Days 14 & 15

After this summer of traveling, the kids are used to this arrangement. We’ve now slept in one room in various hotels, airbnbs, timeshares, and relatives’ houses, so they took very little convincing to try it in our own house. (It’s not a bad way to teach your kids to hold their possessions [even their own beds] lightly.)

Our bedroom is on the second floor and next to the bathroom, and I took the kids up there right after dinner. They both lay down in their travel beds immediately and I changed their clothes and brushed their teeth right in bed. I read a couples books, turned on the sound machine, turned off the light, and was out of there. 10 minutes start to finish.

But here’s how it goes normally.

I take them up to the second floor and we stop in the bathroom. They fight over who gets to stand on the step stool to brush their teeth. If Augie wins, I brush his teeth while Rosey brushes hers. If she wins, she brushes her teeth and Augie takes off to who knows where to do something that is of maximum importance only to him. 5 minutes later I get him back into the bathroom and we brush. Meanwhile Rosey makes her way downstairs and back up again only forgetting some vital toy or blanket downstairs. I finish brushing Augie’s teeth and tell him to go upstairs to his bedroom on the third floor while I carry Rosey downstairs (she insists) to get the forgotten item. I then carry her up two flights of stairs, down the hall, and into their room. I lock the door behind me: no escape!

It is now time for jammies. Augie and Rosey have the biggest bedroom in the house so, after I get their day clothes off, they run around like wild beasts, chasing each other in their newly nude freedom while I tell them several times to come back and get their jammies on. Once again, they argue over who goes first until I tackle Rosey because she’s the easiest to subdue. Then I tell Augie that he can sleep naked with no story time and he lets me get him dressed, but he’s “not happy about it.”

Deep breath.

I pick out two books and hope they pass inspection because otherwise Augie will get to the shelf and pick out the longest ones possible. The kids sit in their reading chairs. I read. Rosey then complains that Augie is too close to her even though he hasn’t moved. Augie gets offended at being falsely accused of something and I can’t console either of them because the whole thing is irrational. Finally I scooch their chairs farther apart and I’m able to finish story time and get them into bed.

They have various stalling techniques that they can employ at this point, but let’s say it’s a good night and I get out of there without 5 songs, 4 prayers, 3 sips of water, 2 potty breaks, and a partridge in a pear tree. Let’s say I get out of there with a simple g’night: this whole thing has taken an hour and a half.

In a small house there is much less distance, much less room to run wild, several fewer rooms to entice little interests, several less steps to haul things up and down. In my smaller house I got the kids to bed tonight in 10 minutes.

I’m not complaining.

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Day 4

With Labor Day over, the contractors are back to work – ripping up the floors, I think. (They’ve already taken away at least 3 loads of debris from this project. Whew!)

I have a shirt with the word “EMPOWERED” on the front. I feel like I should wear it today in honor of my daughter’s first day of preschool. Rosey’s a brave girl. She protects her big brother from monsters in the dark of night. And, buckling her own seat belt on her first drive to her first day of formal education, she was all smiles, not a worry in the world. Which is fine because I was doing all the worrying for her.

When Augie went off on his first day of preschool I couldn’t wait to get rid of him. I feel guilty about that fact. It wasn’t his fault, I just still hadn’t come to grips with my life as PARENT and the lack of change-the-world-ness (and glory) it entails. I was still in denial, refusing to accept that being a mom was my identifying purpose at the moment, and refusing to accept that embracing it could ever be a good thing. I am not in the same place now (thank you, Jesus) but that causes other pain: it makes me ache for my snuggly daughter to be back in my arms at the end of today, and it makes me mourn the time I wasted not feeling that way about my son.

will have you know that the first couple years of learning to parent weren’t all bad, even if I was being a butt. The contractors ripping up the floors today reminds me of one of my favorite memories…

We are at our previous house, Augie and I, sitting on the kitchen floor eating yogurt out of the carton, sharing a big spoon. Augie is probably 18 months old, with blond wispy hair still and those big gorgeous blue eyes, and lots of giggles ensue as we share the spoon back and forth at our own private party.

I look forward to remaking that memory in this house when our new floors get done.

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