Our Play Group

Do y’all even know how we got our day started around here?

Well.  I’m here to enlighten you, as a free, public service.

Thing 2 got up at 4:45 this morning.

(Now, listen.  I know that this is EXTREMELY EARLY, and that I have often complained about being awake before the roosters and the donut makers even are, but I had to put it into perspective.  Jesus and I had been talking about HOW NICE IT WOULD BE IF THING 2 WOKE UP AT 6:00 IN THE MORNINGS.  And?  Do you know what?  Jesus said YES.  Two weeks ago, for four days in a row, Thing 2 got up at 6:00, 6:00, 6:50 (!!!) and 6:00.  I told Jesus thank you, times one million, and I was convinced that this would become the new normal.  And then… Thing 2 went back to not sleeping at night and waking up to party at 2 AM for three or four hours.  So last night, I told Jesus, “Listen.  I can see clearly now that I had my perspectives in total disarray.  I will no longer complain about 5:00 in the morning, if the toddler just sleeps all night.)

(I know that Jesus is quite proud of my negotiating skills with Him.)

(So Thing 2 has slept all night for a couple of nights now, but he’s back to popping up at 5:00 in the mornings.  This morning, when he woke me up at 4:45, I simply got out of bed and gave thanks that I hadn’t been up between the hours of 2 and 5, without an ounce of sleep then.)

Anyway.

We’re still having winter here, because this is the winter that will not die.  Hubs was outside using the snow blower on our bobsled run AGAIN, while I was packing a cold lunch for the boy, because the boy REFUSES to eat the hot lunches from the school’s cafeteria.  While I was reheating leftover Hamburger Helper from our dinner last night (Don’t judge us; my boys LOVE Hamburger Helper and it costs Very Little Dollars To Make) to put into the thermos, Thing 2 announced, “Bath!”

I told him, “Yes.  You NEED a bath, because you didn’t get one last night, and you have hardened Hamburger Helper smeared in your hair still.  I will give you a bath after I pack Bubbie’s lunch.”

Thing 2 disappeared.  I thought he was in his room, playing with his trucks, because I’m delusional.

When I went to find him, he was in our bathtub, in his pajamas, WITH THE WATER RUNNING, driving his toy trucks in and out of the water pouring out of the faucet.  He.  Was.  Soaked.  And do you know what wet jammies do?  They sort of suction themselves onto a thirty-pound body, so that they are almost impossible to peel off.

And THAT, people, is how we got our day started.

I’m sure that your lives are richer because you know all of this now.

Anyway.

(And I do know that ANYWAY isn’t an acceptable transition in high school English classes, but I finished those years ago, and now I just use poor writing skills whenever I like.)

When Thing 2 and I are not hanging out at our house, picking up his messes, sweeping up spilled Cheerios or taking baths in our jammies without parental supervision, we sometimes go to a little play group.  My friend Jill, who may be the most tender mother I know, has decided to put together a little group of mamas and toddlers every week, on Friday mornings.

And Jill always has hot coffee, for people who have been up for four hours by the time play group rolls around.

(For the record, Jill and her boys HAVE NOT been up for four hours when we all arrive, because Jesus blessed Jill with SLEEPERS.  It’s because Jill’s heart is more golden than mine is, and because Jesus thinks it’s funny to see the gray hairs pop up on my head.)

This little play group has been an absolute blessing to us, because listen:  I’m not a spring chicken any more.  Most mothers my age have… well… 7th graders.  And 7th graders don’t really  need a play group, where their mamas hang out sipping coffee and talking about the brand of diapers that leaks the least.  Hubs and I were worried that we wouldn’t even KNOW folks with toddlers any more, but guess what?

Jesus provided.

Our little group is just dadgum fun.  All of the kiddos play beautifully together… except for one… who sometimes uses his bold personality to yank toy tractors away from unsuspecting little farmers.  Thing 2 is WORKING ON his manners.

While the kids are busy throwing balls and staging fishing derbies and knocking over towers made out of blocks and driving the orange and yellow car, the mamas get together, and we pat one another on the backs and say, “There, there.  Potty training will eventually happen,” and “There, there.  When he’s a teenager, you won’t be able to get him out of bed in the mornings, so cherish 5 AM while you can.”

Anyway.

Of course I’ve taken pictures over the last few weeks of play group, because it’s what I do.

Last week, Thing 2 and I rode with Sister, and the kiddos were powerfully excited to go!

IMG_1939 IMG_1940And just look at all these adorable little munchkins!

There’s Thing 2:

IMG_1854And Cousin H:

IMG_2027And here are all of our good friends’ toddlers, too…

IMG_1970 IMG_2073 IMG_1963 IMG_1955 IMG_1884 IMG_1888And then we pretty much just turn the toddlers loose, and let them play.

IMG_1851 IMG_1852 IMG_1859 IMG_1860 IMG_1862 IMG_1870 IMG_1864 IMG_1863 IMG_1846 IMG_1891 IMG_1892 IMG_1899 IMG_1898 IMG_1897 IMG_1896 IMG_1942 IMG_1943 IMG_1958 IMG_1956 IMG_1953 IMG_1948 IMG_1944 IMG_1945 IMG_1947 IMG_1964 IMG_1967 IMG_1951 IMG_1965 IMG_1966 IMG_1961 IMG_1974 IMG_1972 IMG_1975 IMG_1982 IMG_1981 IMG_1986 IMG_1987 IMG_1989 IMG_1983 IMG_1990 IMG_2013 IMG_2012 IMG_2005 IMG_2007 IMG_2010 IMG_1992 IMG_1999 IMG_2002 IMG_2017 IMG_2022 IMG_2023 IMG_2019 IMG_2025 IMG_2284 IMG_2283 IMG_2289 IMG_2300 IMG_2297And this snapshot MIGHT LOOK LIKE a death / choke hold, but it’s really a hug, caught on camera.

Thing 2 hugged my friend, Merredith’s little boy.  They’ll both hate this picture when we put it in their high school graduation slide shows!

IMG_1988 IMG_2285 IMG_1887Because we all add just a little bit of CRAZY to our coffees, right along with the cream and sugar and the little extra cream (Because how can you drink coffee without it being more of a coffee-flavored milk than anything else?), we like to attempt GROUP SHOTS.

The group shot that involves a pack of kiddos is my favorite thing, but trying to organize a gaggle of toddlers for such a photo op is… well… sort of like catching eight wild squirrels in the forest and asking them to PLEASE!  ALL OF YOU SIT NICELY ON THIS FALLEN TREE AND SMILE FOR THE CAMERA!

This is what usually happens, one million and nine times… Mamas are everywhere, trying to get babies to JUST SIT STILL, ALREADY!  And then there are always the rogues who just get up and walk away…

IMG_2034 IMG_2042IMG_1881But then sometimes Jill… Because she has the Favor of the Lord upon her... can catch JUST ONE perfect shot with her camera.  Everyone is present and accounted for, thanks to Jill’s quick camera-snapping abilities.

1795128_615175491871324_1920120873_oAnd then?  Do you know what almost always happens on the way home from play group?

Well… THIS:

IMG_2076 IMG_2074 IMG_2307 IMG_1921

And that, people, is our little weekly play group.

It’s the place where grown girls will pat you on the shoulder, give you a hug, and say, “There, there.  We’ve had toddlers in the tub in their pajamas before, too.  I know your struggles.”

And then someone else will say, “Have a second cup of coffee, that’s 85% cream.”

Having a membership in this play group is free therapy.

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