If you have a least one child, but haven't yet experienced the joy(s) of Friends With Children, trust me when I say, you need to getchoo some quickly.
Last night, some friends of ours who have three boys of their own, invited us over for dinner. It was delightful; a gift of great value to us. They gave us the gift of uninterrupted time. Now, this couple is pretty great with or without kids, but as any parent in the trenches will tell you, a special magic happens when two or more children are gathered together. They entertain each other, and it is glorious.
As another friend of mine with three children put it, when you have three kids, you don't even notice when another one gets added. I would add, no one does because they make themselves scarce. Brilliant.
The Artist & I are currently the beleaguered parents of one threenager, with the option for a newborn in three months, give or take a couple weeks. We are so tired. So tired of wrestling, playing dinosaurs, hide-n-seek, t-ball, trains, marbles, Jenga (The Bud cheats), catch, and duck, duck, GOOSE. So tired of pretending enthusiasm for the same dinosaur videos/movies over and over again. But since we're The Bud's only playmates at home, we are called into action on the regular.
Uninterrupted time is not heavy on the ground at our house. I confess that The Artist takes the brunt of this. I'm not great at playing on a good day. On a pregnant day, fuggedabottit. I take (small) comfort that with a pending neonate on deck, I'll shortly be pulling a more or less equal load, what with all the birthing and nursing and whatnot.
Anyway, so back to Shangri La. Don't be too jealous when I tell you how it all went down. We went inside. Our child, spotting other kiddos (and their toys), ran off to investigate.
We didn't see him again for a half hour.
We sat down and watched dinner being prepared. We had sparkling conversation. We laughed, we drank (well, they did), we ate food while it was still warm, and generally had a great time while the kids played somewhere else in the house.
Glorious, I tell you. Simply glorious.
There were hiccups here and there, of course. Occassional tears, requests for help in the potty, dinner refusals, whining, etc, but when you've been given the gift of time, it all feels bearable. We had a wonderful time.
And The Bud? He made out like a bandit, too. The big(ger) boys have the most awesomest T-Rex, EVER. It roars louder than The Bud (yay...), is a foot tall, and it's eyes glow a very intimidating red. Rumor has it that he used to walk, but being loved on by three boys has taken its toll. Still, though, very cool. He played with it from the moment he found it until it was time to go home, when he let us know in no uncertain terms by the tantrum he threw that we would have to pry that dinosaur from his cold, dead hands to get him to leave without it.
That's when the final miracle of our evening happened. Our friends' middle son (read: he's been forced to share his toys with a younger, less reasonable person his whole life, just to stop tears, so nothing phases him anymore), whispered to his mother, "Mommy, he can borrow it for a week."
My child has been in heaven ever since. He roared all the way home. He cuddled T-Rex in his sleep all night long, and when he dragged that thing into our room this morning at 6 am and was told he couldn't get in bed with us if he had it, he turned around and went back to his own room.
This is gonna be a great week.
Roscoe, the T-Rex