Today, The Wife and I both went to work. The exciting bit was that we both worked in the same building, co-teaching the same subject. That's a really cool thing, and the second time we've been able to do that. We work fairly well together, considering that our teaching styles are similar.
There is always an interesting tradeoff when someone else, even Grandma, watches the boys. The Wife and I are really in tune with how we like to live our lives, and we work very hard to plan the days so that the boys are put in the best position to do what we need them to do. We've gotten quite good at scheduling the day so that we have naps, meals, snacks, playtime, television, timed to allow us to accomplish all that we need to accomplish. That's not to say that the boys don't throw us curveballs on a regular basis; we've gotten as good as any parents at guiding them along the path we want to go.
When someone else takes them, they have a different plan of attack for the day. The boys respond to their physical and emotional cues differently. And, the timing of everything is different. Not better, not worse; just different. It takes a little while for us to get back into the groove of things when we are both out of the house for a day. Tonight was a perfect example of that.
Aunt J was with them most of the day, because Grandma had a full day of work. The boys love Aunt J; she does an amazing job with them, and they really consider her to be as much a part of the family as Grandma and Grandpa, Grandpa, or their aunts. There were many days that I would have sworn that Little Bear loved her more than me!!! Because they love her and her style, they are generally more active for her than they are for Grandma, who encourages the boys to do more passive pursuits: reading, spelling, letters and numbers, watching Sesame Street and Super Why and Barney, that sort of thing. Because Aunt J was with them today, they didn't nap and didn't rest much.
We didn't quite catch how exhausted they were when we got home from school. The original plan for the night was for The Wife to take The Boy to temple services because they had a new member blessing and picnic. Shorter service (always good) would be followed by food, with some of The Boy's school friends thrown in for good measure. I would take Little Bear, go get a bite to eat at the local Eat N Park, and then spend a gift card at Barnes and Noble. We want to get him Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin!
It wasn't happening. The Boy flipped out when he got to temple - I mean, a major league freakout. The Wife, sensing discretion was the better part of valor, threw him back in the car to catch up with us. It took the better part of 45 minutes after the car ride to calm him down, but we wound up having a nice evening shopping at Barnes and Noble and reading the different books that were there.
(Side note: they didn't have Zin Zin, and the copy of the Lorax book was $15. Argh. I don't like to spend that much on a book for myself. I'll just fork out $4 and get the iPad version, which will read to him with or without me, and it has words and pictures that he can manipulate.)
Had one of us been home and able to juggle the boys for the day, I can not say that things would have turn out better. It would have been different, but that kind of goes without saying. I think that would have been more in tune with the boys and not tried to go to temple at all, or I would have taken the boys to the park, let The Wife go to services, and met up with her for the picnic.
Hindsight being 20/20, that would have been smarter. Lest you accuse me of intelligence or of criticizing Aunt J or Grandma (I'm not), if I was such a good parent and so in tune with my children, I would have realized that the big black bags under his eyes indicated that he might be too tired to deal with religious services.
But, we were more concerned with getting out of the door in a timely fashion and chose to ignore any and all warning signs when they were written in bright read neon lights. That'll learn us.
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