During our cottage weekend, I opened the door to the bathroom to check on Nate, who is pooping on his own, but not doing so fantastic in the wiping his butthole department. What ensued went down like this:
Me: Open door, smile.
Nate: "I don't want you and Daddy t'die."
Me: (Mixed emotions in rapid succession. First, Holy Mother of Cute! Then, oh dear, this isn't over yet?) "Nate," crouching down on not-pleasant-typical-cottage bathroom floor, "We're not going to die anytime soon."
Nate: mid-strain, gives a look that says, "Not so convincing mom!"
Me: "Look, are my mom and dad still alive? Yaya and Dede? They're still alive right?"
Nate: nods yes.
Me: "Are Daddy's mom and dad still alive? Grandma and Pop Pop are still alive right?"
Nate: nods yes again. Gives me a look that says, "I still don't see where this is going."
Me: "So if Daddy and I are bigger than you and our parents are still alive, and you're just little, don't you think your mom and dad are going to live for a long time?"
Nate: pissed. "I'm not little! I'm a big boy!"
Me: Stifling the giggle. "Yes, you are a big boy, you're just not as big as me, that's all I meant."
Nate: "So leave me alone already so I can poop!"
Well, that's the three-year-old's brain in a nutshell folks! One second he's sulking and wanting his parents to never leave this earth. The next he's yelling at me to give him some privacy and independence. Sheesh! (Went back five minutes later and he totally pulled up his pants without wiping. If only that method also explained the stains on his father's underwear.)
The cottage was... well... I can't say relaxing. It was wall-to-wall work. Somehow my husband got to take a 30 minute swim Saturday morning, followed by a one hour canoe ride with my BFF's husband, but the same alone time never passed on to the moms.
* Having to pack for the entire family, unpack for the entire family, then pack it up again two days later.
* Not getting to escape the children and the childrearing duties by going to work. (Think of me what you will.)
* The amount of endless, thankless work and how that frames you into a corner so that you can't actually relax and enjoy anything. As my sister put it, "It's always somebody's something time. Bathtime, bedtime, naptime, eating time..."
* The weather. Ass ass and more ass, with intermittent sunny breaks.
* Taking the canoe out with my best friend, just to spite our husbands for their one-hour canoe trip (we didn't REALLY want to canoe) only to have rain pour down on our heads 4 minutes in. By the time we paddled back and made it back to the cottage, the sun was out again and beaming it's bright Fuck You-ness at us.
* The view. The cottage was on a hill overlooking the lake. Even when it was raining, it was gorgeous.
* Washing dishes/changing diapers/feeding babies with your best friend is way better than having to do it alone.
* The food. We're all foodies, so everything was super yum -- especially the illegal butter my sister smuggled in. (Such is my life now. Illicit dairy products. The 20-year-old me should slap me.)
* Nate. What an awesome, well-behaved little boy. Sure, we had to deal with his multitude of fears. (Post to come.) But to barely hear a peep from your three-year-old on a three-hour car trip is pretty amazing.
*Lucy. Lucy did some pretty good sleeping in a room all to herself. We realized that this might be just what she needs and promptly moved Nate's bed into our room upon our return. (We'll see how this pans out. Nobody's having sex around here anyway.) Overall, she was a jovial, happy baby. Broken collarbone who? Guess who was sitting up in her crib for the first time and then crawling minutes later? My She Hulk.
* Balderdash. Is there really a better board game? And it's worth having to do all that packing just to be able to socialize after the kids go to bed.
* Sparklers. Watching Nate light his first sparkler was pure magic.
I know it won't always be like this. I know that as the kids grow into bigger kids they will only be interested in playing with one another. In summers to come they will be able to dress themselves and feed themselves. I will become less and less of a necessity. And while I cherish the thought, it also makes me sad.
Lucy turned a corner on Saturday. Her crawling is hilarious -- commando style writhing -- her butt's too heavy to lift off the ground. But she's throttling full speed towards toddlerhood now. I complain about all the time and energy they suck out of me, but I want to smell baby head for as long as I can. She's my last baby after all.
Nate, on the other hand, is in heavy Daddy mode these days. Mom's "not cool" and Daddy is a rock star. He still alternates between wanting to do things himself or suddenly deciding he needs me to do it for him. Shoes go on wrong feet and my suggestions are shrugged off with a casual, "Leave me alone Mom." (Which he learned from his father undermining me every time I suggest something. Grrr.) Whatever will I do when they don't need me as much?
That being said, I've been on child duty 24-7 since last Thursday and I am so done. Monday night, at one point, I even had both of them in bed with me. I hate it and at the same time, falling asleep sniffing downy tufts of hair with another hand on my sweet little boy's knee filled my heart with such satisfaction. At least I'm their favourite at 4 in the morning.