Rather spontaneously (with about five days' notice), our family accepted an invitation to bicycle the VA Creeper Trail with friends on Saturday. Chris and I looked at the situation every which way, and what ended up making pragmatic sense this time was for him to take the three olders only this time while I stayed home with the two littles. We considered it a 'recon mission' for the whole family to go, perhaps in the fall.
Chris had free hotel points enough to go up the night before, thus avoiding the three-hour drive each way on Saturday, which is such a long, tiring day trip.
|Hotels are always fun.|
I want my children to have good wholesome experiences, which is why I encouraged some of us to go on the trip (rather than none of us going at all), but still I cried when half my family left for that fun without me, and then I cried that night when Chris emailed me the photo Mary (7) wrote me on her own.
The weather was supposed to be a high of the upper 70s, and the 17-mile ride is reportedly bucolic and easy, even for old, fluffy mamas and little children. Even the other family's grandmother went along for the ride, so that is promising for me joining them next time.
We just weren't sure about Margaret, who rides a two-wheeler like an expert at five years old, but complains about duration on our regular 1.5-mile neighborhood loop, so we rented a trailer in which she could ride.
|Checkers and ice cream cones at a wayside restaurant|
Meanwhile, back in Charlotte, it was like a flash back in time to an earlier era of sleep deprivation and being unable to get any other work done than directly monitoring tiny children because 1- and 3-year-olds (mine anyway) aren't independent at all.
On Friday night, after Joseph woke me up six times, I gave up and brought him into bed with me, but that means he woke up me and the baby at 5:00 a.m., depriving Thomas of a good two more hours of sleep, which messed up the whole rest of the day: lots of crabbiness and random, ill-timed naps, and Mama was falling asleep herself but had no other adult or big kid to help her.
Nonetheless, I proceeded ahead with my plan to occupy the little boys with something fun I rarely do: Story Time at the Library! Joseph was very excited at the news.
There was a special Mr. Potato Head exhibit visiting at the library, which was loads of fun: assemble your own Potato Head, various Potato Heads in the Ocean activities, as well as Potato Heads in Space. It was a little weird, but, I'm telling you, it worked.
|Potato Heads in Space were the most popular|
|Blowing raspberries at his big brother on the other side of the wall|
We showed up at the right area of the library for Story Time and Joseph was wary, having been taken to Story Time maybe only once prior in his life (a year ago?). He wouldn't sit crisscross applesauce when all the other children were told to sit, and he wouldn't stand when the other children were told to stand. (He lay on his back, kicking his legs up in the air in a nonchalant, cheerful way.) Joseph wouldn't sing songs (including the ABCs, making me wonder if I'd never taught it to him), and he wouldn't dance, even though I did all the motions in order to encourage good spirit. When the librarian was reading a book, he vocalized that he wanted to go sit in the front row to see better (logical for a child at home reading with his mom), and then couldn't understand the concept of 'this is your seat, we aren't supposed to move around.'
Twenty minutes into Story Time, Joseph told me he really preferred to go back to the Potato Head exhibit, which we did.
I left feeling glum, like a Loser Homeschooling Mother who hasn't done preschooler with her three-year-old, so he doesn't sit, stand, dance, and sing when he is "supposed" to (which, I admit, sounds kind of like I want him to be a trained puppy). Back at home, I tested whether he knew how to sing his ABCs . . . he does but he said he was shy and had me look in the other direction. Joseph is shy?!
Given that I couldn't have any computer time (can't turn my back on these guys for a second), couldn't watch any of my TV, and putting on kid's TV wouldn't occupy the 11-month-old (so why bother putting it on for the three-year-old?), nor could I leave the two little boys to play together, even in the same room as me (because the three-year-old is exuberantly way too rough with his younger brother), I gave up and decided we would all prepare one of Daddy's favorite desserts: an apple pie to bake on Sunday.
The best laid plans of mice and men . . .
|About to bake pie together|
I have used store-bought pie crust for years, but didn't happen to have any in the house, so I even make the crust from scratch. I even mastered fluting the edges, and they were so beautiful!
I carried the masterpiece pie to the refrigerator in the garage (to save till the next day to bake), when I somehow fumbled and dropped it on the floor of the garage. I was Betty Crocker with butter fingers!
All I did was exclaim, "Oh no!" but my inside spirit was a broiling mess, way too many emotions over a stupid dessert. I felt so far from being a saint or even a good example. I kept telling myself, "the process of making the pie was what was important, not the result of having a pie to eat," but it didn't feel that way.
I cleaned up the mess in what I thought was an effective manner but learned later was not, as a huge swarm of ants took over our garage. I just hoped they wouldn't make off with the kids' bicycles in the night.
Given the very long day, and the two bicycling families eating leisurely at a restaurant afterward, Chris found he couldn't drive the children all the home safely, so called me 90 minutes shy of our house and said he had checked them into a hotel instead of pushing forward. I was glad for their safety, but sure missed them.
Chris says that exhausted Mary crept out of bed around ten at night to write me another note. Melt my heart!