Last week I did a favour for a friend and watched his two boys, ages 2 1/2 and 4 1/2, for an afternoon. He warned me that his boys “were a handful” and I’ve heard them described as “holy terrors” so I braced myself for a bit of chaos.
They arrived shortly after lunch and after a bit of a rough start, the youngest did not want his daddy to leave, both boys settled down to play. The older boy, Haden, was instantly drawn to Alexi. Nothing is cooler to a 4-year-old than an older kid who will play with them. Alexi kept Haden occupied with his collection of Rescue Heroes and his vast knowledge of all-things video game related. Rian wanted to read story books to little Mark, the 2 year old, I warned her he may not be a great audience, but she cracked open the first story anyway. She was disappointed when he didn’t sit and listen to The Monster at the End of this Book with rapt admiration, but she was a good sport about it and instead listened to his stream of endless chatter.
A little later we took the kids to the little park down the street. Alexi and Haden ran and climbed on the jungle gym while Mark had me push him on the swing and go on the teeter-totter with him. Rian brought her RC car and Mark had fun chasing that for awhile, although Rian would get a bit frustrated because he wouldn’t leave it on the ground. We didn’t stay too long because it was so hot and very close to noon hour. After the boys took one more turn on the slide we headed back to our house for Kraft Dinner.
The boys played while the water boiled. They played while the macaroni cooked. They played while I stirred in the butter, milk and cheese. They played while I spooned out the pasta into Elmo bowls for them. When I called them to the table they climbed right up into their chairs. The little guy started spooning orange pasta into his mouth until he realized it was hot, then he started blowing on it, telling me repeatedly that it was hot. His big brother decided he no longer wanted Kraft Dinner, but I told him matter-of-factly that that’s what was being served and he wouldn’t leave the table until it was all gone. He crossed his arms in front of his chest, stuck out his bottom lip and prepared himself for the stand off.
I smiled to myself. This kid had no idea who he was messing with. I simply ignored him, continued eating my pasta and encouraged his brother to keep eating his, now cooler, macaroni. Hadden didn’t budge. Neither did I. When Rian finally came to get herself a bowl of KD she smothered hers in ketchup and asked if our stubborn, young guest would like some too. He nodded an affirmative and once his macaroni was criss-crossed with the red condiment he dug right in.
By the time I had finished eating both boys were halfway through their meals. Alexi had finished his meal and had returned to his game on the Wii. My young friend Hadden felt that since Alexi was going to play on the Wii, he should to. So, with his bowl still half full he promptly announced he was no longer hungry. Ahh, Hadden, good try, sweetie, but no Wii if you don’t finish your lunch. He managed to empty his bowl in three spoonfuls.
Little Mark wanted to leave the table before emptying his bowl too, but that didn’t happen. Now, for those of you who are thinking how cruel I am please be advised I only put two small scoops in each of their bowls. A quantity that was quite manageable for both children.
After Mark finished his last three bites of KD he and I went for a nap. We curled up on my bed. He snuggled with a borrowed stuffed puppy of Rian’s and I snuggled him. It took a little while for him to drift off, but he starting snoring soon enough and I dosed off too. After only an hour he woke up crying for his daddy. Both Rian and I consoled him and it wasn’t long before he was out of bed playing with Rescue Heroes and chattering away with his soother in his mouth.
The boys played while I checked my email. They played while I surfed the net. They played while I went through some paperwork. They played while I sat there reminiscing of the days when my kids were their age. Ah, yes. They days of preschoolers with undiagnosed ADHD and other mental health issues. Those were the days of screaming and constant movement. The days of thinking “would these kids ever sit still?” The days of wondering if I’d lost my mind. The days of knowing I had lost my mind. The days of muttering “I now know why some species eat their young”.
The boys’ father came by to pick them up shortly after that. He asked me how it went. I almost laughed. “You think your boys are busy? You don’t know busy!” Anyone who has had toddlers with ADHD knows trying to accomplish anything while they are conscious is next to impossible. It was kind of interesting though, to spend a few hours with a couple of normies. I know now what an amazing mother I am to have survived my children’s toddler years.