Tonight, was date night, which is when Mom and Dad go out to dinner, and Tea hangs with the kids through dinner and bedtime. It is my favorite night of the work week. It is Mom and Dad's favorite night of the week. We often cook together, and instead of being interrupted by my end time, can progress more naturally though the evening. I love being able to put them to bed, and in the summer we tend to hang a little longer, a little looser. It's just fun. In theory.
Four and six. Number 2 is in his first year of preschool, the other in full time kindergarten. Needless to say, they are wiped, and often cranky by 4 or 5 PM. I'm being generous, here. Five o clock meltdowns, seemingly out of nowhere, are common and often seemingly rootless. Number 1 would put the average 12 year old girl in the throws of hormonal earthquakes to shame. Sometimes it's just weepy, often it's psychotically bitchy. Again, with no incitement of any note. The other one; well. As you know, he is on the ultimate quest to figure a way around all authority and responsibility. Lets just say he gets real mouthy. And intractable. And a little physical, when he gets desperate. Nothing serious- just a desperate half swing, which he often stops half way, when he realises he's screwing himself irrevocably with THAT move. But still. So much for my idyllic evening with the boys.
Not to mention the interaction of the two. Number 2 one loves to goad his big brother when he sees him on the edge. Number 1 one forgets to step back and let the grownups handle this, and gets physical on #2- now he's in trouble, and howling at the injustice, and the tween girl, for whose care I did not sign a contract, has returned.
So, Mom and Dad, fresh from their showers, descend the staircase and kiss their wailing boys- situated in time out on their respective staircases (Thank God there are 2)- goodnight, and leave, silencing the protests with 'do your time out, and listen to Tea. I swear I've seen them skipping. I don't blame them. I have seen them laughing their asses off at me as they pull out, and I start making dinner amidst the sniffling. That's an average night. They sometimes have to kiss a boy on his bed in PJ's, hoping for the reprieve that will allow him dinner, even if he's missing his half hour of TV. Talks with them inform me that I have a better track record than they on that one- maybe I am getting soft in my old age.
We do have tons of fun on these nights. The extra time is a must- especially now that they're both in school, and I am often relegated to chauffeur and taskmaster duties. Not to mention that these big boys would rather play with each other or the other kids on the playground than with Tea. Sure, they make me Darth Sidious (I hate being Darth Sidious), but then they largely forget I'm there. They check in, yell to me to watch them, get pissed when I call them on misdeeds, but they don't NEED me to play. You know the drill, folks, we've all been there. I'm proud and sad. Be careful what you wish for, little Nanny....
The difference is, I have to go there repeatedly every few years, as a new family grows. But I digress. I have a story from tonight.
The evening had been truly uneventful. Sweetpea got up from quiet time, made his own bed and put away his books and animals without my presence, in a timely manner. Score! We picked up his brother, they snacked while I made lunches, and retired to #1's room to play. I finished up downstairs, ear to the stairwell, and decided to hang back. However, I wanted to really know what was happening when (Oh how I hope for the advent of an or if) I had to intervene. They played so well- as they often do- for the whole afternoon. I sat out of sight around the corner (it's a really big house). Only opened my mouth twice, and they must have thought I was just passing, because the other times they disagreed, they solved it themselves, often with a drop in volume in case I could hear the threats they were lodging at one another:
I'll yell, and Tea will come up
You know Tea will say that you should.....
I'll tell Tea that you said.....(which he hadn't) and you know that's unacceptable.
Tea will just take it away from both of us if I yell.. (true, but still trying to get his way, not to compromise)
Hitler status aside (soo over being upset by that), I was really proud of them for working it out every time without coming to blows. I ignored all but the worst 2 incidences of meanness/ blackmail/ name calling. They do have to learn how to be people, and if invoking me (or the rents) is the biggest threat they can come up with, I figure the grownups are still winning the battle, even if it often seems we're not. They are wonderful boys.
However, I was pretty jealous of the glass of wine a lovely, relaxed, still clean smelling Mommy was sporting when I finally descended the stairs, pant legs soggy up 6" (showers tonight instead of baths), socks in my hands, hair bedraggled (and soggy), with my commute still ahead. It was a good night, and I have my glass, now.