Sunday is the one day of the week that we don’t have to be anywhere, which makes it hard to get to church. In fact, when I asked Boy what he wanted to do today, that was his answer: church. He said he misses our pastor. I promised him next week we would go. For today, I wanted to make a concerted effort to spend time with the kids, particularly Boy, but also take it easy. That, I figured, should be Step 1 in trying to address his meltdown issues. Spend time with him, while not making him more busy. And I can’t figure out what’s going on unless I’m there, and watching. So even though I have a lot of work I could be doing, indoors and out, I didn’t do any of it today. (Well, I cooked and washed dishes. There’s no getting out of that.)
And there were some meltdowns, though his behavior was good most of the day.
Meltdown #1: We all went outside together after breakfast to play on the swings and with the dog. We asked Boy to give his sister a turn on the rope swing. He stomped up front, but seemed to calm himself down by turning the wheelbarrow over on its side and moving all the ride-on toys around. By the time I went up there to check on him, he was back to his sweet self. And we all played and hung out for another hour at least.
Meltdown #2: We came inside so I could make lunch and Papa could start watching football. Boy got frustrated drawing something and was starting to crumple up multiple pieces of paper and throw them on the floor. I limited him to three more pieces of paper for the day, and he got spun up and ended up trying to kick me. That time I plunked him outside until he could get calmed down, which just took a second (mostly because got scared of a bug, and nothing makes a kid like his mom more and quicker than getting scared). But since it seemed like he was having a hard time, I invited him to walk to the Harris Teeter with me, a mile away, so we could get some things. It was a gorgeous, gorgeous day. We were gone for almost two hours, because we crossed the big intersection to stop in the book exchange first, and used some of our credit (from selling books) to get some Magic Tree House Research Guides and one Magic School Bus book. Then we got our groceries and walked back. He talked the whole way about the things he wants to build. His vacation home on a beach in Mexico. The eco-villages all over the world where people can live. He went on at great length about bakeries and coffee shops for ladies. How he wants to work hard and then when he’s a grandpa and walks with a cane he wants to retire and lay around and watch football.
When we got back I made everyone raisin toast and stove-top popcorn while they watched supercross and football. Boy started getting out of hand again playing soldiers with his sister and almost had another meltdown, but I managed to get them outside with their toy guns and Dog to play again for a bit. Our next door neighbors came over to the fence and played fetch with Dog. Boy couldn’t get Girl to play guns with him (because she wouldn’t leave the neighbors), which he desperately wanted, but I told him he could pretend to shoot birds and squirrels. I felt really weird about that. I feel weird about toy guns in general, no matter how many times folks tell me they are normal and healthy and harmless and fine. And if a child has a toy gun, which mine do, what are they supposed to pretend to shoot, and under what circumstances?
In any case, I went back inside to make dinner (garlicky tatsoi greens and fried eggs) while the kids spun on the swing. We ate dinner, I walked Dog while the kids finished eating and got jammies on. When I got back I gave them pudding and we played an AWESOME game of Memory, with all 36 pairs of Charley Harper cards. The kids are really good at it, and it’s fun. So that was it. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.