The Toddles and I walked with the Ergo (he fell asleep), we weeded in the Ergo (he still slept), and we went to the playground with the Ergo (he woke up), where I improvised a hat for the kid out of a bandana I had stuffed in my diaper bag.
As you can see, he found the experience one of profound gender-confusion. Or maybe he had fun.
I have been curiously reluctant to take the Toddles to playgrounds, not because of allergies (he does tend to find all sorts of food wrappers), but because I have this strong feeling that I actually don't enjoy going to playgrounds. Still, on this warm, sunny day, ripe with Ergo-nomic triumph (sorry, couldn't resist the pun), off we went.
We were doing really well for a while: I pushed him in the swing, and taught him to say 'Weee!' Then, I chased him around a climbing structure, making admiring noises as he clambered handily up and down things, and extravagantly shocked noises when he went head-first down a tiny slide.
I was laughing at my own anti-park stance as the Toddles and I bounced on this trampoline-ish web, when he turned to me.Aauwwff! he said, firmly, and pointed an imperious finger.
Off? Me? I said, astonished.
Auwff! he repeated, and jabbed his finger at me, sternly.
Humbly, I got off the trampoline-ish thing, and stood by as he played. Oh. That's why it's not so much fun.
Making my morning coffee, I heard a loud, determined rattling sound. Eventually, I tracked it down: it was coming from the family room (aka the dining room, but who cares?), where the Toddles was trying to open a cupboard. Feeling unequal to the task, I stood in the doorway, holding my mug in front of me, protectively.
Can I help you? I asked, politely.
Tain! Tain! he shouted, pointing at the cabinet.
I opened the cabinet, and pulled out the box of train tracks. Vaguely, I was certain that he is too young for them, for the fine motor skills nedeed to assemble them, the patterning skills needed to make an effective track, but what the hell, I hadn't had my coffee yet and there wasn't a choking hazard in the box. I pulled it out.
Damn. Who knew he could do that?
Later that day, shortly before dinner, I'm flat on my back with both boys lying on top of me, laughing. From this position, I decide it's time to continue the conversation with the recently stressed-out Eldest.
Okay, kid - you have power here. (You're sitting on my solar plexus...) What do you choose?
He looked thoughtful.
If you want, you have the power to read to your brother, letting me cook dinner as quickly as possible. Or, you could play by yourself while he hangs out with me, which will slow things down a little, but dinner will get made - though probably not as quickly as you might want. Or, you could also hang out in here with me (and my -aghh- diaphragm), and dinner will probably not get cooked at all.
What do you want to do?
The Eldest barely paused.
Later, however, Mum, is dinner ready? I've discussed this with my stomach, and it says I'm starving!
Almost there, hon. I'm finishing the salad. It's got watercress and pears and roasted sweet potatoes. Now, I know that pears and roasted sweet potatoes sounds odd, but the balance of -
(cutting me off)
Oh, no! It's the 'no, not that - oh wait I like it' game. (rolls eyes and stalks off, theatrically)
Looks like my fiendish non-plan is working...hug the kid a lot, remind him of his power, as opposed to my obvious ability to rain down punishments - er, consequences - is working fine. Oh, yes, and there's one more thing I'm trying - but that's for a future post.
The Oh, No, Not That Saladwatercress/baby arugula
1-2 ripe pears
leftover roasted sweet potatoes (I like to toss mine in olive oil, with paprika, garlic powder and chili powder, roast at 425F for about 40 odd minutes. I serve it as a side dish, but it's a a great salad addition!)
green lettuce (romaine is fine, red/green-leaf better)
Optional: blue cheese, radiccio, endive, napa cabbage
3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp sugar, 2 Tb fresh dill, 1/4 c red wine vinegar, 2/3rds c olive oil, 2 Tb water.
Whirl all but liquids in food processor until minced. Add liquids, whirl until frothy. Keeps in plastic container for 1-2 weeks, keeps just under a week in anything metal (you can put a plastic sandwich bag under a metal lid - the dressing gets a metallic tang after a while).
Slice pears, combine until satisfied with balance between fresh pear, sharp arugula/watercress and mild lettuce, any optional additions. Toss with a bit of dressing (a light hand on the dressing is good here). Serve!
Update: the MIL continues to improve, and today the Man is visiting her. I'm glad she's now ready for her children to be with her, it says much for her state of mind. Meanwhile, the head of our home care nursing company (the employees are all amazing IV nurses, and they specialize in infusions) told me today that they see some patients dealing with neuropathy, who get infusions at home. She assured me that for many, the MIL's diagnosis is one of maintenance and care, not of steady debilitation.