Monday, February 27, 2006

Rainy Days and Mondays . . .

Mondays, Isaac does not have school. This means that I save all errands/ potential activities/what have you for Monday and Wednesday mornings (his other non-school day). I absolutely must ensure that we have someplace to go those mornings; staying in the house is only an option if I suddenly feel a need to watch it burn down. We go to Starbucks to get Mommy coffee (usually the drive-thru, unless I'm really desperate for an activity); we go to the grocery store, the drug-store, or Good-will; we meet up with other bloggers; we attack the local playgrounds; or we go to the beach. If I can stay out of the house until lunchtime, we will all usually survive: nap-time is between 1pm and 2pm, and then I'll have an hour or so to relax (and by relax I mean make dinner). So--there is my goal: Mondays and Wednesdays, stay out of the house. Seems doable, no?

Unless it rains.

Fortunately, we live in Southern California, where it doesn't rain very often. When it does, I find myself frantic with worry. Playgrounds, beach-time, even the last resort of playing in the backyard are all out. We could still go to the grocery store--but ugh!, walking to the car in the rain? Yes, it's worth it, but still not that much fun. Starbucks is a go, but the drive-thru only takes twenty minutes on a slow day, which leaves at least 4 long hours to fill until noon-time. Even if I brave the nightmare of un-attaching each kid from the carseat, dragging them into the store, constantly watching them both and steering them away from other patrons and/or tempting candy and cookies on display, then hauling Vivian and my coffee while dragging Isaac by the hand back out to the car, to re-attach them both again to the carseats, all while getting rained on--even that only adds another 20 minutes or so to the trip.

Today, as you know (I hope), is Monday. In Los Angeles, the day dawned grey and dreary. Not grey and foggy, which is common and not an indication of rain, but grey and dreary. "Frinkly", Isaac said, which I later understood to mean "Sprinkling". By 10am it was pouring. Before then, I managed to run a quick errand to a friend's house to pick up my forgotten purse (don't ask), hit the Starbucks drive-thru, and go to the grocery store. We got home just as the rain started, and when I looked at the time, I sighed.

What the hell was I going to do with these guys for two hours?? I could feel that frustration feeling starting in my stomach, and moving quickly to my head. I looked around quickly for something to entertain them.

"Play-do, Mommy! Play-do!" exclaimed Vivian helpfully. Or not, since our house rule is that Play-doh is an outside game.

"Finger painting Nemo!" shouted Isaac. I paused for a minute. I had given Isaac a Nemo painting set for his birthday which I intended for him to use outside. Desperate times call for desperate measures, however, so I scrounged up some newspaper, got the paints out, and gave each kid a brush.

This kept them occupied for 30 minutes. REALLY. I was astounded, especially since they didn't even paint on the walls! Or the floors! (This is not the washable kind of paint; hence, my desire to use it outside).

I was so thrilled with this performance that when they got bored I offered up the holy grail of television. (Not that I ban TV, but I like to limit it to one hour per day, and since Isaac wakes up at the ass-crack of dawn, he's usually got his hour in by 7am). I turned on Bob the Builder and Isaac watched intently. Vivian, that dear sweet child, played by herself in the playroom happily.

And THEN, when Bob the Builder was over, Isaac joined her. They played together, with minimal fighting, until 12:15.

It seems like such a small thing: so what, her kids were good for one morning, big deal. But really, it is such a rarity for Isaac to entertain himself for that long, and for the two of them to play together so well--no screaming, no whining, no finding the meat cleaver in the kitchen and playing "Let's see who cuts off a finger first" with it. Honestly, I'm sitting here a few hours later, still amazed.

The other day at school, Isaac's teacher said to me: "He's really mellowing out, isn't he?" I agreed, because I have noticed this, but today was the first time it really made a difference in my day. Today it was almost as if he and I were at the same energy level, instead of he whirling around like the Tasmanian devil and me plodding along beside, shouting "Wait! Don't touch that! Slow down!"

What a great day.

Tomorrow, rain is predicted again. But I am no fool: thank god it's a school day.

P.S. Isaac pooped in the potty today! "Mommy, I want to poop in the potty and get a lollipop!" he said--and he did. Another miracle.


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