and spent more money than I expected. I always do. But now, we have snacks, we have the remaining school supplies, we have lunchbox snacks, we have milk, we have laundry detergent and other stuff too boring to mention.
Tomorrow, I’m sleeping in, without the impending horror of having to take Grace to the doctor or the photographer. Tomorrow’s challenge will include getting haircuts for three boys who find visiting the barber to be utterly boring and as close as they have ever come to a near-death experience.