So be sure when you step. You step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Bitter-Sweet Routine

So first, an update -
The kids no longer take a nap.
It was a looming unavoidable predicament, but I was hoping praying to extend the nap for as long as possible, preferably until kindergarten.   Unfortunately, I cannot force someone to take a nap.  Trust me, I tried. I can tell them to take a nap, or yell at them to take a nap, or beg them to take a nap - but ultimately, that is as far as my power takes me.

The extended day + incessant  bickering (+ overtired kids x 2) does not equal a pleasant afternoon.  On any given day, sometime around 3:30pm, Hayden is running around the house in tears, waving his Thomas the Train above his head.  A naked Brenna chases him, taunting, "my train!  my train!"  She catches him by the shirt and his shirt collar chokes him.  He falls to the ground and Brenna grabs the train.  "My train!" she shrieks one last time for emphasis before she runs away.  Hayden gets up and chases her while crying, "Mommy, Mommy!" He grabs her to the ground and Brenna starts crying, "Mommy! Mommy!"

I intervene and I take the train. Hayden will ask me to dry his eyes and blow his nose.  Brenna will ask for a kiss and a hug.  After I oblige, I can breathe a few breaths before Hayden starts playing with a dinosaur and Brenna starts chanting, "my dinosaur!  my dinosaur!"

After that, it's usually a Lightening McQueen car, a book, a ball, a random toy that was found under the couch, a water cup, an identical water cup, and then the lid to the third identical water cup.

Here they are fighting over a cheap, unopened loaf of sale-bread from the grocery store:

If I am buying white bread, it means I was desperately trying to get out of the store before Round 3.

The new routine, derived from my lovely mother, was to separate the kids two nights each week.  Not only to give me a break, but them a break as well.  You know the saying, Too Much of a Good Thing........

Each kid has a designated night at grandma's house.  She honks her horn at 4pm, usually right before the fight over the second water cup.  I rush out a crying kid and a plastic bag of clean clothing.

And then its over.  Completely over.
There is no screaming, yelling or crying.
Just one silent child with a dry tear on their cheek.
And I simply say, "So what do you want to do?"

Activities with just one kid is like training for a 5k instead of a marathon.  There is no stopping us - we can do anything!  The world is our playground and we don't even need a double cart.

Brenna usually rejects all my fun offerings (shopping, the park, taking a walk, etc).  But she is always satisfied with the suggestion of eating.

Hayden is more open-minded but his activity of choice is always the park.  His night is also running club night.

I know I usually don't run in the evenings, but I've made an exception to meet my best running friend.  Her name is Michelle.  I bring David and Hayden:

And she brings her husband and son.   

It seemed sad to have half the stroller empty.  That is what makes this new routine bitter-sweet....even though the world sometimes seems to be meant for only one kid, everything in our life is meant for two.  Two toddler beds, two little tooth brushes, two sets of dinner plates, two car seats in the car............

And of course, the kids miss each other.
And of course, I miss my missing kid.

But as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder - and it's only a few hours a week.

Plus, we manage to find ways to fill in the gaps.

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