Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Lesson #18: Never Look Away When Paint is Involved

My 3 1/2 year old wanted to paint the other night. I know, some of you are cringing already, but having worked in early childhood education, I'm not phased by the uber mess that accompanies such projects, so out came the paints. The really messy ones too, not water colors. I have to admit, mess tolerant as I am, I did begin to question all the projects I've had him do that involved handprints when he painted both hands and said, "Look, I'm making handprints for you!" Little did I know this would soon be the least of my worries.

Our kitchen has a room directly off it that isn't really big enough for a dining room and has a closet in it so we use it as a nursery. My little artist was happily creating all sorts of masterpieces at the kitchen table, and the baby was crawling around the kitchen checking things out. Since I could see them from the nursery I thought it was safe to step in there to make a quick call to my husband to ask him a question. (You seasoned parenting vets are laughing at me already.) I sat in the rocking chair, which faces the kitchen so I could see the baby be-boppin' around, but (here comes the fatal error) I didn't have a visual on the table where my little Van Gogh was going to town with the Crayola Washables.

I was just finishing up with hubby when I heard Mr. Artiste say, "Hey, I'll paint you too!" What I should have done was go flying out of the chair into the kitchen to investigate. What I did instead was call out "What did you say?" (I know, that one should go in the Dumb Moments in Parenting Hall of Fame.) He came running into the nursery saying excitedly, "Look mom, I'm a cool dude with my face paint!" Yep. He sure was. Both cheeks completely covered in red and blue paint. Before I could even comment he informed me that he'd painted his brother too. Sure enough, the baby came crawling in, grinning ear to ear, with paint on his cheek, arm, leg and a big ole glob right on the top of his head.

I did what any parent would do: I took pictures.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Lesson #17: Vacations Are Worth The Tears (Theirs and Yours)

So my husband and I decided that we totally had to take our kids to "A Day Out With Thomas and Friends." Our older son is mad about trains and we knew he would go nuts for an event like this. Of course, this meant we would be driving 2 1/2 hours for  25 minute train ride, but that's what parents do, right?

The night before the big day, I flew through the house like a crazy mama tornado getting everything ready. I swear, I have no idea how such tiny people can require such an inordinate amount of STUFF to go somewhere for ONE NIGHT! It was completely and utterly ridiculous. I swear, I packed at least 25 pairs of underwear (which was a good thing since I'm pretty sure my oldest was playing a secret game where if you poop your pants at every destination, you win).

The morning of, despite an E.N.T.I.R.E box of Cheerios being dumped on the floor and the obligatory "Mommy I pooped in my undies" episode, we eventually made it out of the house still (mostly) on speaking terms.

The "Day Out" event was well worth the long ride. It was fantastic and we all had an amazing time. Though we are the biggest suckers on the face of the earth because, of course, we left there with the $14.95 picture of us in front of Thomas AND a $17.00 train from the gift tent. What can I say? We don't get out much.

After a busy day, we were happy to tuck in at our adorable little cabin. Everyone was tired and we all went to bed fairly early. All was peaceful until my 3 1/2 year old had a chocolate attack at 3:30am that even sleeping in a dark, strange place couldn't deter. I woke with a start to find he had gotten out of bed and gone to the kitchenette area and was digging around in the chocolate we'd brought for s'mores. I was so tired I didn't even tell him no. I just told him to swallow it before he fell back asleep so he didn't choke, tucked him in, and went back to bed. (Still waiting for that Mother of the Year award!)

Of course, the weekend wouldn't be complete without a total and complete take-him-to-the-car meltdown, which occurred at a McDonald's on our way home. The pit stop didn't start off well when a guy old enough to have witnessed the Last Supper yelled at my son for no apparent reason. Then my kid suddenly got possessed by the We're In Public Pscyho Demon and had to be carried out kicking and screaming. Not only that, as it was happening the old guy practically yelled, "Good! The father's taking him out of here!" I wasn't embarrassed about my kid's freakout, because all kids freak out sometimes, and I felt we handled it well by taking him out of the restaurant. I was, however, supremely ticked off at the rude old guy. Like he's never had a bad day. Jeez.

When all was said and done, we had one spilled box of Cheerios, four pairs of poopy underwear, one meltdown, one Thomas train ride, and countless memories to show for it. Twenty years from now, I won't remember the Cheerios, the poopy underwear, the long drive, or the rude old guy; I will remember the look on my son's face when he "met" Thomas the Train, and I will cherish it.