Monday, April 8, 2013

Girls' Day Out...Or Not.

At the beginning of spring break, a few friends of mine who also have young children sent out an email about getting together over the break. We're all crazy busy, so our meet-ups are infrequent, which means that when we CAN actually all get together, I really really want to go. I can't tell you how much I enjoy hanging out with my mom friends--having people to commiserate with about things like poop, temper tantrums, and sleep deprivation is seriously so important. We agreed on a day and I put it on my calendar.

A few days before our date, we decided on a location. Lunch and the park--great day out...except that the chosen park is on the larger side, and my kids have very different interests when it comes to playing at the park. In other words, on my own, I could only manage one of the two kids. No big deal, I thought--all of the other children in this particular group are girls, we will make it a girls' day out. I'll take Amelia, Anderson can hang with Dad...done.

I need to be completely honest here.  There was a teeny tiny part of me that was relieved. Relieved that I could take Amelia and not Anderson.  See, Amelia is the POSTER CHILD for ideal adult outings. She's a fantastic shopper, infinitely patient with my meandering trips to Target.  She is a great eater--she's never picky about food. She generally follows directions in public*--really, I'm not exaggerating. She's the perfect kid to take anywhere you need to go. Anderson...well, he's more of a question mark.  He's pretty good in public but sometimes struggles with transitions--like, if it was time to leave the park but he wasn't ready to go, he might throw a holy fit. Same could go for restaurants and stores. He's also more unpredictable when it comes to what is going to irritate him, sensory-wise.  I'll never forget the time we took him to a bounce play-space, and he F-R-E-A-K-E-D. Like totally lost his shit.  The sound of the huge fans that keep the inflatables going was too much for him. Now...don't misunderstand. I'm not embarrassed when any of these things happen. Anderson very rarely does anything that truly embarrasses me--and what kid doesn't embarrass their parents from time to time? However, I'm hyper-sensitive of other people's discomfort.  In other words, I didn't want my friends to be uncomfortable in the event that something happened. I realize that this is something I need to work on--just add it to my lengthy list. So, as it stood, I was a bit relieved it was going to wind up being a girl trip.

Except, it didn't.  Sunday morning, Amelia woke up in a BEAR of a mood. The child was disagreeable from the moment her feet hit the floor.  She whined through breakfast, got pissed off at her tricycle when it didn't cooperate and threw it on the ground, screamed when I threatened to make her watch "Tangled" (another post for another time...).  When I was finished getting ready, I came out into the living room, where she resolutely announced that she didn't want to go with me. I kid you not, Anderson was right there, and he looked up with his big, blue eyes and said, "I want to go with you, Mommy!"  I felt like if I had stared at him long enough, he would have started fluttering his eyelashes like Bambi. What else could I do? Can't really attend a play-date without the kid, and ohmigosh was he adorable? So, I swallowed my nervousness and decided that was it. He'd go.

We started out by running to Home Depot to pick up the new vacuum (which is fabulous so far, by the way). On the way, I repeated the schedule for the day over and over:  first, the store to get a new vacuum, then lunch with Mommy's friends, and then the park.  I made him say it back to me several times. I wanted there to be no misunderstanding. He nodded happily, repeated  me several times, and expressed his excitement over the day in general.

You all...he was A-MAZING.  He was so freaking happy the entire day.  He was as excited in Home Depot as most kids are at an amusement park. He ogled the fans, the doors, the lights, and ohhhh the weed-eaters.  He offered his input on the vacuum cleaner situation ("I like the yellow one, Mommy."), made cute faces at the cashier. He got happily into his car seat, was a perfect angel at the restaurant. Talked to all of my friends (albeit in a shy little way), even sorta-kinda played with another kid, and had an absolute blast at the park. And lo and behold, when it was time to leave the park, he went willingly (although he did ask for french fries, which comes from our usual park habit of stopping at Culver's on the way home. Creature of habit, that one).

The day left me overwhelmed with emotions.  To my friends, it probably seemed like an ordinary day at the park with the kids. To me, it was huge.  I was so incredibly happy to have shared a special, fun day with my boy. I was so proud of him for managing all of the unpredictability. And I was ashamed of myself. I sold the boy short. I underestimated him. In a world where I pride myself on not placing limits on him, I did just that. And wow...he showed me. Lesson learned, little man.  Lesson learned.

*Public only. At home, not so much.

1 comment:

  1. All I have to say that this post made me teary eyed...sweetness...absolutely sweetness!