I wasn’t going to look at today’s “prompt” because once I do, I have to answer it.
I had an idea for today’s post, and then I looked anyway, because… I just had to look.
And it’s about balancing child, relationship, and work.
Which is exactly what I was going to write about. Spooky!
Plus I’m reading this set of pamphlets: Listening to Children by Patty Wipfler, from www.handinhandparenting.org — and seriously! How has no one told me about these before??? Freaking brilliant. The pamphlet I read today is called “Special Time.”
And now, on to our regularly scheduled blog post.
* * *
Tonight, Jonah got home from his day out with the Nanny just a few minutes before I got home from my work and chiropractic appointments.
He asked me if we could schedule some Mommy and Jonah time. Maybe tomorrow?
I suggested that we could play right now.
We went to his room. He had us dismantle the miniature football helmets his dad had given him yesterday — a ziplock baggie full of little plastic replicas that are too big for Jonah’s Mego dolls and dinosaurs but that’s who wears them. He had me remove the white face guards from each one. So then I suggested we have the dinosaurs play football. Which is how I learned that the helmets really don’t fit snugly at all. Four-legged dinos have a harder time keeping them on than the two-legged variety. And nobody can see out of them.
Next we played pretend bedtime. Jonah directed me to turn off all the lights and close the door. That way we could see his glow-in-the-dark planets glow. He asked me to put his blankets on him.
But then, oh no!
He hadn’t brushed teeth yet.
How are we going to do that? I asked. Are you really going to brush your teeth now?
No, he said. We’ll pretend.
“Eeeeeeeeee” he said in the darkness — someone taught him (at school?) that you make sounds when you brush so that the E is for your front teeth and… “aaaahhhhhh” for the back.
“Shhhhhhhh,” he ran the pretend water and “shk shk shk, shwooosh,” he swished some in his mouth and spit it out.
“Books!” he announced.
“How are we going to do books if we’re not *really* doing bedtime?” I asked.
“Pretend,” he said. “I’ll show you.”
I turned on the light next to the chair and sat down and he climbed out of bed and came over to me. “Open your hands like this,” he said.
“But what does the book say?” I asked. “Who is this story about?”
“Three worms and a (something else).” With apologies for breaking the flow but I am literally too tired to recall what the characters were, or what I had them do. Wait — there was a cabin, and a river, and…? Whatever I made up, it was rather short, and met with his approval.
I believe we did another one of these short-hand (so to speak) stories.
And then he asked for the story that his clock tells. So we turned off the light, I tucked him in again, and we both listened to the extremely odd story programmed into his clock. Saccharine fairy lady voice, electronic music and sound effects, fairy children and rainbows are involved.
After a period of pretend sleeping, we pretended it was morning and woke up.
We turned on the light. What to do next? I decided I wanted to really read books, even though it was still early yet. We’ve been binge-ing on encyclopedic texts for months now and this past week I’d actually checked some actual storybooks out of the library.
So we sat and read them. When Scott tried to come in and listen, Jonah repeatedly shoo-ed him away. This was Mommy-Jonah time.
By the end of the third book, he was barely able to hold his head up, so I moved us into “dinner” — real, not pretend, but also not the ideal family dinner I’ve been striving for, though I did pull off two family meals yesterday (pats self on back); rather this was the faux family dinner where I make a sandwich for Jonah and one or both of us adults sits with him at the table and watches him eat it.
Tonight it started out with both of us and then I peeled off to check the day’s emails since I’d been out all afternoon.
Later, after Jonah was asleep, Scott went out and picked up the Thai food for us, again. It’s a two-Thai-takeout kind of week. Am reserving the right to make it a hat trick.
* * *
Scott said that he was willing to drive to the Thai place (it was supposed to be my turn) because I did such good mommy play time tonight.
I am trying not to say the bittersweet part of this: that it can be really hard for me to give Jonah focused, uninterrupted attention. I win points for tonight, and I win points for our Mommy-Jonah days out in the world, like Saturday.
Scott got even shorter shrift tonight since A) Whichever one of us went for the Thai food had to change OUT of our pajamas to go do it. B) I forced him to watch America’s Next Top Model while eating said Thai food, and C) After dinner, post ANTM, and after only about 5 minutes of snuggling with him in front of the football game he had DVR’d, I peeled off to do my pamphlet reading and blog writing.
And now, I shall go back downstairs and see how the football-watcher is holding up… or I may just hunker down here in bed and wait for him to wander back upstairs to me.