It didn't register to me, when I heard the kids through their monitor as I chopped vegetables for the pasta salad, that the older ones had woken about a half-hour earlier than the time allotted for their minimum two-hour nap - a full hour and a half earlier than they'd been waking at the beginning of the week. Had I noticed the time, I might have put on my mean-mommy face and demanded they go back to sleep.
But it just didn't register. Not until we were sitting in the living room of our teachers' home, surrounded by friends and their well-behaved, happy children, while we attempted to calm our snot-nosed, bleary-eyed elder son who was just not having it. Not having what, we weren't sure, but whatever it was, he wasn't having it. All he was having was a fit.
We managed to make it through dinner - well, Micaiah and I did - she and I even ate ourselves to flat-out, belly-aching stuffed - Philip, however, got the basics he could shove onto his plate as quickly as possible and the meager piece of cake his wife cut for him to share with tantrum-boy as they exiled themselves to the hall. After eating, though, I found myself packing up our things as quickly as possible while Philip consoled our son on the front porch and we high-tailed our embarrassed selves out of there and put that cranky boy to bed.
It was rough, but I was ok - heading home was better than listening to his cries or hanging out inside while my husband was relegated to the darkness, away from everyone else, just so I could socialize. What I didn't think about, though, was the impact it was having on him, that wonderful man of mine who had been willing to sacrifice adult-conversation for the need to calm our son.
See, I get adult conversation quite often. Every Wednesday morning I participate in a women's Bible Study with my fellow stay-at-home moms. On the rare occasion, I get to enjoy a play-date with these same wonderful women and their children. Last Sunday, I attended a baby shower with, again, these same wonderful women (and those who don't get to enjoy the weekday rendezvous) and spent the afternoon free of toddlers, just drinking mocha punch and downing mini fruit pizzas. So, truly, heading home early tonight was no big deal.
And then there's my husband, who spends his days heading to work, where 99% of his conversation is about coding and nothing more. He comes home to a wife who has spent all day with kids and just needs a break, so, because he's a wonderful husband, he grants her that break, playing with the kids and keeping them out of my hair as I cook dinner. He tries to talk to me about the things he cares about, his games and his painting of miniatures, but I'm generally too busy getting things done to hear, and when I do hear, I just can't relate. He converses on-line with men who share his interests, but that's if they're available - most of his conversations happen via e-mail or as comments on forums.
So this night of adult-interaction was big for him. Really big - bigger than I'd taken the time to realize, unfortunately. And our fussy son kept him from getting a moment of enjoyment out of any of it.
Sometimes it's really important to remember that these days, these days of not going out because it's so much easier to stay in, these days of toddler tantrums and searching for baby-sitters so we can have a moment's respite, these are fleeting - they are but a whisper in the grand time-line of our lives. This, too, shall pass. And when it does, we'll miss these days where our greatest frustration with our kids was when their nap was cut just a little too short.
49. Time to check things off my list.
50. Fresh vegetables to chop.
51. Checks in the mail.
52. Bacon-wrapped jalapeños, even after you think you've already eaten too much.
53. A husband willing to watch the older children while I accompany the youngest on a routine doctor's visit.
54. Perfect timing from a nursing boy - both at the doctor's office and at home.
Taking Time for Play: Happy.
Emmett, in happier times - as in the time just following that too-short nap when the tiredness hadn't yet kicked in, disobeying by sitting on sissy's dresser, but being darn cute while doing so.
Again, just for kicks and giggles, look who got to wear jeans and shoes for the first time today. What a big day!