Like magic the fog has suddenly cleared. My baby is old enough to do more than smile, eat, and poop. He can move. He can stack rings on a peg, clap his hands, wave goodbye, sign “more”, and when it is time to eat he heads for the table without a word from me. My daughter can entertain herself for small periods of time. She has learned how to pretend. She has a favorite stuffed animal that must sit at the table during meals and is sorely missed whenever we leave the house. She has become a good big sister.
Just like that.
We find ourselves only a year ahead of last summer but advanced in so many ways. WE CAN LEAVE THE HOUSE! Just this morning I took the kids to buy spring flowers and incredibly no one needed a new diaper, no one had a fit, and we made it home before anyone was “starving”. This may have been a first.
When we came home my kids played. Together. Not independently in the same room, not just with the same toys, but they made up games and enjoyed them together. They made each other laugh while I made calzone dough. For a dinner that I had figured out before 4PM! Then, for the wild turkey, they both napped for the same 2 hour period of time.
I know. It’s almost too much to believe.
This magical day has come on the heels of our excellent cherry blossom trip to DC and we are looking at the upcoming summer in a whole new way. We have even planned a trip every month for the next 4 months.
I can recall with terrible clarity the only trip we managed to go on last summer. There are no photos of that adventure which is really for the best. It was supposed to be an overnight Father’s Day campout. We drove a long way (2 hours), it was hot and muggy, the baby couldn’t fall asleep, the dog was hellbent on finding each patch of poison ivy, the 2 year old followed suit, a dunking in the pool at the campground traumatized our daughter so much that she still hates pools and thus detests her Saturday swim lessons. As I walked the screaming baby around the campground (after about 7 hours of trying to enjoy ourselves) I chanced to look back at the rest of my family. The dog, the husband, and the toddler were all shut in the screenhouse we’d brought while the mosquitoes did laps around the outside of it. My husband was frantically frying sausages (I recall large flames) on our Coleman two-burner while the dog sniffed at them intently and the toddler lifted up the side of the screenhouse and slithered out into the brush which I knew even from that distance must be more poison ivy. I looked at the baby, I looked at my poor husband (on Father’s Day), and I took inventory. We buckled the kids in the van and turned the fans on. I fed the toddler dinner while she was confined in her carseat and could not escape me. My husband loaded everything (screenhouse included) into the van in less than 20 minutes. We began the 2 hour drive home. The kids slept while we adults ate sausage with our fingers, and I read a few chapters out of a Sherlock Holmes book to my husband to keep him awake as he drove. We transferred the children to their beds and washed greasy sausage dishes in our sink. We moved all the food from the cooler back into our fridge. We stripped down to our underwear before finally breaking down and turning the AC on around midnight. We lay on our backs on the living room carpet while waiting for it to cool off. We laughed til we clutched our sides. We said, “Oh my God.” We wiped sweat off our brows. We said, “Maybe next year.”
That was then. This is now. Now is looking really, really good.