France Day 11: My Day Alone With the Kids

Day 11 Today Geoff went by himself to Marseilles for rock climbing. He was gone about 12 hours. And of course he had the car, so today it was just the kids and me home alone.

I managed to get up and feed them breakfast, then relax back in the bed for as long as possible. They played happily with the little airplane from the market and some crayons at least long enough for me to rest and shower. It was pretty great! There was some mild argument that made my shower much faster, though…

I fed them lunch and started to get them ready for the pool. But then I decided I would clean up lunch before taking them to the pool instead of letting housework pile up and overwhelm us all. Their entertainment doesn’t have to come before my sanity. (Wow! Vacations DO bring clarity!) And at some point they found the iPad while I was cleaning the kitchen. So I also swept the whole house and mopped the downstairs! Thanks, Peppa Pig! (And why are British children’s voices so dang cute? I completely do not mind this kids’ show.)

I’m OK with kids watching TV while I clean now. It’s vacation. Usually at home I try to get them to help me, but I don’t force the issue if they’re involved in something that allows me to get it done quickly.

Not screen-free, and I’m OK with that!

I’m beginning to be OK with a lot of things.

Which is probably good since I’m expecting our third child.

As I was straightening up, the thought occurred to me that since we’ve been on vacation, I’ve allowed a new, cheap plastic toy for each child, sugary ice pops (although the ones sold here appear to be real juice, not some high fructose corn syrup concoction and taste much fresher), and now screen time without making a big deal about earning it or feeling guilty if I’m not directly involved with them.

And I’m not only OK with this, I’m happy about it.

When I was a kid, we watched plenty of TV and ate sugary ice pops and bologna. We romped around the yard and got sweaty and we played with cheap plastic whatever we could convince our parents to buy us. And we were happy. Why would I let my kids miss out on all that?

I’m so over trying to invisibly impress people I know only through the invisible internet. Sometimes I have this stupid invisible judgment *in my own head* from people I don’t really even know that well or don’t know that well anymore. It happens when I’m making choices at the grocery store (Ooooo, would I be embarrassed if so-and-so saw that in my cart? How would I make my own pudding, anyway?), it happens when I’m making choices about ….OK actually maybe it really mostly only happens over food. But I’m kind of thinking that all the moms I knew when Butterscotch was a baby have probably let go some from our little organic-food, cloth-diaper-centered world. This is real life. More kids happen. Messes happen. Sometimes budgets have to happen. And sometimes we just loosen our grip, guided by our principles but making occasional exceptions. All of this is OK and good. I wish we could all be more transparent and less judgmental.

I buttered the kids up with sunscreen and we spent a couple hours or more at the pool. Actually, I have no idea what time it was at any point during the day because Geoff took the cell phone, the only accurate clock we have access to. So I just paid attention to the sun and the time of day and the mood of the kids and you know what? We ended up being right around on our usual schedule (which is now 4 pm naps and 10 pm bedtime). Because the kids are here with very few toys, they’ve been getting more creative with things around the house and the yard. Between the yard and the TV, they’ve been very well entertained with few toys. Butterscotch even commented to me that, “I think I have just about all the toys I need now. Maybe we can keep a few things from Maine and that’s about it.” Wow! That’s fine by me, kiddo! Way less clutter! We took 4 bottles to the pool, and that and 2 towels made them happy for over an hour. I hung the laundry and as they played, distant and dramatic thunderclouds rolled overhead, raining on Saignon, but not on us. It was a pretty show. The children played Baby and then Hospital, and then we filled the bottles just a bit and bowled with them! It was lots of fun.

It hasn’t rained since we got here, and it’s quite hot and dry. I was more than ready for rain. We needed hydration and popsicles, so we went back to the house briefly for that. On the way back, the kids went on ahead of me as I pulled up from behind. As I approached, I saw Bittykins, who had stopped up ahead to wait for me to walk right by my side and hold my finger. She is fond of saying these days, “You are my best mommy.” I love her.

She is so tiny and sweet. They really both are. Butterscotch said this morning over breakfast, “Mommy, if you ever sleep forever, I will be the prince who comes and kisses you.”

And tonight, after Geoff returned, I noticed how small he is in Geoff’s lap. His hand takes up more than half of Butterscotch’s back. He looks older than he did, but he is still small, even for his age. I love that my babies stay tiny a long time.

We ate pizza while Geoff almost collapsed, but in the meantime showed us his incredible pictures of the Mediterranean Sea, the view from his cliff climbs today.

It was a wonderful day.

OK, it was about to be a wonderful day, and then the kids needed putting to be like 6 more times, but after nursing and singing and listening (Bittykins told me she plans to play tennis in high school…plan ahead much, kiddo?) and snuggling and almost falling asleep with them and their soft baby skin…oh, I love them so much…

It was a wonderful day.

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