Yesterday was a good day. Yes, it was a Monday and it was day one of Craig's work trip to Las Vegas (jealous!). It was raining, I was tired, and a post-work trip to the grocery store awaited, but it was a good day. Why, you ask? Because Jacob was an angel. Seriously. Awesome.
For all my complaining, he can be a good kid. Like the other day when he played nicely with his Legos for a couple hours while Craig and I lounged nearby. He can play independently, and he can be really sweet and loving when he tries. But man, most times he opens his mouth lately, I don't like what's coming out of it. I decided the other day that I'm very excited for school to start because the older kids in Jacob's class will be off to Kindergarten and his exposure to smart-mouthed five-year-olds will be minimal. I do think that's where a lot of it has come from, though knowing he wasn't exactly a saint for the last couple years I guess this is just the four-year-old version of bad behavior. From what I can tell, for the most part he's a good boy at daycare (or maybe he just blends in with the rest), so the misbehaving is apparently something special he saves just for us. Lovely.
Well, yesterday I was bracing myself for a long evening without Craig. I knew we needed to stop at the grocery store, and I was already yawning painfully on my way to pick up Jacob. I was greeted with a joyful, "Mommy!" when I got to daycare (much better than when he runs and hides instead), and he was still talking about the "dance party" that we had briefly discussed that morning, that he wanted to have at home in the evening. It was so cute to see him so excited about something, because it doesn't really happen all that often.
At Wegmans, I decided to let him sit in one of the car carts. We had talked about it last time we were there, and admittedly it's getting harder to fit him in the seat in the cart...and no, I don't trust him to walk yet. Of course, I discovered that those car carts are a bear to steer and push, particularly once they're loaded with groceries. But the joy on his face when he got in and I started pushing was pretty darn priceless. He loved beeping the horns and steering the wheels, and he was very well-behaved most of the time. He did get out a couple times, but got back in without much prodding. And the happiness on his face each time I bent down and checked in on him was adorable.
We got home and I made dinner, and he ate his dinner promptly and without complaint. Normally all of these post-daycare activities would have been interspersed with some sort of smart talk, complaining, squirming, and flat-out refusals, but none of that happened. It was heavenly. After dinner he played around and changed his clothes a few times in preparation for our dance party--he felt that he needed to wear nice pants, a belt, dressy socks, and dress shoes--though he was disappointed to discover that his dress shoes from last year had been packed away because he outgrew them. I'm still not clear on why he felt it was important to dress up, but it was cute nonetheless (unlike a lot of his other costume changes on any given evening).
A little while before bedtime we officially got the dance party going. We danced to music on my computer. His moves were, ummm, unique...but adorable and funny. He also created some odd little game involving his mini-hockey nets and rolling golf balls into them. In the midst of the dancing, I did take a little break to sort through his toy bins and reorganize a bit. I had been meaning to do it for a while, but I finally had a chance. It's futile to hope they'll stay that way, but it's nice to know things are somewhat organized for now.
He got ready for bed with very little drama, but we did have a few issues before he went to sleep--the usual random requests and an extra trip to the potty. But all things considered everything went amazingly well. And thank goodness, since I didn't have any backup. That's always my worst fear, that I will be worked down to my last nerve when Craig is out of town, and have no choice but to literally lock him in his room and walk away. But not last night. Today is another day, of course. We had a couple hiccups this morning but in the end he was mostly delightful. And he's looking forward to another dance party tonight!
Part of me wants to analyze this whole situation to death, and part of me knows I should just enjoy it while it lasts. But when it's this good, I'd be crazy to not want to figure out why it's so good and how we can continue this behavior forever--or at least more often than not. I don't think it's directly tied to Craig's absence--after all, Jacob loves him to death and I'd be more likely to think he'd act out while he's gone. I do think that my "we're in this together" team-oriented talk that I get into when Craig is gone for a few days in a row helps, like it gives him extra purpose or something. I'm sure the novelty would wear off quickly on a long-term basis, so maybe this is only meant to be a special thing for a precious few days, and then he'll be back to normal. It does definitely make me ponder the attention he receives (or doesn't) on a daily basis and wonder how to connect this scenario to the norm.
One thing it does tell me, however, is that we've got to be doing something right. It proves he can act like a normal, lovely child. It shows that he can be sweet, fun-loving, and downright pleasant. It's annoying, however, that there's something out there that throws him off that track all too easily and all too often. And, oh, if I could figure that out, life would be so much more pleasant. But in the meantime, if it doesn't last, I have a new trick up my sleeve courtesy of another blogger. I'll keep you posted on that one...
But pardon me now while I go bask in the joy of yesterday for the last few hours of my workday, until I pick up Jacob and see which child I bring home today...