Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dinner and Sleep

Last night, Grandma and Grandpa decided to take the boys out to dinner. To sweeten the deal, they gave us a gift certificate for a neat little Italian place in Oakland (one of the neighborhoods in Pittsburgh), which happened to be down the block from the comic book store. Win-win situation. It was a beautiful evening, and I was fortunate to have had a lovely dinner with my lovely wife sitting on a covered patio. The food was magnificent.

It was also an odd dinner, in that we barely spoken about the children. I mean, don't get me wrong - we did talk about them. The Boy had an eye doctor appointment earlier in the day (more on that later), and there was some excitement when they found a caterpillar crawling on the pavement. There were a few other status reports, but that was about it. We spoke about jobs, and about teaching, and about our respective quartets, and about my chorus. It was nice. We weren't solving the problems of the world - unfortunately, I outgrew that when pediatric cancer rapidly and suddenly narrowed my focus - but we talked through some things that have been on my mind for a while.

Most of the time, on those rare circumstances that we get to go out (the last one was back in March, which - as hard as it is to believe - is about two months ago), we spend most of the conversation time talking about the children. We've had remarkably few issues since The Boy has gone off treatment: some rage issues, potential PTSD issues with him and Little Bear, and the normal growing-up-stuff that every kid and every family experiences.

(For instance, how can our sweet, sensitive, intelligent Little Bear suddenly turn into a hissing, spitting, kicking little monster? Weird. Toddler/preschooler tempers are strange things.)

It's nice to talk things through like that, because I'm out of the house a lot. I'm gone by 7:20AM every day, and I'm not home until 5:40 or so. Monday nights I have quartet rehearsal and Tuesday nights I have chorus rehearsal. One weekend a month or so, I've been gone for chorus stuff (or quartet stuff), and in another week or so, I'm going to lose every 3rd or 4th Saturday for work 9-3. That's a lot of time out of the house. It's relatively normal, I understand, but I still clearly remember the year or so that The Wife and I were both stay-at-home parents. If we don't talk through things, then I am completely clueless as to what's happening with the kids.

(There's nothing worse hearing from someone else when The Wife and I haven't communicated about something. It doesn't happen often, but every once in a while in a busy cycle, something gets lost in transition. I'll hear from Grandma, "Oh, yeah, such and such was doing this, didn't you hear?" Sigh.)

It's even better when you're already caught up, and you can dispense with the news to discuss the good stuff.

The boys found a caterpillar on the ground yesterday. It was apparently quite exciting! Little Bear absolutely loves bugs and is fascinated by them - last summer, he and I would spend quite a bit of time turning over leaf piles to find rolly-poly bugs and centipedes and stuff. The three boys studied the caterpillar as it crawled quite intensely. The Baby lost interest first, as you'd expect; because he's little and something shiny caught his attention. Little Bear picked up the caterpillar and let it crawl up his arm. The Boy was content watching from a distance - bugs make him a bit squeamish. He's not afraid (except of stink bugs, for no really good reason), but he avoids them when possible.

Two of the last three nights, I've kicked The Boy out of my room around 3 or 4AM because of the incessant kicking. I love the snuggles, hate the fact that his feet and continuously moving. If I'm facing away, I get kicked in the kidneys. If I'm facing his direction, I get kicked in the junk. It's a lose-lose. So, last night, I dumped him back in his bed (probably a step rougher than I should have). He gave me a questioning look, and I said, "Stop kicking me!" He actually stayed in his bed for the entire night! He was the first one downstairs and dressed this morning, which is a real rarity for him.

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