Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Finding Ways to Fill the Hours

So as of the first of this month Travis is working again steadily. Of course it's a huge blessing considering the 5 month lay-off with sporadic weeks of work that weren't really sustaining us. The only problem is that none of the local or non-traveling jobs panned out, so he's back on the road. And as has become the norm with this company, plans seem to change mid-flight. He left for a 4 day job and recertification in Utah and 3 weeks later, still hasn't made it home and is actually in Eastern Wyoming at the moment. It's been frustrating to say the least, but I won't complain because the work is appreciated.

As for the kids & myself, we're doing our best to fill the hours. This week is especially boring because Trav's parents are out of town and mine are scurrying to get ready for their 18 month assignment in Louisiana, so we really feel like we're on our own. Gideon reminds me at least 14 times a day that he's "Daddy's Boy" not Mommy's boy and when Parker's frustrated with me she breaks into her choruses of "Da da da da da da!" After having him home for so long it's been tough on all of us readjusting to being without him. It would be easier if we were having a real summer, but we haven't yet been able to string more than 2 nice days together in a row. We've had tons of rain and even more wind. Still, when those nice days happen, it feels almost magical. Today was close to perfect (except for the high winds, but that almost seems to be normal lately. The temps rise and so do the winds!)

Anyway we took advantage of temperatures in the 70's and met some friends for a morning at the zoo (before it got too windy. 40mph gusts today guys! SOOOOOO sick of wind!)

That's Gideon with Maddy & Emily. They're all just a few months apart in age and so are the younger siblings. Maddy's baby sister Arya is 11 months old, Parker almost 9 months & Emily's brother Camden is almost 8 months. So it was fun getting them all together and giving the mommies a chance to talk.

Gideon is pretty much always the fearless leader. But Emily is usually quick to follow.

That's a really fat bunny the zookeeper is holding for the kids to pet. Thanks to Aunt Jesse and her pet bunny Lola, Gideon is a pro with bunnies.

Brushing the goats.

Gideon was going to pose on the big chicken, but informed me it was too hot!

He did however climb aboard the lion without hesitation.

This is actually one of the kids' favorite features at this zoo. The lion head water fountain. We hit it about 4 times today I think.

Gideon told me as we were getting ready this morning that he was scared of the lions, but once we got there and he saw how far away the lion was in it's cage, he didn't seem to be very afraid at all.

I thought the baby zebra was very cute personally.

Emily is Gideon's very best friend. I don't think I ever knew what the term "they get along like gangbusters" meant until I saw he and Emily together. Unlike with some other kids I never have to break up squabbles between them. They always seem to work it out on their own and they seriously think exactly alike most of the time. It works out well for everyone since Emily's mom, Brooke, has become one of my very dearest friends over the last year. We are so very grateful to have them in our lives!

Don't get me wrong, he likes Maddy too, but there's just a special connection that he and Emily seem to have. And I enjoyed getting to spend time with Maddy's mom, Annie today. I'd never actually been around her much before this morning, so it was fun to get to know her better.

And just in case you're wondering, yes our princess P was there too. She spent most of the morning riding around in the stroller just enjoying the view. Once we stopped at the picnic area for lunch I let her get out and crawl around a little.

Naturally she was off the blanket and eating the grass almost instantly. That's just what she does.

She FINALLY gave in and fell asleep just as we were leaving the zoo. It would have been perfect timing except that we weren't headed straight home, we had some errands to run, so she didn't get nearly as much of a nap as she needed. Oh well, maybe she'll sleep well tonight.

I ruined Gideon's day several times today. The first was when we left the zoo. He definitely wanted to stay longer, but it's a small zoo and we'd already seen everything (some of it twice.) Then I made the mistake of putting his cheetos in a ziploc baggie instead of just bringing the entire big bag of cheetos for our picnic. And then I drug him into Sam's Club and almost left without getting him a hot dog. (This is something he knows from his many trips to Sam's with Trav's parents. They apparently always get hot dogs once they've made their purchases and so now for him it's an essential part of the Sam's Club shopping experience.)

On this particular point I was happy to capitulate. We weren't in a rush to get home and hot dogs at Sam's are cheap. Not only did he get a hot dog & root beer for $1.50, we also got an ice cream which cost us a whopping .97

That's when I committed the cardinal sin. As he was getting full and spending more time playing and chatting than eating, I was getting antsy to get out of Sam's and get on with our day. I told him repeatedly it was time to go and asked him if he was going to finish his food or if I should throw it away. Eventually he said he'd carry his drink to the car so I picked up what was left of his hot dog and ice cream & pitched them. OH MY GOSH! The tears shed over the trashed ice cream were devastating. Literally you'd have thought I completely broke his heart. All the way out of the store I was getting "those" kind of "looks" from people. I'm not used to this because Gideon doesn't often have meltdowns or tantrums. I can only think of one or two his whole life actually.

Fortunately it didn't last long because once we got to the car and were on our way he fell asleep in less than 3 minutes. He ended up taking a 3 1/2 hour nap today and probably wouldn't have woken up if I hadn't gone in his room to put away some laundry. The downside is that he slept so long he didn't want to go to bed until after 10 tonight.

We're at that stage of his life where "To Nap or Not to Nap" is the major question each day. On days he doesn't get a nap, he's in bed at 8pm easy. No questions, no fights. He's ready. (And usually asleep within minutes.) He sleeps great through the night and wakes up happy. But he's a complete bear to deal with through the late afternoon and early evening and some days it's a fight to keep him awake until a decent bedtime hour. On the other hand, when he does get a nap, he's much more pleasant in the afternoon and evening, but bedtime becomes a major battle. He's up and down and up and down and I feel like an evil Ogre because I turn into this ranting and raving Beast who tries everything from threats to bribes to get him to go to bed. And many times I give up and just let him stay up until he crashes because I run out of energy. And even when he finally does go to sleep, he doesn't seem to sleep as well through the night and usually ends up in our room at some point, where the question becomes, let him stay here with me, or cart him back to his room? To be honest, it ends up being about a 50/50 split on that one. Some nights I'm just too tired. So yeah the joys of having a 3 year old when you're the single parent in the house trying to keep everything together.

As for other news, pretty Parker has learned to pull herself up and she's mastered going up stairs. So I've had to break out the baby gate and start closing the doors to keep her from tumbling back to the bottom. (I've tried to show her how to go back down, but she's just not getting it yet.)

Still I suppose if the conundrum of naps for a 3 year old and having to climb over baby gates are my life's biggest concerns right now, then I don't have anything to complain about. In the meantime, we'll keep finding ways to fill the hours until daddy comes home.


Angela said...

Yeah for work, boo for no husband! I remember that stage with Tyler that G is going through. It was ROUGH. 4pm was the witching hour! But enjoy your night time ease on those days and a few times a week have him do a nap but just follow your gut.

Hillary and Jake said...

so I think I have a way to fix the nap bedtime conundrum. I think it's brilliant, my husband thinks it's a little too "secret evil genius". I think it's the best plan ever!Have your child hypnotized and set to a key word that you never use, like Torpor for example, This will be the key word to put your child to sleep. Because it is hypnotism and sub conscience signals it will work at any time of day weather it is bed time, nap time, or if he is just being annoying. Then with one word you can always assure yourself some peace and quiet. Try to steer away from words they will actually use as a toddler like, peanut butter. I hope my idea helps.

Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

Hillary.... you crack meup!

Jessica said...

The zoo looks fun! Your kids are so cute!

We had a MAJOR melt down with Davy one time and it was at my Grandmother's funeral, so I would welcome a tantrum at a super-store full of strangers any day! LOL!

Oh, nap time! We have the same love-hate relationship. Naps about 1 or 2 o'clock are always welcome but NO napping after 4. My hardest part of the day is about 5 o'clock until 8 o'clock. Making dinner, cleaning up the house, eating dinner, cleaning up dinner, getting kids in bed, WHEW! It's a whirlwind! But when the kids are in bed this mommy gets to flip on the TV, enjoy some sugar free pudding and life is good!

@ Hillary, you seriously cracked me up!!

Ron and Jessica said...

I seriously don't know how you and my sister-in-law manage the kids with dad on the road. My sis basically only sees my brother on Sundays and there's always church and family parties going on. I think I'd go crazy on a daily basis!!!