A year ago at this time, we were still in the nine-month-long phase of John purposefully hitting Mary numerous times per day. It was a hard time in parenting and I didn't know when it would ever end. But now we're in a wonderful play time. While walking on my treadmill, the children playing with me in the bonus room, I got to witness this precious, yet now-typical, scene:
Mary dumped out the alphabet blocks and called to John across the room: "John, want to come over here?"
John, pausing in his activity: "Sure!"
They settle in with the blocks and then sing a full and well executed duet of the "ABCs." (I have got to capture them singing a song together. The grandparents got to see "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" and it really is sung well.)
John: "We can build blocks together."
Then they built blocks together, side by side, and didn't smash each other's towers and cry.
So small, yet so sweet! I don't know if this change would have happened naturally with age or if it happened because we spent a lot of time intervening and "making them" learning to play nicely, but it sure is lovely. Really, our current biggest problem is simply that both kids love wrestling with each other, but then each child doesn't know how to read the signals or respect when the other child is not in the mood to wrestle. So Mary will be wrestling down John, or vice versa, and the one child isn't respecting the other child's 'no,' so then we have to intervene and remind the one child that 'no means stop!' Not such a bad problem to have.
Yesterday Daddy got the idea to make "juice ice cubes" in this weird round ice cube-making contraption sent to us for free by Maker's Mark (even though Chris hasn't bought Maker's Mark in more than five years, the company still deluges us with free gifts). Getting the juice into the ice cube maker involved using a blunt-edged medicinal syringe. It was quite a "Daddy project," I thought. The kids, of course, loved it. When I came to take a picture, John said, "Mary, quick! Close your eyes!"
After an enjoyable search through IKEA (to see if any of our furniture needs would be met by their 60% off sale: no, not this time), we drove to my favorite sewing store and purchased Chris' big Christmas gift to me: a new sewing machine! He had given me brochures wrapped in Christmas paper a few days ago and we'd been researching machines to decide which to buy. I am so excited!!!
In the evening, Chris and I hired a babysitter and went out alone! The kids had a blast, as they always do when Miss Rachel comes over.
About half an hour before leaving for our dinner, it hit me that we're in a rare and brief pocket of having our youngest child old enough to go to sleep comfortably with a non-parent and not having a newborn yet: "how about we go to a movie too, honey?" With a glint in his eye: "What?! That's crazy!" We quickly scrambled to look up movies. It is rare that Hollywood has something out that we would see, and I had just seen "Narnia" recently, so we were delighted that "The King's Speech" was out. Maybe you have to be a nerd to be fascinated by the story of a speech therapist cum psychologist, but we thought it was great. The movie was preceded by a fabulous dinner at a beautiful Italian restaurant. We were gone for five hours. (Yes, I know some of our friends are laughing at us right now.) Only a few more months of these opportunities before our latest little blessing is in tow (and I don't go see any movies for at least a year!).