God Bless grandparents who live not even a half-day’s drive away. My folks have taken our 7-year-old son for a long weekend, and as soon as we got home from taking him to them, peace descended.
We meet the grandparents about halfway between our house, in Baltimore, and theirs, 100 miles away in Tidewater Virginia. There’s a Chick-Fil-A that’s one-third of the way for us, and another that’s one-third of the way for them, so we pick which one based on who has how much time that day. Whenever we meet Grandpaw and Michaele-mama (my mom’s grandparent name) for lunch, the kids get excited, because they know chicken nuggets and a noisy play area are in the very near future.
Either there’s a full moon or it’s the height of summer or both, but the bickering in our house has reached fever pitch. Part of it stems from my son’s inability to tolerate even the tiniest shade of inaccuracy in any comment whatsoever from my 4-year-old daughter. Or the slightest error in her pronunciation. She doesn’t help any with the 4-year-old drama queen act. Then there’s his budding sense of humor and absolute mental block toward understanding that a 4-year-old can’t add or spell or do pretty much anything else as well as a 7-year-old. Despite how many times I remind him.
Here’s what they said recently when discussing hobbies and (separately) our 18-year-old cat:
Carla: Puss is a sweet old man.
Eddie: You don’t know if he’s sweet because you haven’t tasted him.
Carla: Eddie, you don’t know what sweet means. Like kind.
Carla: I like ice skating.
Eddie: You’ve never been ice skating.
Having one child in the house is a real treat. Nobody fights over who gets to pat the cat. Or which movie to pick for Movie Night on Fridays. Or who gets which color popsicle. And whichever child remains is just so agreeable to pretty much everything. It’s nice to be the center of attention. Of course, that also means even the slightest goofing off at the table gets noticed immediately. Then again, with no sibling to compete with, the dinnertime antics fall off considerably.
Having only one child in the house is already doing wonders for my ability to rub two brain cells together long enough to form a complete thought. I even managed to fix supper tonight (well, boil corn and heat leftovers) while fixing a gin and tonic and writing a blog post at the same time!
And there was no whining!
Granted, an all expenses paid trip to an island without telephones or internet access with my Lovely Bride would be the absolute best.
But barring that, having one child in the house is absolutely heavenly.
P.S. Here’s a shout-out to a new reader and fellow at-home dad in Charlottesville, Va., with a 5-, 3-, and 7-month-old. You can do it, man! You might not be new at this, but you might enjoy a few thoughts from my Letter To A Newbie written for The Baltimore Sun’s Charm City Moms Blog.