I assumed when I wrote about the first day of school this week it was going to be all about me. I was going to write about how The Runaway Mama finally got her freedom (10 and a ½ hours a week to be exact) and was going to accomplish some monumental tasks, like running without a jogging stroller, organizing a yard sale and going to the bathroom with the door closed. As it turns out, my expectations were a little bit high
The week started out okay. On Monday, Dylan was happy when I left him in his classroom, and even though Riley was a little bit teary when I left him, I knew the separation anxiety was a normal rite of passage. And besides, his classroom had a bubble machine. He wouldn’t be sad for long.
For all the hype, my first morning alone was pretty average. I didn’t plan anything special, like a pedicure or trip to the mall. Besides the fact that I’m still in shopaholic rehab (week 4!), I really just wanted to go for a run, take a shower and write for a little while. I did all three things, and I even made a last-minute stop at CVS (not an easy errand with a hungry or tired toddler in tow). What was extraordinary about the very ordinary morning was the quiet. The run, the shower, the house and the car – everything was quiet. It was bliss.
Then came Tuesday. Dylan, to put it mildly, was distraught when I left him at school. His teacher had to peel him off of me, and then through the one-way window outside his classroom, I watched him sob and rock back and forth while happy kids whizzed all around him. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been surprised by his anxiety – he’s my emotional one – but it caught me off guard. I spent the entire day fixated and worried about him (we know who he gets his anxiety from), so there was no bliss to be had that day.
Wednesday. Riley woke up with pinkeye. We only lasted two days at school before going to the doctor! In my house, all you have to do is say pinkeye and someone’s eyes start oozing. After talking to Dylan about making a choice to be happy instead of sad (in our house, we say “1-2-3 Happy!” to snap out of a bad mood), he reluctantly went back for another try at school, and Riley and I went to the pediatrician. In the end, Dylan did much better than the day before, but he had a pee-pee accident in the evening. On top of that, he’s been having tantrums and doing a lot of baby talk, pointing and arm flapping – just like his little brother. Regression is the word of the week.
That evening, Mike and I had one of those husband/wife arguments that starts with a conversation about the weather and ends with avoiding speaking to one another, and after the boys finally went to sleep, I burned my left hand badly when cooking dinner. I drifted off to sleep that night frustrated, wincing from pain, dreaming of Percocet and wondering if the week could possibly get worse. It didn’t, thankfully. Thursday was a pretty good day for everyone. Dylan was happier at school, Riley’s eyes cleared up and my burn stopped throbbing. But still, the mental exhaustion of the week settled in and my patience was thin.
Friday morning. Both boys are at school. I just came back from a long, hot run, and after I post this blog entry, I will shower and run some errands. The house is quiet and I’m feeling a little bit of the bliss I felt on Monday. I’m sure the afternoon will include some tantrums, crying and arm flapping, but my gut says we’re headed on a more positive trajectory.
I hate to be a complete cynic, so I have to tell you there were a few great moments during the week. First, we had new hurricane impact resistant windows installed on half of the house. They are gorgeous! I can’t wait to do the second half…after we win the lottery. Also, Riley mooed at the pediatrician’s office on Wednesday morning. This is a big deal because until a few weeks ago, he said nothing but “mama” and “quack.” Now his vast vocabulary includes “mama,” “dada,” “quack,” “go,” “car” (we think), and “moo.” Harvard here we come! Finally, on Thursday afternoon, Dylan requested apple slices for a snack. I nearly fell over. He wanted fruit instead of orange crackers.
In the midst of all of this parenting madness, I have to remember to be grateful for the little things. Windows, “moo” and fruit. I am 1-2-3 Happy.