Today didn’t start out so well. Anthony returned from his morning run and woke me up to tell me that Lizzie and Jacob were already fighting and that Josie was drawing on the furniture with the sidewalk chalk and advised me that my presence was needed to avert further injury or disaster. It was time for me to get up anyway, but it is always hard to have to attempt to be “patient police mom” before I’ve even had my coffee. I decided not to start the day by admonishing Josie for her graffiti, especially since it was relatively harmless (chalk comes off pretty easily) and I really didn’t want to begin today that way with her after the day we had yesterday (more about that in a minute). I advised Lizzie and Jacob to get dressed, to say as little as possible to each other – since every syllable out of their mouths was coated with annoyance and hurled with much ire – and come downstairs to breakfast right quick.
I had already decided that I was going to be much more present today than I had been the last couple because yesterday Josie made sure to let me know that she was needing more attention. After Sally left on Monday, I’d been trying to get a lot of housework done – not the laundry, cleaning, dusting kind; the revising the budget, registering for Little League, compiling the church Newsletter, and putting together the services for this weekend kind – which required that I be at the computer upstairs quite a lot. And so Josie was left to entertain herself. She did fairly well on Tuesday and Wednesday – playing in her room, watching her Signing Time, Dancing with Zoe, and ABC Yoga videos, and working puzzles in the guest room. By Thursday, she was apparently out of ideas and needed some attention; however, like most three year-olds, she isn’t so self-aware that she simply asked for it. Instead, she snuck a pack of cookies out of the pantry at 10 o’clock in the morning, stuck several down her dress, ground at least one into the carpet, and devoured the other three before Lizzie came up to tell me. That afternoon we went to the store to pick up a few things for dinner. I usually allow the kids to get a free cookie from the bakery while we’re there, but yesterday I told Josie she couldn’t have one because she had already had cookies earlier. When we got up to the cashier to check-out, Josie jumped out of the car-cart and scampered off to look at the movies a few feet away (something she and the big kids regularly do when we go to the store). Little did I know that as I was putting the groceries on the belt, she doubled back to the bakery to pick up a cookie. As I’m paying the cashier gets a call that there’s a little boy in a pink striped dress in the back of the store without a parent (Josie has a very short pixie cut right now and I guess looks like a boy – though the pink striped dress is a pretty big hint that she’s a girl!). Needless to say I was embarrassed that the manager had to retrieve my toddler for me – she came proudly marching up with her cookie in one hand and a couple of stick balloons in the other – but I was even more disturbed that Josie had so easily given me the slip. What if she had gone outside!? Instead of getting to “drive” the car-cart back to our van, she got to sit next to Abby in the “baby” seat and headed home to her time-out chair.
I suppose – based on my sister’s and my mom’s reactions – that this is all very cute, but I just kept wondering why she would be so unpredictably unruly all of a sudden. I figured, as is the case with Lizzie and (especially) Jacob when they are suddenly disobedient or unable to make good choices, that she needed more attention – especially one on one play time. So instead of retreating to the computer to read my email, check my blog reader, and peruse the news headlines with my cup of coffee and English muffin, I hunkered down on the sofa with a book and read to everyone while they finished their breakfast. Then once I got Lizzie and Jacob started with school, Josie and I dumped the lego box out in the family room (a loud, fun event in itself) and started creating. As we played, I watched her soak up the good attention like a dry sponge. Then I made a special mid-morning snack for everyone – apples and peanut butter – before putting on Signing Time for her. After naps this afternoon, we all played charades, and Josie was my partner. We were Native Americans rowing a canoe, then two monkeys playing together, and finally I was a gazelle being chased by a Josie-tiger (she was supposed to be a lion, but she kept making the sign for tiger, which also made it pretty easy for Lizzie and Jacob to guess what she was). At the end of it all, she got to catch and eat me.
So of all the things on my “to-do” list for today, I only accomplished a few (writing a short email in the morning and whatever I got done during nap time), but what I did accomplish was to give Josie some special time with her mom and I got to play – so I don’t feel all that bad about the things that didn’t get crossed off the list. Here are a couple of photos from our fun time … much more interesting than a computer screen, that’s for sure.
Photo 115 of 365: Quality Time
Photo 116 of 365: Morning Snack