Here's something I've noticed as my children move from babies and toddlers to pre-schoolers (oh, don't even get me started. I finally took the bumpers out of Elaine's crib yesterday as a way of easing myself into the fact that she'll be in a regular bed soon--and also because they needed washing--and almost burst into tears). They're much more astute and aware of what's going on. That may seem obvious, but when they're babies you can just sort of live life like you always have (with the exception of getting any sleep). You can eat what you want, watch what you want, whatever.
Not any more.
The other night, Lucy got out of bed for some reason (very rare). She came downstairs to the living room where Darren and I were eating dinner and watching NCIS. (Which, in my humble opinion and even surpassing House, is the greatest show on TV. It fulfills almost all of my personal TV needs. It is funny and has quick dialog. There's a murder every week. There's no character I really dislike. And it adheres to my #1 TV rule: it has Mark Harmon in it.) So Lucy saw us sprawled there and demanded disapprovingly, "WHAT are you guys watching? And WHY does it have guns in it?"
Then the other day on the way to church she piped up from the backseat, "Uh, Mom? I can smell that you have jellybeans in your mouth up there. Can we have some too?"
You can't really get anything past Elaine either. When Darren went out of town a few weeks ago, he brought the girls back a big sugar cookie decorated like an Easter egg for each of them. He got home on Sunday night right as they were getting into bed, so he let them look at the cookies but explained that they couldn't eat them until tomorrow. That went over OK with Lucy, but not Elaine. She cried herself to sleep that night. In the morning I got her up at 5:15 since that's the day she goes to daycare. Usually she greets me or asks where Lucy is or talks about seeing her teacher at school. But that day the first thing out of her mouth was, "I want my cookie now."
Even the classic parent-kid diversion tactic is waning on her. You know the one I'm talking about--where they're just not taking no for an answer and you're too tired for a fight but you're still not giving in so you say, "Hey, look! There's a squirrel in the backyard!" just to get them to forget about it. I do this in the car too when they're holding one of the many things they've brought along (sidenote: this drives me CRAZY. Apparently the 51st Airborne Division can jump out of a plane and land in a field with a backpack and a gun, but our family needs two Strawberry Shortcake DVDs, some crayons, a baggie of Cheerios, 14 Polly Pockets and their clothes and shoes, Rabbie, and a sippy cup just to go to Logli). Anyway, they invariably drop or lose one of their precious items on the way and start wailing about it, and I just say "Listen to this great song! Let's sing!" or "Hey, maybe you can ride in that green car when you get to the store!"
Now that I think about it, it is sort of insulting. Like, if I lost something really important to me in the car such as my contact or a peanut M&M or something and I tried to get Darren to help me and all he said was, "Oh! Look at all the balloons at the Ford dealer!" But...you gotta do what you gotta do.
He and I are planning our first no-kid vacation since October 2002 (not that I'm keeping a record or anything). Nothing super adventurous, just Door County, our favorite vacation spot, with or without kids. Before Lucy was born, we always stayed at this beautiful place (which has a No Children policy). I highly recommend it. This time though, we're planning to stay here. We've been debating back and forth, do we want to go in April or May? May because the weather will be nicer and it's our anniversary, April because it costs less and it's NOW.
Last night Darren was upstairs, and I left the girls eating their supper and sneaked up to talk to him. And rest. I curled up in a ball on the bed and said, "Maybe they just won't find me." A few minutes later I heard footsteps thumping up the stairs, the door creaking open, and "Mom? What are you doing up here? Why are you sleeping? Wake up!" and "Mom. Mommy. Up." Darren got them organized to take their bath and get ready for bed after that and through the din I heard him call down the hall, "Get Churchill Inn on the phone. Tell them we'll take both April and May."
Edited to add: I read over this blog entry a little bit later. And you know what's pathetic? That last paragraph is EXACTLY how I treat my mom. Still. I go over to her house and hunt her down until she stops whatever she's doing and pays attention to me. So I guess the moral of this little story is: Payback's a trip.