Life in the past few weeks has been unusual - moving, staying with my parents, fatherlessness, daylight savings ending - anyone of which is enough disruption for this one mommy and these two kiddos, but as fate would have it, they have all coincided.
Long story short: the kiddos have been sorely lacking in routine. That oh-so-magical and ever elusive routine. The thing that will solve all your parenting woes and ensure that your children are rested and fed and well-behaved.
Even 11 o'clock yesterday morning was probably too far along for an adventure, I just needed to do something, so I packed the kids up for a visit to the library and my favorite coffee place with an old friend. After maybe six sweet minutes at the library of doing puzzles, I overestimated the Jake's fuse and picked a battle I probably should've let alone.
You know that moment when your wrangling your flailing, wailing child in a public space and wondering just WHY you asked him to put away his puzzles before moving onto the next activity?? And even though you don't like to consider yourself a pushover, you never would've said anything if you'd known it would come to this. But you've done it. You've bombed Pearl Harbor, you've woken the giant, or in this case the three year old, and you will live out the consequences.
So we attempted an exit. I hoisted the screaming Jake under my right arm and the boots he'd kicked off in my right hand. My left hand ushered the barely walking Lucy June. All the little librarians craned their necks and watched me exeunt with the holy terror and his little sister: we were a tantrum train, and we were moving s l o w.
Once outside, I dropped Jake in the landscaping and headed to the car to buckle the baby in the car seat so I could more properly deal with her brother, but by the time she was secured, I turned to see the still crying Jake running to the car with Lucy June's shoes that my friend had saved.
After we both cooled down and got his boots back on, we agreed that we really did still need coffee, got the ever amenable Lucy back out of the car, and started for Ranch Road Roasters. It was, of course, two blocks farther than I remembered and rookie mother over here had neither ergo nor stroller, but the siren latte had me in her aromatic grip and we forged on, hungry and tired and keeping it together only at the promise of more cross walk buttons to push.
(Seriously this child: hears nothing I say, remembers everything I say, and NEVER forgets a toy.)
So I sent him to the toy nook while I got lunch; I dawdled a little and grabbed a coconut macaroon because treat yo self, mama, and because I was bracing myself to coax Jake away from Thomas the Train. When I went back to get him, I saw that he was in the process of affirming his mostly potty-trained status.
That sentence got wordy. I'll trim it down:
He was peeing his pants.
Thankfully the accident was mild, and I was able to haul him to the coffee shop next door which had a bathroom where he could finish. He assured me: "I only need to go pee in about three hours" but I told him to try anyway, and low and behold, Will Power Junior had held a fair amount back. I tried to air out his pants and thanked my lucky stars that we'd avoided what could have been a lake amid the patchouli at the grocery store. Jake just looked up and said "Wow. I guess it's already three hours, huh, mom?"
As I squatted down put his soggy pants back on - commando, his favorite - I remembered when this happened and tried to infuse the episode with a little bit of the parent I really wanted to be.
And at that very second, he wrapped his arms around me and put his head on my shoulder.
"I love you, mama. Dat's why I'm hugging you because I love you."
To jump to a very different note. . . Only a couple hours after I wrote this yesterday, my maternal grandmother passed away. We've been expecting this for a while and were able to say our goodbyes. She was surrounded by her children when she died. If you think of it, please keep the family - and especially my mother - in your thoughts and prayers this weekend.
You were quite the lady, Nono, and you will be missed.