I am currently waiting on an appointment for Noah to have a newborn hearing test. It's something that is usually done at the hospital just after the baby is born, but because of our speedy departure, he'll have it done elsewhere. The good news is that I'm not concerned that he can't hear - he clearly demonstrates the startle reflex, generally when his 2-year-old brother comes screaming into the room where Noah is sleeping, or when Mommy has to raise her voice to remind said 2-year-old brother about why it is not a good thing to press his head so firmly to Noah's face.
Yesterday was Thursday, the day when I have Blake and Noah. I realize it's a complete luxury to have some time with Noah to myself, which at the moment kind of relates to "me time" since he is still doing a lot of sleeping. By about 8:30 yesterday morning we were in the park, Noah in his pram and Blake on the swings. Although it was cold, the sun was shining and Blake was making me laugh with various commentaries on things going on around us, and I started to enter into this reverie which I sometimes have about my not going back to work when my maternity leave is up. I always envied the kids growing up who had stay-at-home mothers, and now when I see parents picking up their children from school when it's getting out (around 3:30 pm) I think to myself, I sure would like to do that for my boys. I also realize that this stage in their lives is going to pass by so quickly, and I wonder whether I will regret not taking the time to spend it with them.
Of course this daydream also involves a couple of other things that make this scenario highly unlikely: the fact that when I think of being a stay-at-home mom it somehow isn't me who is playing the role - it's some other woman who can actually cook up homemade meals for 4 people, and who pulls out the arts and crafts when the toddler gets ratty, instead of offering up another episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and in those rare moments of downtime, manages to clean the bathroom, and quickly order some new clothes online so that when she's out and about she looks totally put together instead of what I currently look like these days, which is the total opposite (light t-shirts hide spit up, I've learned that so far). There are also the financial considerations of not going back to work, and that generally halts all possible dialogue about this notion, as well as the fact that I do think I would miss if not my entire job all of the time, then at least parts of it some of the time.
Anyway, after about half an hour in the park, Blake got bored, as he is prone to do these days, so I asked him whether he would like to go to the library or to Sainsbury's.
New Rule #1 - do not ask the 2-year-old what he wants to do, as there is no logic to his choice and he does not know what is best for him!
Blake chose Sainsbury's, so given that the fridge was pretty empty, I thought we could get that done, and perhaps check out the afternoon version of the library's rhyme time session instead of the morning one. I'm going to skip the detailed events at the store and just go straight into Rule #2 - do not attempt to go to the grocery store with both boys. It just isn't fun for anyone.
We made it home and we decided to do some coloring. While Blake colored at the table I thought I could continue a little work on his baby book which is ever-so-close to nearing completion. I showed him a few pictures, which he thought were of Noah, before (accidentally or intentionally, I'm not sure) knocking the book on to the floor and climbing out of his chair and leaving the room. As I picked everything up, all the while wondering where he'd gone, I stumbled upon Rule # 3 - do not let the toddler near the baby unsupervised. Now I knew this one already, so this was my fault, but at any rate, after a minute or so, Blake had left some lovely toothmarks on Noah's forehead, and Blake learned just how loudly I can shout. Looking back at least the only thing good about this incident is that I did not say I was angry at Blake, I just said I was VERY ANGRY. Of course, again, I realized that the person I was angry at was myself for being so irresponsible to bother picking up the book instead of following Blake out of the room. Hello, Lady Guilt, I forgot you were there for a minute. Anyway, to reiterate, Rule #3 is never ever leave the baby alone for a second with the toddler, at least for a few months.
At this point I enforced my new nap routine, which Blake conceded to. When he woke up he woke up on the wrong side of the cot so the afternoon wasn't that much more fun, to be honest. I had hoped sleep might be restorative. We played in his sandpit outside before a disagreement about the outside toys staying outside invoked a 4-alarm tantrum, and then we went to a different park where Blake rode his scooter and had an ice cream and I accidentally called a little boy a "she" on the slide in the playground. Having been mistaken for a boy on various occasions in my youth, I know this is traumatic, so I slunk away from him and his mother because I was so embarrassed at my error. To be fair, the little boy's eyes were very big and his hair was very long and curly, but Rule #4 is to refer to the "little kid" when in doubt. Around 5:30 we headed home where I defrosted some bolognaise sauce and Blake enjoyed spaghetti, one thing I cook which he usually does wolf down. Matt blessedly came home by 6:30, and strangely it was at that point that Blake decided that coloring would be fun, so while Matt and Noah sat in the living room Blake and I colored for about 20 minutes. Lady Guilt, is that you again? Yes, I thought to myself, if I had just been more creative at times during the day, maybe we would have avoided some of the arguments and tantrums. Rule #5 - when the going gets tough, get out the arts and crafts and actually do something with them.
At any rate, it was a long day, and I had long since discarded my notion of being a stay-at-home mother. Of course I am one at least for a little while longer, so in the meantime I'm going to heed my new rules and hope for the best. And while I hope that Noah's hearing test appointment letter comes through soon, if his brother is any indication, just because he can hear, certainly does not mean he will listen.