In the meantime, Carter and I were hanging out at home. I made a bunch of plans for Saturday, and once you add in church, naps, meals, some of his shows, and some toys, and we had a pretty full weekend. He was mostly cooperative, so that was helpful. Saturday morning we went to the library. I was originally planning on going to our town's library, but when I found out that Republican presidential candidate John Kasich was speaking at the town hall across the parking lot, I opted to switch to the library in the town south of us. It's a smaller kids section, but there are lots of toys, too. And Carter was definitely more into the toys than the book selection, but I managed to pick three for him, one for Jacob ("Where the Sidewalk Ends", by Shel Silverstein, one of my all-time favorites and the book that made me love poetry around his age), and one for myself ("Instant Mom" by Nia Vardalos, the star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding). I let him play for quite a while before we had to get home and eat before naptime. He didn't sleep long, partly because my attempt to reorganize toys ended up being a bit louder in his room than I expected. But that worked out fine because I had a fun evening planned for us and it allowed us to get started on it sooner.
We went to the craft store first, as I had a couple Pinterest ideas that I wanted to explore for upgrading my spring decor. Carter wanted to walk instead of riding in the cart, but I got the cart anyway since I didn't want to carry everything. I told him that if he didn't stay with me, he'd have to ride. Well, all was fine until we got to a section with foam soccer balls, and he couldn't help himself but grab one and kick it around a bit. Then we went down an aisle with a foam sword and he desperately wanted that. And he was so insistent, and unable to listen as a result, that I had to put him in the cart. And he spent the next 15-20 minutes yelling at me in the cart about how he wanted to get down. I feel like if I have improved at anything in motherhood over the last eight years, it's remaining calm when your kid has a meltdown...particularly in public. I remained calm, simply telling him that when he stopped yelling at me and showed me he could listen, he could get down and walk. Eventually he started calming down, but then he'd get mad all over again, so he ended up in the cart for most of the trip. But I did have success buying some craft items, so that was good. Hopefully I will finish my project and post a picture of the finished piece soon!
After that, it was dinner time, so we drove across the mall parking lot to the McDonald's, as I had promised to take him there. Jacob no longer wants to eat there--he insists it gives him a stomach ache, and now that breakfast is all day, the sausage patties contaminate the griddle anyway--so it's reserved for Carter-only meals. When we got there, there were a dozen high school kids sitting around and taking up at least half of the dining area. It was tough to find a spot that would work for us to sit next to each other, and the whole time we had kids just hanging around. Luckily I didn't hear much bad language from them (the two unrelated girls down the way, though...ugh), but it just felt awkward. After we ate, it was back to the mall. I had a little shopping to do, and then I had promised Carter he could play in the play area there. I normally stay far away from those things, but because the weather has been so cold and crappy for so long, I thought he deserved a chance to run and climb and play.
And that's precisely when I remembered why we never do that stuff. There's a 42" height limit in the play area, but there were kids at least as tall as Jacob in there (and he's about 51" now, I think). It wasn't like they were just helping their younger siblings. They were running around like maniacs, climbing the structures, jumping on them, sitting on the slide and blocking it, starting up the stairs then reversing course with no regard for the tiny kids behind them. It was awful. And then you add in the usual behavior by perfectly "legal" kids--pushing, running, etc.--and it was very hard to just sit by and watch. I was doing my best to not hover, but it wasn't easy. I was convinced we'd be leaving there with a broken arm or something.
But Carter had a blast. He particularly liked climbing up this structure and sitting at the top of it. Luckily kids could still get by him to go down the slide, but he just liked sitting up there and pretending to drive! I did have to stop him from pushing other kids down, though, which I think he picked up from other kids doing it to him.
|He's right in the middle, navy blue shirt with white sleeves|
He also loved running down the "river" on the carpet that you can see in blue just in front of the bulldozer. He'd even cross it at a "bridge" printed on the floor. A couple times he ran to the other end of the area to climb into a boat or go down the lighthouse slide. I had a hard time getting a good picture from my non-hovering spot, but you can see him as the blur here...
It took a bit to convince him it was time to leave, but it was getting late. We got some treats from Tim Hortons to go, and we each had a part of our treat when we got home, then saved the rest for breakfast. On Sunday we went to church, and while he gave me the usual resistance for going into Sunday School, he was fine by the time I got back. He always is. We got him a haircut after church, came home for lunch, and then he took a good, long nap. During the nap I started my craft project, and that first part went surprisingly well. Craig and Jacob got home shortly after he woke up, and we had a nice, uneventful dinner. And it was after that that everything took its sad turn.
Just today we figured out how to rearrange life a bit so I can go to the funeral. I'll be riding there with my parents. The big sticking point was Saturday, as Craig has to work all day and long into the evening. Jacob can be with him through that time, but Carter is just not ready for that yet! Luckily, Craig's family is going to keep him for the day. It's going to involve a lot of driving for Craig, but I appreciate that he's willing to do that so I can have this time with my family. It's a lot of travel for only a couple days--and a very sad couple days at that--but family is just too important and I would forever regret not getting this chance to say goodbye and support those left behind.
I'll try to end this on a happy note, with a couple springy pictures of the gorgeous tulips my co-worker gave me for my one year anniversary at work last week. Aren't they gorgeous?
I am definitely a lucky girl to be where I am. That's true for work and otherwise. Very blessed, indeed.