Our day together began at 7:15 this morning. Daddy was already gone, off to a conference that lasts today and tomorrow. Mind you, this is the start of our second six-day week. In a row. These weeks are challenging for Harrison and I because, by the Thursday or Friday of it, we’ve honestly had enough of just the two of us time. Not to say we don’t still adore each other (will have to say more about HD’s sudden separation anxiety another time), because that love still comes out in small moments, even on the worst days. The lizard days. Days like last Friday.
Perhaps my worst parenting moment to date occurred Friday morning when it took 45 minutes to get Harrison to sit for 1 minute in time out. On facebook, I equated this, at 8 months pregnant, to running 5 miles. Physically, it was that exhausting. Emotionally, it was even worse. At least after a run, I always felt a warmth, a sense of accomplishment. After that epic battle I felt spent, like I wanted to curl up in a cave and hand this whole parenting gig over to someone far more patient and qualified. But then, you get the small moments. The little hand resting on your leg as you read a story together. The intoxicating smell of baby lotion after a bath. Some days, these small moments are the only thing getting me through the ups and down of toddlerhood.
Today we took a different approach to the start of our second long week. I walked in at 7:15 and asked Harrison, straight off, if he’d like to go on an adventure. (Sidebar: we are big PBS fans, which means The Cat in the Hat is a favorite. Hence the show’s theme song and one of our favorite ditties to sing: “Here we go, go, go go on an adventure!”) It is a good thing, in retrospect, that he agreed immediately and wholeheartedly, because we were going either way, but I figure it is always nice to give the kiddo some buy in power when I can. When he found out that said adventure meant we were headed to his see his three-month-old baby cousin, Trevin, be baptized, he was thrilled. The whole way through breakfast and into the van and down the highway, all I heard was how we were going to see Baby Trevin. Of course, seeing the rest of Ben’s family was a big bonus incentive as Harrison loves, loves, loves his cousin and his grandparents and their farm.
Normally I am not so brave. I do not travel long distances (anything over 20 minutes) with Harrison and without Ben, mainly because my back hates me a lot at times which makes travel (alone) with a toddler difficult. Seeing as we were headed to a family-filled event and then to Ben’s parent’s house for the rest of the day, though, I decided it was worth the experience, the time together, and just the plain old factor of getting out of the house to see other people.
Turns out I was right. Harrison had a great time seeing Trevin this morning. He even lasted the entire church service in the pew with us. Granted, he bounced from my lap, then to Grandpa’s, and then to Grandma’s about 50 times, and ate a lot of Kix and a bag of fruit snacks, but still – no crying and no tantrums. I’ll take that any day! And with extra eyes to watch and arms to lift, we sailed through the morning like we are old pros at this. Amazing. Is my back sore after the long day? Yes. Is the baby moving in ways that make me both uncomfortable and anxious as I check the calendar to see just what date it is? Yes. But wouldn’t this have been the case if we had just stayed home today and done the same old, same old? I’d have to guess, Yes!
Perhaps I need to propose more adventure days. Maybe we don’t even need to go anywhere outside of city limits to have these adventures. Perhaps just starting the days off right – with a little fun, a little excitement, a little mystery – would set us down the path of having more adventures and discoveries and less crawl-in-the-cave moments. One could only hope, right?