Five days a week. That's how often my little girl is in school these days. She had her first day last week. We did the obligatory first-day snapshot and off she went. And there I was. Left with just one.
I've had two for almost two years now. It was hard to comprehend a world when my arms weren't jumping apart in two different directions, story time didn't turn into a wrestling match because one lap just simply was not going to cut it, and my ears weren't ringing from the sheer volume of two children talking, crying, yelling, whining, laughing.
But there I was. With one. I wasn't sure what to do with him because I was so used to the frantic pace of the two of them.
So we went for a walk. Small puddles lined the path that is a short-cut to one of our many neighborhood parks (we don't have jack-shit for a yard, but for a consolation prize, we got parks, parks, and more parks). J ran ahead of me and stomped his way through the first puddle, sending tiny flecks of water flying.
He squealed in delight and proceeded to keep stomping. I watched him for a moment and then, out of habit, turned to look for her. Wait. She's not here. It's just us. And in that moment, I missed my first baby.
I turned to look at J's smiling, gleeful face and then, also out of the habit of rushing around with two, went to move him along to our final destination. When you have more than one child, sometimes you feel like your job is to "herd" them, move them along to the park, grocery store, inside the house, into the car, to the pool, wherever. But, then something curious happened. I stopped. What was the rush? We had all morning. We didn't have anyone else's schedule, needs, wants, desires to attend to.
"Go ahead honey. Stomp, stomp, stomp!" I said as I started to move my legs up and down. J laughed and jumped vigorously into another puddle, dampening the bottoms of his jeans.
His needs so often come second not only because she's bigger and louder, but also because activities with preschoolers are just more interesting than stuff with toddlers and infants. When we go out, usually it's to places geared toward M's interests and J is just along for the ride.
Given the freedom, though, all this guy really wants to do is stomp his little heart out in some mutha' fuckin' puddles. So we did -- for a solid 20 minutes.
When he was done (and I waited until he was done), I gave him some Goldfish crackers to munch on, we held hands, and walked on.