My children are away. Not the baby, but the “big girls”–the 7 year old and the almost-6-year-old twins. They are at their grandparents for a week. I was sort of worried about missing them, sort of.
However. Tomorrow is pick-up day, and I’ve already tried asking for a late check-out, like at a hotel, where they let you stay till 2 instead of 10 am–I tried to push it for “…one more week, maybe?” to no avail. I vaguely miss them, in the sense of “Oh yes, I liked things about those people.” However. The baby and I have developed a groove. One twin, it has been reported, misses me desperately to the tune of multiple melt-downs a day–which does not, in turn, make me miss her. To be clear, I don’t miss the MELT-DOWNS. I like her. And like the affirmation that somewhere out there another person likes me so much.
The baby does not cramp my style. Well, maybe mildly, when she still wakes up to snack at 3 am. THOUGH SHE IS ALMOST ONE. This is not really in any one’s book acceptable behavior, but she’s wicked cute and except for this annoying nocturnal habit, she is an amazingly awesome baby. And, she makes up for it by sleeping in till 8:30 on these days without her sisters stomping about–proving, as I have maintained all along, that sleeping in till 8:30 or even 9:00 is the normal order of things.
Here’s the thing. When I had one kid, I’d just moved to the suburbs. Wait, stop, reverse. I was pregnant, moved to the suburbs, and then had one kid out here. I had, then, 2 friends–who had 2 kids and 3 kids, respectively. I knew, KNEW, that they didn’t take me and my “parenting woes” really seriously, when I was the parent of one kid. That is, I knew, even then, that when I was struggling that having one kid wasn’t really hard. But I didn’t appreciate it.
Having one kid when you’re used to FOUR who yell and shout and fight (and are adorable but also yell and fight) is AWESOME. It is a level of appreciation you can only reach, well, when you’ve had four kids and have distilled it down to a blessed one for a week.
- My husband and I went out to dinner every night like rock stars. We hauled the baby along, she didn’t care. She spread town house crackers all over one restaurant, no one cared, they thought she was awesome. Bill for dinner: was what it was, without a $60 babysitter tack-on.
- My husband and I, like rock stars, went to sushi! No one yelled “DISGUSTING THIS IS RAW FISH” or tried to get away with eating one chip for dinner, only to end up grouchy and hungry. Instead, the baby consumed her sushi-fish as Pepperidge Farm goldfish, her choice, that’s fine, everyone was happy.
- One night, we stayed home. Sometimes rock stars do that. Instead of having to create a nutritious meal with 6 different versions since no one in my house eats the same thing, I left him to grill some chicken and I ate some mushrooms and cheese which anyone who knows me knows, is my favorite dinner. And goldfish. Cheers, baby! And we watched The Wire and didn’t worry about excessive tv habits corrupting our children (or for that matter gratuitous sex and violence, as personified by The Wire, corrupting our children). It was awesome.
- I worked while the baby played. I got a little worried as I usually enlisted one of my children to babysit for a dollar (or a quarter if it was a twin, you get what you pay for) when I have a conference call, and that was impossible when they weren’t here. So I stuck the baby in the twins child-safe room with the door closed, during my calls. She played her butt off AND there was no risk of her fighting with a sister as the babysitter sisters often do–so conference calls were stress free AND QUIET! Win.
- I did what I wanted! The baby didn’t care! She came along like the perfect accessory–one that needed a lot of goldfish and who left a lot of crumbs, but a great accessory nonetheless. We went to the gym, she went to childcare, I left. One hour, done and DONE. No arguing for slurpees, extra time playing video games, changing people into suits for 15 minutes in the pool–no sir! In and out, workout happened, feel good, on to the next. This is basically how the whole week went. SMOOTH.
- House? CLEAN. No crap left about. In fact, markedly less crap as I went on a cleaning-palooza and filled 4 garbage bags with stuff if it failed my one simple question: “Am I sick of seeing ____?” Yes? In the trash. Crap-free house. Aah, relaxing.
- Fights? None. Back-talk? None. Fresh behavior? None. The only thing the baby does is yell “dat dat dat dat dat dat dat” all day like some weird printer or something but it’s CUTE! Not at all the same as someone yelling “ShehitmeI’mboredwhatcanidowhatcanidowhatcanidowhatcanido?” I’ll take Datdatdatdat any time. Even though right now, it’s 9:15 pm, and I’m hearing datdatdat instead of the sleeping I’m supposed to hear.
But so here’s the thing. I’m not a HORRID, AWFUL mom as I would be after dealing with all four of them yelling all day, when I hear the baby dat’ing. I instead just went and kissed her and plugged her with her pacifier. I have not yelled a swear for a week. No one needed this break from my kids more than me.
I love them. I cleaned their rooms, and bought them each a new shirt, and got excited thinking of taking them to the new ice cream place Daddy and I found (where we bought yogurt and loaded on toppings LIKE ROCK STARS BECAUSE WE COULD). I will be super happy to see them.
Thank God for the break. And is this week available next year, fine establishment O’Grandparents?