Last week was Big Bear’s last week of classes for PreK 3. How did he spend it? Curled up on the couch watching Doc Mcstuffins, The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Elena of Avalor. With a packet of boogie wipes never out of reach.
Big Bear went to school Monday and came home happy. But by late afternoon, he had a cough that made him sound like an 80-year-old chain smoker which a hoarse voice to match. A trip to the doctor on Tuesday revealed that although he didn’t have croup, he had a cold. So, the rest of the week, I balanced my time between Big Bear and Little Bear.
Luckily, Big Bear being homesick didn’t get in the way of Little Bear’s schedule too much. We still made it to our Gymboree and Silly Monkeys classes. The only difference was after each class, we didn’t have time to linger with his two girlfriends. He has two now. We had to rush home to Big Bear, who was either being watched by Grandma or dad.
Having BB at home for the rest of the week confused Little Bear. He is used to spending his days with just his nanny. He is used to not seeing his big bro until after his nap. He knew that BB being home wasn’t normal, and he didn’t have any problem in defending himself when his big bro picked on him.
I am not used to having both boys fight for my attention. Usually, while one is cuddling with me or reading books with me, the other boy is with a parent or grandparent. But last week it was mostly just me. When I sat on the floor reading BB a book with him sitting in my lap, LB got frustrated and wanted to read with us. So he crawled on top of his brother to sit in my lap. If I was holding one boy, the other boy wanted to be held, too. Little Bear is no longer a little baby that I can leave in his walker while Big Bear and I try and spend some time alone together. He sees when he’s being left out and he now knows how to fight for his own attention.
On BB’s second day home from school, he wanted to run around, play in Grandpa’s office. He wanted to pull every toy off of every bookcase. This raised our eyebrows. “If you’re well enough to run around the house and play,” we told him, “you are well enough to go to school.” He did not like our ultimatum, but he complied. He couldn’t play in Grandpa’s office until the end of the day like normal. Grandma can’t play with him all day because she has work to do, too. To him, being home from school with his nanny meant a trip to the museum, or a building a big fort that took up the entire playroom. He didn’t like being told that although he was home from school, everyone else in the house still had to work.
I haven’t had to deal with both boys on a non-field trip day for a while. I forgot how hard it is to juggle more than one kid. Big Bear and I would be playing calmly together, and Little Bear would run out of the room. After a few seconds of realizing he wasn’t planning on coming back, I’d go look for him. I’d find him attempting to climb the stairs or break into the laundry room. He would just stare at me. If I wasn’t going to give him my full attention, he was going to entertain himself his own way.
Somehow, each day I managed to get both boys to nap at the same time. We had a routine. I’d give LB a bottle and rock him until he fell asleep. Then I’d go into BB’s room and read him a few stories. This week we spent our story time reading about ocean animals. Did you know that a blue whale’s tongue weighs as much as an elephant?!
After we’d read, and he’d hustle me for more stories, I would sit in the rocking chair until he fell asleep. Then I’d creep out of the room, put back together the house and work on homework until both boys woke up.
I think BB truly was fighting a cold, but I also think he was exhausted. He usually doesn’t get home until late each afternoon. He’s ready to play, but I’m pushing him into a bath, to eat dinner. All the things he needs to do before I leave for the day. It was nice to have a few quiet days at home with him. Sure, LB destroyed every puzzle we’d put together. Every train track we engineered. But the three of us got to spend a few days in the new Bear House alone.
I left work Friday night for a three-day weekend. But it wasn’t three days without my boys. On Sunday, the boys, mom and dad, grandpa and grandma and my sister, had brunch at the Rusty Pelican on Key Biscayne. Little Bear sat on the high chair the whole time- a human garbage disposal. Anything you put in front of him, he ate. Big Bear spent most of the brunch sucking up shredded parmesan cheese with a straw and asking everyone if they wanted a straw of parmesan cheese. I get now why my parents never took me out to eat when I was under five.
This Memorial Day Weekend, I’m not on a boat like most Miamians. I’m not day drinking (or drinking at all, to be honest). I’m thinking about how after this week, Big Bear is done with PreK 3. How an entire year has flown by. Again. To me, summer is here. The heat has made that very clear. Another school year is gone and summer is here. Time to break out the sunscreen.