Sunday, December 14, 2008
When Benny was the exclusive subject of all photos!
I'm certain I'll jinx myself by putting this out into the world but I'll say it anyway; Nate appears to be getting over his separation anxiety! Partially this is because, thanks to some miracle, Tim has realized that he can care for Nate by himself for periods of time and not jump out a window or run away from home as soon as I return. I say that with a huge dosing of love and complete empathy towards him - Nate is very attached to me and in the middle of the "Terrible Twos" which just took the whole attached thing to another level. He is fully capable of screaming his head off at decibles rarely reached by hyenas nevermind humans and is thoroughly irrational when it comes to any attempts at distraction or soothing. The fact that Tim is signing up for this assignment willingly and often makes me feel swoony for him all over again.
So, Tim's been encouraging me to go out more often and leave him with the boys so Nate gets used to me being gone a bit. This serves many purposes, mainly that I get to leave the house alone and breathe and think and just be ME not MainelyMama for a while but it also does a lot to help Nate realize that he's not totally dependent on me, or more accurately my breasts and I think it helps Tim's confidence as a father and makes the whole family unit function a bit better. So, yesterday Tim had to work for a few hours in the afternoon. Not a huge deal but for some reason (probably the ice storm that forced us to be locked up in the house for two days) the boys were wild all afternoon. Nate was just completely unruly, not even clingy or crabby, just defiant in every way possible. Not that I run a tight ship by any stretch of the imagination but he was just out to wreak as much destruction upon the house as possible while attempting to irritate his brother as often as he could as well.
While dealing with this I made an off hand comment as I'm known to do from time to time and I said, very calmly and simply as Nate dumped a box of crackers on the floor, "I'm going out all by myself for a long time once Dada gets home." I forget that Ben, unlike Nate these days, hears me pretty well and though his listening is selective his memory is not. So, the moment Tim came home - he was still standing in the mudroom taking off his shoes - Ben announced, "Mama's leaving for a while by herself." Tim and I got talking, the boys flitted in and out and I made another joke about how crazy Nate was being. Tim then forced me out of the house, in a very loving way, and insisted that I leave the house for a couple hours because I "really deserved it". (insert dumbfounded, yet grateful and giddy emoticon here)
I went out for two blissful hours and braved holiday shopping at Big Lots where I scored some decent deals on stocking stuffers and wrapping paper. Today's adventure was far superior!
Today, Tim and I got talking again about how things go when I'm not here and suggested that I take Ben out this afternoon and have some Mama and Me time and he'd hang with Nate. Now, Nate ended up falling asleep so he slept for most of the time we were gone, but Tim woke him up from his nap without an issue.
Ben and I headed out this afternoon in the hopes of finding a couple of presents for Dada and Nate. We did all right but the real point of the afternoon was to just have some time alone with Benny. It's not to say that we haven't had time alone since Nate's been born, there's always nap time and such but it's different to be out and about with Ben without distraction and interruption.
We ventured through two stores and then stopped for hot chocolate and cookies. The day itself wasn't that exciting and honestly I thought the highlight for Ben would be the game of Spies he played with a girl his age in the first store we went to, but to my surprise he really liked just being with me alone. We got to talk at the table as we shared sweets and he didn't have to share with Nate to prevent a tantrum and I was able to carry my tea without worrying that it'd be knocked over by reaching hands. Our conversation centered mostly on trying to figure out what Tim had gotten each of us for Yule. Ben knows that Tim ordered his presents online and that I know what they are and I thought that Ben knew what Tim had ordered for me too but it turns out he doesn't. We also had a lively discussion about Zombies and why the moon is so bright tonight. When we got home he was eager to tell Tim all about our time out and he said twice tonight, without prompting of any sort, that today was really fun and he liked "being all alone with just Mama." Huuzzzzaahhh! My hear melted and I felt both triumphant for being a success in his eyes today and a bit like a loser for realizing that it's been two years since he and I have gone out and done something together without anyone else. That's a very bad combination of emotions by the way and I do not recommend it if it can be avoided.
I'm hoping to make this Mama & Me time more of a regular occurrence. I think it's really important for Ben to still have that one on one time and for he and I to bond and stay connected. I'm so happy that we have two kids and that Ben will know the joy and despair of having a sibling, but it's nice to have some time alone with him too and remember what it was like when it was just us. Our attempt next week may be a movie but with Yule falling on Sunday we may put it off another week. We're hoping to be too busy playing with our new gifts to want to leave the house.