My husband took the older two boys to Texas this weekend for a Texas A&M football game. This is a near-annual pilgrimage for them, and they got to see several other Aggie relatives while there.
This meant I was here with the three younger kids. It was not the most relaxing weekend ever. The toddler was up before 6 a.m. both mornings, as he had been the previous two mornings during the week when my husband was traveling, and I was feeling a bit…done…on the early morning toddler entertainment front. He is enamored with the Jimmy Fallon board books (Everything is Mama and Your Baby’s First Word Will be Dada) and wants them read over and over again. I also spent a lot of my toddler-free time (when he was sleeping, or when my almost 10-year-old daughter was watching TV with him) cleaning up the house in advance of the listing photos.
However…there has been progress there. Several rooms are less than 5 minutes away from being photographable (personal stuff/functional stuff like waste baskets would just need to be pulled out). This includes the bar kitchen in the basement which has been covered for years by the remnants of those horrible little “find the dinosaur fossil” type kits where you pound at plaster and make dust.
There were also a few nice moments. I took the three kids for a short hike on Saturday morning before various sports, and it was lovely to see the early fall color. I ordered in sushi for myself Saturday night, and enjoyed that. Sunday, I had a few hours of coverage for the toddler, so I could do some birthday stuff for the soon-to-be-10-year-old (with her 6-year-old brother in tow). We ate at Olive Garden — her request — and then went to Chuck E. Cheese’s.
Since the space is contained and the kids didn’t really need me, I sat at a booth and read my daily chapter in War and Peace. It was quite the juxtaposition. Tolstoy opens many sections of the book with a discussion of how individual choice isn’t shaping history nearly to the extent that much “Great Man” theorizing claims. Perhaps. It’s curious to think what forces beyond my individual choice led me to be sitting there in the booth, with one eye on my son, who was using his unlimited play pass to hone his skill at the claw machine. By the time we left he had won 8 small bouncy balls, which I could not help but see as just more stuff to be moved. At least he was happy about it!
The big boys all came home around 6:30, at which point we had a birthday dinner, and later cake and presents. In a very on-brand moment, my daughter had let me know which kind of wrapping paper she wanted her presents wrapped in. So I obliged, and made sure to use the bows that were tonally matched. In life, I suppose it is good to ask for what you want.
Now it is nearly noon on Monday morning. I have not followed my own advice at all, and have spent the morning clearing the decks of various things instead of doing my main task for the day, which is revising chapter 3 in Tranquility by Tuesday. But! Onward. It will get done by the end of the day.
Photo: Living his best life