I may have jumped the gun a bit by telling y’all last week that our first night of sleeping in a homemade toddler bed (READ: crib mattress on the floor, exactly like they do on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) had gone fantastically well.
The truth was, our first night DID go well.
And so did the second night.
By the third night, I assured Hubs that we could probably go on ahead and write a parenting book entitled TRANSITIONING FROM THE CRIB TO A FANCY MATTRESS ON THE FLOOR IS ONLY AS DIFFICULT AS YOU MAKE IT: HOW ONE COUPLE PULLED IT OFF WITH A NINETEEN-MONTH-OLD BABY. I wanted it to be a real book, complete with paper pages that you turn and everything, because I’m old fashioned. The entire art of reading a novel on a Kindle is lost on me.
By the END of our third night, I needed to BUY a book called HOW TO COPE WHEN YOUR TODDLER RUNS WILD THROUGH THE HOUSE ALL NIGHT LONG, AND YOUR WINE CELLAR IS EMPTY.
Hubs and I put Thing 2 to bed on Friday night, exactly like we always do.
At 1:15 in the morning, he was up, hollering that he’d just go ahead and play with his tractors, and could someone reach him a bowl for the cereal he’s about to pour? Hubs and I went to battle at 1:15, and we fought the war until 4:30.
I was on the front line of that battle the entire time, and I may have even said, “Fine! Stand at the baby gate in the doorway of your bedroom and scream until the martians here you on Jupiter! Mama is going to bed!”
Somehow I always manage to pull off my very best parenting in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, our Saturday was spent in a brain fog, where I could see my hands moving, but I had no connection to them. I was tempted to just put some Pink Floyd on the iPod and call it a day by 8:30 AM, but there were things to do.
The show must go on.
Because the boy’s buddy, Kellen, turns thirteen this coming week, his parents decided to take their brains out when they were dreaming up a party idea for him. What they ultimately decided upon was hauling eleven kids across the state line, into Bigger Town, so that they could spend the entire day at an indoor water park. That couple is brave beyond any of the rest of us parents! They have raised the bar on HOW TO PULL OFF A GREAT BIRTHDAY PARTY. Kellen’s mama runs a summer camp program every year, so her corporation actually has a school bus, and that is what they loaded up early Saturday morning. There were enough salt and vinegar potato chips and gaming devices on that bus to last a small army through the entire length of a zombie invasion.
(Bless his darling heart.)
While the boy was away, shooting down water slides on inner tubes and floating in the wave pool, Thing 2 also went to a birthday party. His little buddy, Lincoln, turned two. His parents knew that their health insurance wouldn’t cover therapy for an interstate trip with a gang of toddlers to go swimming all day, so they had a little get-together at our local McDonald’s playland.
Here’s Thing 2 and Lincoln, enjoying deep-fat-fried bits of chicken-like products.
I’m just going to go on record and state that these two boys are absolutely adorable, and that they are going to be a thundercloud of noise and energy to be reckoned with when they are together. They’ll be conquering continents and taking names before preschool even starts for them, y’all.
Eventually, the dynamic duo gave up on the BABY SIDE of the playland, because what’s the fun in that? The slide was short, the steps were shorter, and the spinning wheel of fortune on the wall did the same thing, over and over. What they wanted was to find some action on the BIG BOY side of the playland.
And so they went.
Four minutes after they made the climb to their first base camp, I heard the cries of a mother in peril. Thing 2 had yanked the glasses off of her own two-year-old son, and he’d made off with them, through the system of germ-encrusted, plastic tubes.
She hollered at her four-year-old daughter to, “Get the glasses! Don’t let them break!” The little fellow’s sister managed to grab her brother’s glasses out of Thing 2’s hands, so he lunged forward, grabbed a handful of her gorgeous, blonde hair, and pulled it for all he was worth.
We saw it all through the clear-plastic bubbles.
I took my red-with-all-the-embarrassment cheeks halfway up the tube to haul the Hell’s Angels down. I apologized over and over to the mother, and do you know what she told me?
She said, “It’s okay; it really is. I just didn’t want the glasses to get broken. I have four kids of my own, and I know things like this happen. If you’re going to play in the playland, you have to be ready for anything. We’re just fine.”
And then she went on to introduce herself to me and complimented me on the cuteness of Thing 2.
People, there are moments in your life when you are left speechless by the kindness of another. My kid could have been featured in an episode of WHEN TODDLERS ATTACK, and this mama took it all in stride, and told me that Thing 2’s curly hair was adorable, and that she wished one of her four had gotten curls, but no! All four of them got their daddy’s stick-straight, blonde hair.
I’m probably going to add this gal to my Christmas mailing list.
And look! Here’s the cake that my friend Heather (Lincoln’s mama) had made for the party.
I also sang, “Oh, Larry Boy! We need you here! Won’t you lend your super-suction ear?” to myself for the rest of the afternoon.
And then you ask, “Was the cake good?”
Yes. Yes, it was. It was a cucumber disguised as a superhero, and it was life changing with all of its deliciousness. Just ask Lincoln.
At some point after dinner, Kellen’s mama called to say that the bus had returned to Small Town, USA, bearing a batch of kids who had been bathed in chlorine, and who were thoroughly worn out from all the water sliding and gut-busting laughter.
We all met at her house for wine. And cupcakes. And more wine. And a second cupcake, if you were in the mood.
Which I was.
Don’t judge me.
We took Thing 2 with us. The big kids cranked up Lady GaGa on the iPod, and our toddler danced. His. Heart. Out. It was a spontaneous, junior-high dance party, right there in Kellen’s living room, and Thing 2 was the featured attraction.
I thought that SURELY… what with Thing 2 totally NOT sleeping well the night before… and with all the action he saw at the birthday party… and after all the dancing, dancing, dancing… and after he stayed up until 8:00 PM, which is a solid hour BEYOND his normal bedtime, partying like it was 1999 at Kellen’s house, that he would sleep on Saturday night.
He was up from midnight to 2:00 this morning, clutching his tiny, toy tractors to his chest and saying, “Cereal? Cereal?”
And that, people, is why I announced to Hubs at 7:30 this morning, “I am skipping church today, exactly like a rebellious sinner would do.”
I didn’t even shower.
I didn’t even change out of my pajamas.
I was a vision to behold.
And that was our weekend, y’all. It was a lot of fun, but no one slept very well.
Except for the boy, I guess. Swimming all day long at a water park can still wear a thirteen-year-old out, even though he thinks he’s a big teenager now who can survive physical exhaustion. The boy dropped like a rock at 10:30 Saturday night. He didn’t surface until 9:00 this morning, either.
With any luck at all, I’m going to sleep just like that tonight. It all depends on that toddler we own; he holds the future of my night in his chubby little hand.
Happy Sunday, everyone.