Thursday, February 28, 2008
This weekend we went up to a cabin north of St. Cloud with the other families in our church small group. The group consisted of ten adults and six kids, all of whom are five and under. We were pretty excited to spend the weekend away, but we weren't sure how long Isaiah would enjoy our time there. He absolutely loves the other kids and talks about them all the time, but being our one and only right now, he has never had to share toys or attention for an extended period of time. We prepared ourselves for a lovely beginning to the weekend and possible breakdowns by the end. We were totally wrong, though - he couldn't get enough of the weekend with kids. He sledded and ran and jumped and laughed and ate snow to his heart's content. He fell asleep on the way home Sunday after lunch, and when he woke up in his own house, he was so disappointed he cried. I think he thought we were going to live in a cabin with five other kids forever. Sorry buddy.
It really made me feel good to see that he enjoyed being with other kids for such a long time, because I know he will really like having a sibling - eventually, even if it's a tough transition at first. Of course, Isaiah would ideally like me to pop out a five-year-old big brother who can play trains and run around with him, but a seven pound little girl who spits up on herself is pretty close - right?
After Michael got home from work one night, we decided we should play a game together. We were inspired because of the weekend with our small group. The adults played games every night and stayed up way past our bedtimes getting all giddy and tired. It was wonderful. Michael and I love playing games together, but we rarely do it unless we have company because our evening routine is just set. So that evening, while Isaiah finished up his dinner, we played two rounds of Othello, which we probably hadn't played since I was actually in labor with Isaiah. Then, of course, Isaiah wanted to join in the game-play, so we brought down Hungry Hungry Hippos. Let's just say the game was a hit. We played for an hour, and Isaiah loved every bit of it, from putting the marbles onto the board to gobbling them up with the hippos, even putting them back in the bag was fun. Michael and I put the game away and whisked Isaiah up to bed, thinking that surely we must be good parents to have such fun with our little boy on family game night. We didn't realize that we had discovered one of those things that may just be too much fun. Michael had to work for an hour and a half to get Isaiah to stop talking about hippos and go to sleep, and Isaiah woke up four times in the middle of the night, just to chat about hippos. He always settled back down with promises of "more hippos in the morning," but I knew I needed a plan so that we didn't have another hippo-saturated night.
The next day, as soon as Isaiah woke up, I brought him downstairs and began playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with him. After a little while, he told me that he was hungry, but I said that he had to play more hippos before we could eat breakfast, so we played another 5 minutes. Then I fed him and suggested more hippo play. We played again for a while when he said he wanted to get down from his chair. I told him that he could, but only if he played hippos for 5 more minutes. He agreed, but he was eager to get down. Then after he had played with other toys for a half hour or so, I told him it was time for hippos, and we played again. Then when lunchtime came around, I told him he could only have lunch after we played more hippos. By the time he woke up from his nap, he was cured, and he didn't wake up in the night to talk about hippos even once.
Michael had to go to a business dinner one night this week, and in that one night my respect for single moms quadrupled. Isaiah had been having a slightly testy day, but nothing major that I couldn't handle. However, 15 minutes after Michael usually gets home, Isaiah began to take it all to the next level. He began testing boundaries like nobody's business ("Isaiah, that glue stick is a no-touch. Sweetie, Mama said it's a no-touch. Isaiah, put down the glue stick down now. Put it back on the table. Isaiah Samuel...Put. The. Glue. Stick. Down.") He also began running around in circles, throwing his toys around, and erupting into sudden excited screams. It was obvious he knew something was up with his schedule, and he definitely needed fun, energetic Daddy to come and replace tired, cranky Mommy. Unfortunately, Michael wouldn't be back for hours - after Isaiah's bedtime. So, I packed him up in the car and we headed out to eat, just to distract him from the fact that his dad wasn't home.
I chose a KFC buffet because Isaiah loves chicken and corn, and I figured it would be easy. I hadn't really thought of how to handle a wiggly two-year-old while trying to fill two flimsy plates with messy food, balance two drinks over my bulging pregnant tummy, and not drop the diaper bag onto the sticky spot on the floor. I did eventually manage to get some food onto our plates and wrangle Isaiah into a high chair at an empty table. Isaiah, thankfully, ate really well and enjoyed playing with the sporks the buffet provided. I also got to eat a few bites between shoveling food into Isaiah's mouth and trying to keep his little hands off the very dirty, sticky chair next to him. Seriously - this was one sticky KFC. We were well over halfway through our meal when I looked around me and realized that I was the lone female in a restaurant full of college guys and homeless men. I guess I'm not really the target market for all-you-can-eat greasy chicken.
On the drive home, Isaiah asked if we could watch Thomas at least ten times, and I kept answering that I was very sorry, but I just couldn't take Thomas tonight. We got home, and I washed the stickyness off Isaiah and changed him into his p.j.'s. Then we read stories for an hour before I brought him into my bed with me and we both fell asleep, exhausted. Michael got home after ten and came upstairs where we were sleeping. We moved Isaiah into his toddler bed and laid down again. I wrapped my arms around Michael and made him promise that he would never, ever leave me. He said that of course he wouldn't, which I knew perfectly well, but I just wanted to hear it. It took such a short period of extra time being a single parent to wear me out and make me short with Isaiah. I'm so blessed to have a husband who comes home from a long day at work and takes care of me and plays with our son. I just couldn't be the kind of mom I want to be if I had to do it alone.