|Landyn (10 months), Bri (5 years)|
Landyn usually smiles and flaps her arms excitedly when she sees me walk in, but that day, she just smiled a little. Something wasn't quite right and I sighed, wishing she would take a longer nap or more naps while at daycare. Her teacher, a new one she's had for just over a week or so, showed me what she'd done to make Landyn laugh hysterically earlier in the day. Of course then, with me holding her, and the sun disappearing from the sky, it was no longer funny.
Her teacher said she and Landyn were buddies; that she loved to hold her, and that made me feel good.
I put Landyn's hat on her (an Alabama elephant hat) because it was particularly cold outside and the last thing any of us need is for her to get sick again and end up with another ear infection. We went to the gym (or Omega Zone as the school calls it) where Bri's class usually comes at the end of the day. It was 5:15 and her class still hadn't walked over.
Several teachers said goodbye to Landyn as we walked out to my Accord. I still hadn't taken the time to fix the side mirror that I'd broken off last year by hitting a trash can someone left in the street of our old neighborhood, and I wondered what the other parents and the teachers thought when they saw it. Landyn cried (as she always does) when I placed her into the carseat. I wasn't the infant one we brought her home from the hospital in because she'd exceeded the weight limit for it.
She calmed down after I finished buckling her in and we drove over to the other side of the school where the K4 and K5 classes were. Halfway there, Miss Kanitra, the K4 teacher, stepped out and waved me down. The classes were on their way over to the gym and I was able to stop and let Bri get in the car. It felt like curbside service and I wished they'd offer that every day because by now it was already 5:17.
I put Bri's seatbelt on and kissed her cheek. She smiled a little. I asked her if she wanted to talk about her day or if she just wanted to be quiet for a while, and she chose quiet.
A minute later we were home, and I relished in our new short drive and the fact that Collin's Camry was already parked in his side of the garage. Bri hopped out of the car on her own and went upstairs calling, "Daddy." I told her he was probably downstairs in his Man Room and she shrugged and gave up finding him.
I took Landyn out of her seat and carried her up the stairs. It wasn't easy with her (24 lbs) on one hip, my purse on my shoulder and my lunch bag on my arm. People love chubby babies because they're so cute and squishy, but they're HEAVY.
Upstairs in the kitchen, I draped my purse, lunch bag and coat on the back of one of the dining chairs, and looked around. Bri had already shed her coat and backpack, leaving it on another dining chair. There were newspapers and mail, daily activity sheets from the daycare and Landyn's diaper bag covering the dining table and the kitchen island. I reminded myself AGAIN to get more organized and to teach Bri where to properly put things away.
She asked me if she could play on my phone. I told her to go get hers (one of my old ones that could only work with wifi) and after a small discussion about where it might be, she disappeared down the hallway.
Collin came up from downstairs and we all said hello and hugged and kissed. I didn't want to put Landyn down so soon, but I needed to change out of the dress I was wearing and start on dinner, so I put her in the exersaucer and held my breath, wondering if she would cry for me to pick her up. Usually only Collin can successfully put her in it. But this time she stayed and so I went and changed into my favorite nighttime uniform of too-big black sweatpants, thick, warm socks and one of the extra-large Kentucky sweatshirts Collin's mom gave us.
I passed by Landyn as I made my way to the kitchen and she whined at me so I picked her up. I tried to do a few things to get dinner ready while holding her, but it was hard using only one hand and she was sliding off my hip so I put her on the kitchen floor with a measuring spoon and a strainer to keep her occupied while I threw dinner together.
Bri was on the couch in the next room watching a video about someone opening and playing with a toy. The TV was turned onto basketball, and Collin worked on the dishes that had piled up since Sunday.
Luckily, I'd cooked a whole chicken in the crock pot earlier in the week so I already had shredded chicken waiting on me. I decided on chicken enchiladas, but knew it was too spicy for Bri. After a quick conversation about how she didn't want a quesadilla or banana pancakes, she decided on scrambled eggs and a smoothie.
While the enchiladas cooked, I blended some frozen strawberries and bananas together with some milk and quickly scrambled an egg. Landyn was getting fussy so I picked her up and spoon fed her some smoothie while putting Bri's egg and smoothie at the table for her. She joined Landyn and me at the table and Collin, finished with the dishes, sat on the couch with his smoothie and watched basketball. He muted it while Bri said the dinner prayer.
Bri's straw wasn't working so I gave her mine and got up to get myself a new one. Landyn screamed when the steady bites of smoothie were no longer being offered. I quickly made my way back to the table and tried feeding her again but she kept screaming and pushing the spoon away. Bri finished her egg and asked for two more even though when I cook two, she only eats one. Landyn wouldn't eat anymore and she was rubbing her eyes so I handed her to Collin and went to making Bri two more eggs.
I fixed Landyn a bottle and while Collin fed her on the couch, I ate an enchilada at the table with Bri. It was good and I was grateful dinner was simple and quick because it isn't always. Bri finished her eggs and took her smoothie to the couch to curl up beside Collin and watch her videos some more. Landyn finished her bottle and had fallen asleep. It was 6:15.
The night before, she'd fallen asleep at 6:30 and after holding her for 30 minutes, I'd put her to bed. Well, that was a big mistake. She ended up waking up at midnight. I fed her and then she was wide awake so I ended up giving her a bath at 12:30 a.m. Finally at about 1:30, I just put her in her crib and she did fall asleep until about 5:30 or 6. Luckily, Collin agreed to get up with her since I'd been up in the middle of the night.
So instead of letting Landyn sleep this time, I picked her up and told Bri it was bath time. The three of us got in the jacuzzi bath together because it's big enough and it's easier to keep Landyn from sinking and slipping around if I'm in there, too. Also, the warm water was nice on such a cold night.
Collin ate dinner alone while we bathed. Landyn perked up and played for about 30 minutes, splashing the water and chewing on the hands and feet of one of Bri's Barbie dolls. She started crying in frustration of being held so Collin took her to get her dried and dressed. I washed Bri's hair and got out to enjoy playing with Landyn for a few minutes before bed. She was laughing at everything, delirious, we guessed, and then when her laughs turned to cries, I put her in her crib to fall asleep.
Collin and I watched a spoof video about "Saved by the Bell" while Bri continued playing in the bath. Then it was her turn to come out and get dressed. She asked for a fudge pop that I'd made with yogurt, cocoa and maple syrup so I felt okay about her having it so close to bed. She ended up having two while I cleaned up dinner.
Bri's nightly routine is pray, read a scripture (lately she's been reciting the scripture she's learning for school) and then sing a song. For the last few weeks, she's chosen "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam" while we all swing around holding hands and pick her up off the ground when we sing the word "sunbeam". But this time she chose "Ring Around the Rosie." Only she couldn't remember the name of the song. All she knew was that you fall down at the end. I was completely clueless. It was Collin who asked if she meant the "Ashes, Ashes" song and solved the nightly riddle.
Bri says every night, "Goodnight. I love you. Don't let the bed bugs bite." And then she sings "And don't let the frost bite biiiiiiite" from Frozen. We hug and kiss and then we leave, her string of white LED lights on, her fan blowing and her door cracked open.
Collin retreated downstairs and I retreated into the kitchen to grab the paperwork to work on the taxes. Just after sitting down on the bed in our room, laptop open, Bri came in. "I have to tell you something," she said, which is code for, "I'm stalling going to bed."
So this is what I don't get. She doesn't want to talk in the car ride home, or at dinner, or after dinner. She talks a little at bath time. But it's not until bedtime that she opens up. Because of this and because I wasn't too exhausted like I sometimes am at this point, I humored her. So we chatted for 30 minutes. She told me about who got in trouble in her class, what snacks she had, conversations she had with her teachers, and I loved every tidbit. She told me she cried at music time, but then cheered up, and I didn't even know she knew the phrase, "cheered up." I marveled at how grown up she had become and at all the details of her day that I didn't get to witness.
I watched her as she animatedly recounted her day for me, lots of pauses and "ums" and "likes". I was immensely proud of the vocabulary she'd picked up. I was immensely grateful for all that her teachers were teaching her at school. Finally, when she ran out of things to say, she said, "Mama, Sam's Club is like the biggest store ever. It has all the things. All the things you need."
She looked at me and I tried not to laugh too hard at this declaration she'd made. And then she asked, "Right?"
I laughed and confirmed, "Right," not wanting to tell her the truth that Sam's Club actually doesn't have ALL the things. And she laughed, not knowing what was funny but wanting to be in on the fun anyway. She sat and we looked at each other laughing, and then I told her to get to bed; that I needed to work on taxes.
So she went, and I smiled at the empty space she had occupied, the memory of our conversation keeping me company while I worked.