Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Day With R (aka How to Make a Mess)

My Thursdays off with R have been getting a little crazy recently. All of a sudden, I've got three or four fellow mom friends who want to get together on those days so our kids can play. Which is great, really. Because R is always complaining about how he needs friends to play with (even though he's at school three days a week with a classroom full of friends, plus we always have at least one playdate every weekend) and I really enjoy chatting with the other moms. But being fully scheduled with playdates has kind of defeated the purpose of why I wanted to take these days off in the first place: to have more one-on-one time with R. Plus, I really hate contributing to this notion that your kids must be scheduled and entertained at all times. I want R to know that hanging out at home and reading or playing games or coloring or just playing with his own toys is OK, even fun.

So, what I've decided to do is use the mornings to have time alone with him and then have our playdates in the afternoons. And, this morning was great. R woke up way too early and was so upset and sad that he missed the part of the lunar eclipse last night when the moon was red. Poor little man. (I let him stay up late to see most of the eclipse, which was really cool, but he missed the peak. We sat on the floor in his room, looking through his window with our binoculars.) I got him to calm down and go back to sleep for a little while since it was before 7 a.m., but once he saw the 7:00 on the clock, he was ready for the day to begin. :-)

We had breakfast, played Chutes & Ladders (although he seems to be having more and more trouble accepting that he cannot win board games every single time we play - it's to the point now where he throws a fit and wants to start the whole game over if he doesn't get a good roll/spin/etc. on his FIRST turn!), played "zoom the cars up the ramp and try to get them to fly into the astronaut helmet," and played "take things apart and use the pieces for other things." I love watching R do this - he is constantly disassembling household items (e.g, the toilet paper roll holder or his play goggles) and taking the components (e.g., giant metal spring, elastic strap) and tying or attaching them to other toys. His concentration is amazing when he does this, and I'm in awe of his skills. We're always finding weird combinations of toys around the house: his B*zz L*ghtye*r doll/figure with a string tied to his arm, which is tied around the funnel of a toy train, which has a binder clip clipped to it and another string, which is tied to a flashlight or a funky pen. And, he makes up stories about these items, all of which usually involve a character called "Honky." (Of course R has no idea what that means to other people - as far as he's concerned, he made it up himself.)

After playtime, which resulted in the living room floor being covered with toys (Mess #1), we moved to the kitchen to make a chocolate cake. I have this wonderful, glowy, this-is-part-of-why-I-became-a-mom vision of baking cookies and cakes and other treats with R. And, I give it a shot every couple of months. It definitely gets easier every time. But we're not quite there yet. R is really keen on helping me for about 10 minutes, then he loses interest when I won't let him eat straight sugar or chunks of butter or when I stop him from using the whisk to fling batter onto the wall. He was good company, though, while I finished the mixing and popped the pans into the oven. And, he was great company while I washed the dishes (Mess #2). He sat perched on the counter next to me and was chatting happily until I noticed that he had found a couple of ink stamps and was stamping himself ALL OVER. Face, legs, arms, hands (Mess #3). The only way I could get him to give them up was by suggesting that he bring them to my office party tonight and stamp my co-workers. (That turned out to be a GREAT idea! It kept R busy at the party, and he worked the whole room. People were coming up to him and asking him to stamp their hands. It was very sweet.)

After the cake was out of the oven and mostly cooled, I attempted to get the layers out of my supposedly non-stick pans. All I can say is I HATE those pans. They were expensive and they are a great name brand, but they stink. The first layer fell apart in chunks when I had to pry it out with a fork (Mess #4). I sort of pieced it back together enough to resemble a cake layer, when I turned my back for a second and heard R saying, "Wow! I love chocolate cake! Mmm, mmm, this is delicious! I have to have more!" I swung around and couldn't help laughing at the sight of him ripping chunks of cake off the layer and jamming them into his mouth, meanwhile dropping crumbs everywhere (Mess #5). Every place I tried to put the cake out of his reach, he immediately ran to and grabbed more cake.

Eventually, after lunch, we headed to R's friend's house for a couple hours of playtime, which involved pillow fights, wrestling, jumping on the furniture, playing indoor hockey, and wailing on the drum set in the basement (Mess #6). Then we went home to get ready for the work party. It was strangely quiet while I changed clothes in my room, and when I came downstairs, I found R still in his coat, curled up in the armchair, sucking his thumb, and sound asleep. He didn't wake up until almost an hour later when I pulled into the parking garage above the restaurant where the party was being held in Boston. Then he woke up and was the life of the party. :-)

Houses trashed: 2
Messes made: 6
Another day with my boy: priceless


Last night, after my best friend called to tell me that (1) the ultrasound showed that her babies are fine and that she's having a boy and a girl (yay!) and (2) that her dad who has brain cancer is back in the hospital with pneumonia and blood clots in his lungs, R asked me why Auntie A's daddy was so sick. I tried to give him an answer, and he said, "Auntie A's daddy is going to heaven." Yes, my sweetheart, but not yet. Please not yet, Lord.


sandwhichisthere said...

Dear Kristen,
it was a joy to read your post. Rix may be a handful at times but it seems he is a handful of love.
O.K., here comes the daddy crap.
1. Non stick pans. They are all a waste of resources. If you can't SOS a pan, it somehow doesn't seem clean. Non stick cake pans, butter and flour them anyway.
2. Taking things apart. That reminds me so much of my brother. My aunt Letty had three antique clocks in her attic. My brother took them all apart and put the pieces from all three in a box together. We went home early that day.
3. Chocolate cake. "Nuthin says lovin like somethin from the oven.".
I realize that you are very busy but it is such a treat to read your posts. Curled up on the couch with his jacket still on, asleep and sucking his thumb. Wow does that bring back memories.
all of my love, always,daddy

Gardener Greg said...

I sometimes wonder if my son not having a lot of friends is a curse or a blessing. I really enjoy when we do things together. My daughter does those group kid play times but I prefer not to.

Trish Ryan said...

Again with the best day ever! Is R available for other parties? I might like to hire him as the official hand stamper :)

And please give Auntie A a hug for me and tell her I'm praying for all the generations of her family.

Ericka said...

Yay! I'm so happy for A(feminine), I hope that everything goes well for her in the next 6+ months. And, parchment paper circles for the pans. I can't say I've tried it yet, but I'm going to soon - and I've had fantastic results with parchment paper for cookies. It's so amazing to me that R is so social, I know I never was great on that (although i have good friends, I'm not really the life of any party), and I guess I don't think of you or A(masculine) as social butterflies.

Wanda said...

What a fun post to read. Also,will
have you in my prayers.

LEstes65 said...

I'm with your dad. I grease & flour non-stick.

I love reading about your days with R. I can totally picture them all. Love it. You are such a wonderful mom. I'm so amazed by you.

Love you...

PS - my word verification is "zoyrgg". It just made me giggle.

sandwhichisthere said...

O.K. sweetheart, what is a meme and how do I make one? It seems important to you and therefore it is important to me.
all of my love, always, unmemey daddy