Sunday, August 05, 2012

The ideal

I was talking to Dan this morning about how different the reality of parenting is from the ideal in your head.  I suppose some days are closer to the ideal, but others are just total chaos, from the second you get out of bed.  This morning was idyllic.  I took the four minutes it takes to make the bed.  We sat on the living room floor with Louie, eating our cereal and drinking our coffee, then I unloaded and loaded the dishwasher in the kitchen while Dan read the paper and Louie crawled around like a maniac.  Now Louie is napping, the windows are all open and there's this amazing cool breeze, and I am writing.  Dan is mowing the lawn. 

It feels... easy.  But there's something missing right?  Yeah.  GUS.

Two kids really is no joke.

Or should I say toddlers are no joke?

I can't believe how easy-going the house feels this morning with just a baby.

This is how a normal weekend morning would go:

The kids play in the living room while one of us supervises. (Gus has been having some spells of badness with Louie these days, which have become more frequent now that his little brother is crawling and totally getting up in his business.  Maybe someday I'll share the video I have from earlier this week when Louie was just starting to crawl and we were cheering him on and enticing him with toys and then Gus comes over and just flat out shoves the poor kid into the ground.  Bonk, his big ole pumpkin head connecting with the hard wood floor.  Screaming, crying, Gus immediately running to his room without even being told.  Yes, this is all caught on tape.)


Normal Sunday... The other parent is at the same time rushing around to get breakfast ready.  Gus is back and forth between the living room and the kitchen the whole time, demanding popsicles and milk and ice cream and Thomas and George and "Go downstairs and play trains MOMMY!" and "I want my Cars sticker book!" and "Go to grandma's for Julia's birthday party!"  (That party was two weeks ago, kid cannot stop thinking about it.) 

When we're ready, Louie all sat up in his high chair with a sippy cup of water or something (kid these days is flat out refusing to eat any food, pureed or not) and the rest of us sit around the kitchen table, Gus begging and whining for us to turn on some cartoon for the majority of our breakfast.  

Then it's nap time for Louie and I try desperately to sneak away and nurse him but Gus barges in the room and then Louie won't nurse and wants to giggle at his brother and Gus is jumping on the bed and I'm screaming for Dan and yelling at him for not keeping Gus occupied for the TEN MINUTES it takes for me to nurse the baby. 

So that's a pretty normal Sunday.

Gus is just really really really demanding these days, I know it's his age, but wow.  And he does not want to play by himself.  The only way to really keep him out of your  hair for any discernible amount of time is to turn on the TV, and we try desperately to keep TV time to a minimum, or at least only use it when absolutely necessary. 

Gus is at my parents' house this morning, they've been begging to take him for a sleepover for weeks now, and we just haven't been able to coordinate our schedules. So last night they took both kids for the evening, and kept Gus overnight.  While Dan and I had a lovely and decadent two-drink dinner sitting on a dimly lit patio in the city, they took our children to my old church's festival.

It's strange, every year we talk about going up to the festival, but the whole place just feels like... I don't know, it's this community and building that all stay the same while the world around them evolves and grows and changes with the times.  So we haven't really gone, because when I'm there I can't help but feel weird.  I am so conflicted about what that church represents, what so many of those people believe, I feel like an outsider, even if I'm just there to play ring toss with my toddler and eat nachos and walk through the gym full of silent auction baskets.  I see people that I recognize from my youth and wonder if they are in agreement with this amendment that is being proposed that would say it's okay that I get married, and divorced, over and over and over again if I'd like, but not my brother.  He's different.  His lifestyle is wrong.  Do they think that?  They might.  And I can't stop thinking about it.  And I can't separate those people from their beliefs, even though many of them are really kind, wonderful people (who are totally on the wrong side of history, I'm sure of that).

So even though I have wonderful memories of growing up in that community, sitting in those little classrooms, learning how to write in cursive and diagram sentences, going to Mass with the rest of my classmates on Fridays, trading slap bracelets with my friends on the playground.  It feels like another life, and when I try to go back, I feel like an intruder.  I can't get behind the church's teachings, and I feel like a hypocrite even participating in something as mundane as Bingo in the cafeteria.

Yeah, that was a massive digression. 

Suffice it to say, the kids had a blast at the festival, and could have cared less whether or not they are pro-gay marriage there.  :)  Gus rode a train, he played tic-tac-toe and won a squirt gun, he met a police officer and got his own badge, from what I hear from the grandparents, it was a wonderful evening.  Even Louie loved being worn by my mother and looking at all the people and the lights and the fun being had.

Point is, this morning has been a nice break, and a good reminder of how difficult life can be with these two boys, but also how worth it it all is.  Because as wonderful and needed this relaxing morning has been, I'm also beside myself with excitement about bringing Gus to Chuck E. Cheese this afternoon for the first time, for my friend's son's 2nd birthday.  Seriously, kid is going to FLIP OUT for the awesomeness that is a Chuck E. Cheese toddler birthday party.

(These photos were all taken by my friend Lisa on Friday, we spent the day together and she took amazing pictures of my children and read books to Gus at nap time and carried a sleeping 20+ lb Louie in the BabyHawk around half of Lake Calhoun and just all around was (and is) THE BEST FRIEND EVER all day long.  Thank you Lisa.  I love these pictures and I love you!)


Erin said...

Okay, it's obvious that you have been spying on our home, but you got my sons' names wrong. :P Love this post! Happy birthday to Gus!

Lisa said...

You're welcome! I'm still getting the hang of the photography thing, but oh my goodness, your boys make it so easy. Those golden locks and bright blue eyes and ear-to-ear die for. I don't get to snuggle sleeping babies and play at the park all that often, so thank YOU! It was fun.

Funny that you were at the festival last night - we drove by on the way to dinner and I almost suggested we stop by to check it out, but then worried about awkward moments with people long from our past so we didn't. Glad you guys had fun!

Love ya too. You are MY best friend ever.

Erin said...

Oh I love everything about this post. Annie was with the grandparents last weekend, and SERIOUSLY - it is AMAZING how easy just a baby is. We were like... um... what do we do now? Just.... do what we want without a tiny toddler dictator ordering us around?!?! OMG Amazing. The thing that stuck me the most was just the quiet. We could actually have conversations without - "talk to meee!! What are you talking about? I need this!" etc. Annie really isn't so bad or anything, obviously, it's just constant. But then after a really rough night with Luke the other night, I was so happy to see her in the morning and get a big hug, and just have any sort of feedback besides screeching and clawing at my face from the baby - so it goes both ways I suppose!

I can definitely relate about the church stuff... I'll just leave it at that :)