It’s been a parenting challenge in our house lately. Peanut has been showing age three the door with a bang that I can only hope will keep that bad attitude out when four arrives…but I’m not so sure yet. Power struggles, taking out aggression on the little brother, defiance, deaf ears, we’ve got it all. And it hasn’t been pretty.
Activity, and lots of it, tend to be our behavior savior around here. Unfortunately, it was to the detriment of Pumpkin’s naps. I scaled back the activity meter a little bit, made a few timing adjustments and naps have gotten back on track. I’ve been sucking up the repercussions each afternoon about 4pm when Peanut gets bored or frustrated about sharing time. And by sucking it up, I mean counting down the minutes until the hubby gets home to help balance the adult to child ratio.
Today, however, was a good day. A really good day. We met up with some friends at an area train museum. Okay, so it was 100 degrees out – not the best environment for climbing in and out of trains. Outside. But the kids had a great time checking out all the different cars and engines and buses and models and signals and lights and whistles. We had a few moments of Peanut turning a deaf ear, but brief moments that didn’t mar our adventures, moments more a product of excited distraction than intentional defiance.
I braced myself, however, for the onslaught of bad behavior the afternoon would bring. We were all hot and tired. It was destined. And then. It didn’t happen. We played a few games. We did some puzzles. He cleaned up the blocks after he was done with them (what?!). He crashed cars on his train table to the sheer delight of his baby brother who just stood on my legs, watching, squealing in that delicious, uncontrollable baby belly laugh way at every hit, bang and car flip.
Later, as we “spied” for the hubby to come home, I spotted two brothers that live up the street as they walked home from a friends house. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but they walked close to each other. Sharing stories of their day, perhaps, or planning the evening’s games or discussing whose favorite superhero was superior. It was the closeness that got me. The nearness of their swaying arms, the almost imperceptible tilt of their heads towards each other as they trudged home from another busy summer day of play, sun, freedom.
And there it was. In the depth of the laughter, in the sway of those brothers’ arms, in the pressure of Pumpkin’s little feet on my thigh, was a promise of the future. A future that isn’t so distant. I felt that moment stand still and etch itself into my memory to be recalled on those afternoons that aren’t so perfect. I relaxed into it. I smiled.
Correction. I smile.