Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy "I Love You" Day

I woke up at 7:40 this morning cuddled up with my 2 littlest boys. We all surprisingly fell asleep after our original 6:00 wake up.  This was the perfect start to "I Love You" Day, except that we needed to be out the door in about 30 minutes and I still had to pack lunch, wrap Valentine's gifts for Nicholas' teachers and find clean clothes for everyone.  I said Happy Valentine's Day to Nicholas and tried to explain it was a special day to say "I Love You."  I got no response and decided we could talk about this later.  I threw on some sweats and cursed my new short do because I couldn't stick it in a quick ponytail...oh well.  Then I put Tyler in the co-sleeper on the side of the bed and flipped on the TV for Nicholas while I went to the laundry room to find some red clothes for the boys.

When I came back up, I saw Nicholas wedged in the co-sleeper beside his brother.  He had his arm across Tyler and they were staring at each other with what can only be described as pure love.  When Nicholas caught me watching them, he asked, "This okay, Mommy?"  Normally it wasn't.  We tried to keep the 30 pound three-year old out of there, not sure if the tiny crib would buckle under his weight.  But I couldn't tell him to stop loving his brother, especially on Valentine's Day, so I said,"Yes," and raced back downstairs for the camera.  As I came back into the room, I heard Nicholas whispering, "Do you love me Tyler?"  I absolutely melted and then tried to capture the moment.  This is what Valentine's Day was all about, right?  A special day to show others you love them.

We finished getting ready and were out the door only ten minutes late, but we still had to stop at Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.  As I pulled up to the window, I was greeted with a friendly, "Happy Valentine's Day," from the worker inside.  This time it clicked with Nicholas and he quickly repeated it again and again and again.  On the way to school, I again tried to explain the idea of it being a special day to show people you love them.  I explained that we were bringing special presents for his teachers because we loved them.  To which Nicholas responded, "Where's my present?"  Oh no, I thought, he had the gimmies (remember The Berenstain Bears Get the Gimmes?) and an hour ago he didn't even know what Valentine's was.  I told him that he would get his special "I Love You" present after-school (after I went to the store to buy it).

When we got inside school, I asked Nicholas if he wanted to deliver the gifts.  He responded with an enthusiastic, "Yes!" and raced toward his classroom without stopping to put his jacket or tiger hat in his locker.  He struggled to open the door with the gifts in his hands, but Mr. Independent finally succeeded and burst into the room with hugs for both teachers.  I stayed back and let him have his moment.  His gimme attitude was gone and he seemed truly happy to be making others happy.

Then I was off to find the perfect little gifts for my littlest Valentines...nothing like waiting til the last minute.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Batteries Not Included

When we arrived at the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum in Poughkeepsie, Nicholas ran for the large train.  He took his place in the engine and directed me to sit in the back car with Tyler.   He enthusiastically pushed the lever back and forth proclaiming we were on the Polar Express with choo-choo sound effects.  I was so excited to see him making connections.  Then he got off the train and ran to the front with a puzzled look on his face.  He looked at the ground, then back at the train, then back at the ground.

"Mommy, it's not working."

"Nicholas, we need to use our imagination. This train doesn't really move."

"Mommy.  No batteries. Not working."

Nicholas returned to his spot in the engine with slumped shoulders.  I again tried to convince him that we needed to use our imaginations to make it move, but he was done.  I was shocked and started cursing all of the battery-operated toys that had robbed Nicholas of his imagination.  Weren't almost three-year olds supposed to be happy driving huge pretend trains that didn't actually move?

With his train driving hopes dashed, he ran into the next room.  He bounced back and forth between the bakery and fire truck, depending on where the other kids were not.  On this day, he preferred to be more independent and wasn't interested in riding shotgun.  Instead, he happily offered me pretend cupcakes and even showed me how to eat after I didn't chew mine enough.  He watched the fire truck intently, especially when the sirens came on.

Then he saw a little girl in the firefighter outfit and decided he wanted to wear one, too.  I helped him into the jacket and boots, while he perched the bright red hat atop his head.  Lucky for Nicholas, at this point, the truck was empty and he climbed aboard.  He was happy to be the one driving AND pressing the buttons.  A man's voice came over the loud speaker saying there was a cat stuck in a tree.  Nicholas continued to drive.

Suddenly he sprang out of the truck and ran to the center of the museum.  I couldn't figure out what he was doing and was worried that he might get in trouble for wearing the costume outside of the exhibit (silly, I know).  Then he explained that he was looking for the cat in the tree.  I should have known.  That's what the dispatcher had told him to do.  Once I heard that, I didn't care who saw him wandering around the museum in the firefighter outfit.  I would proudly proclaim that he was looking for the cat in the tree.  He was using his imagination.  Hooray!!!!

Then he suprised me again.  He ran into the construction area, grabbed a pipe and ran back into the center.  Apparently he had found the cat and this was a hose because he began making the sshhhhhh sound that pretend water makes when it is coming out of a hose.  This hose wasn't big enough though and he had to go back twice to make it just right (and almost too heavy).  I chose to ignore the fact that spraying water out of a big hose was not the most humane way to get a cat out of a tree and I embraced the fact that Firefighter Nicholas saved the day (with a fully-functioning imagination). 

Moms worry about a lot of things.  Today I worried Nicholas was losing his imagination and even tried to take personal responsibility for this tragedy.  And in less than 30 minutes, he proved me wrong.  And 2 minutes after that, a little bully pushed him down and being a firefighting hero didn't matter any more.  He just needed his mommy and I was there.  You never know what each day will bring, but you certainly know that each one will be an adventure.