As yesterday was Thursday, in theory I was at home with Blake. In fact, though, I was actually on a journey, to a place you fellow mothers reading this might have been before...
We had some shelves built into our alcoves in our living room this week, so yesterday while that was going on, Blake and I headed out to pass some time. We first headed to the post office to pick up a package from Granny Karla (a few new outfits for BLT, a few for each gender as Karla is hedging her bets). It was then to the recycling facility nearby to drop off the old shelves that had come down. Blake then chose to fall asleep in the car so I had no choice but to join him, once I was parked safely outside the house, I should add!
Around 1:00 we had some lunch and then it started raining really hard, so I made the call to head over to the Horniman Museum which holds a natural history collection and a nice little aquarium. The name leaves a little to be desired, but on a rainy day it's a very convenient thing to have nearby!
The aquarium is small but perfectly formed, with a few tanks representing various environments - one with frogs and tadpoles, one with "drifters" - jellyfish and the like, a couple with some exotic-looking fish, and two tanks holding crabs and a one-clawed blue lobster. Blake cracked me up by mispronouncing "lobster" as "monster" but we got to see him being fed which was neat. We then went to the music gallery and then finally in to see all the stuffed animals behind glass. All in all, a really nice time.
On the way back to the car, the rain had stopped and there is a nice little playground just next to the museum, so we went down and played on the slides and climbing frames and in the sand pits. There was a family of 4 girls there so Blake sort of copied them a bit of the time and ran around doing his own thing. At about 5:15, it started to get dark with rain clouds and the family headed up the hill to leave. Blake can be hit or miss about whether he chooses to go with the pack or follow the beat of his own drum, and at first I thought I was in luck as he marched up the hill to leave the park as the little girls were doing. Then, just as the skies opened up, he changed his mind and ran about 100 yards back down the hill to the playground. I went after him and told him that we needed to leave, because it was dark and cold and raining, and did he listen? I'll give you one guess. He climbed up on the playground equipment and kept running between the top of the slide to the top of a ladder-like set of rungs, squealing and laughing at how cunningly he was evading my attempts to get him down. I am sure that I actually probably did look like a comedy mother trying to get him down. I tried a bit of bait - that we needed to get home to see Daddy - and that didn't work. I explained again that it was cold, and Mommy was getting wet, and well, that Blake was getting wet too because at this point he wasn't even wearing his coat, and still he just ran around and squealed with glee that evidently he was getting his way.
And it was at that point that I realized where I had been headed all day. I thought about what we had done since we'd woken up. I had taken him out, I had fed him, I had played with him, I had let him run around and get rid of all his pent-up energy. I had not kept him at home bored, while I read magazines or watched tv or did chores. The only thing I'd done possibly that was less than ideal in terms of my attention toward him was to keep one eye on my phone all morning as I waited for news from Anna and Chris.
And so, at about 5:25 I reached the place I'd been heading all day....WITS' END it's called, and that was it. I went up the stairs on the climbing frame and pretty forcefully put Blake horizontally under my arm and as he howled and screamed I carried him up the hill. At some point I wondered if I might be bruising his ribs but I thought that I wasn't holding him that tightly - probably also because I am so big and out of shape that I was actually having trouble keeping him in the crook of my arm. When we got out of the park I asked him if he wanted to walk, and he replied yes, but evidently he and I were temporarily out of sync in terms of how we defined "walking". To him this meant meandering off the sidewalk into where they were tearing up an old sidewalk and recreating it, which meant loads of mud in the now absolutely TORRENTIAL rain. The end result was my pretty much dragging him to the car (fortunately he had at least identified that he was cold and had put his coat on, which made it easier for me to direct him upwards via the use of the hood). We got into the car, him with his nose running and a teary, red face, me with my glasses fogged up and my wool coat soaked and mud from his shoes all over my hands and coat, and I just thought, "AAAARGH". By the time we got home and he had listened to a few songs on his "cdd" (not sure where the extra "d" in "cd" is coming from), he was feeling happier and was ready to get on some dry clothes and play with his Lego's in his room. And I guess I was feeling good that I had been able to return from Wits' End with my sanity relatively intact. Next time I'd love to go just to the museum though...