Sunday, January 8, 2012

One Gift of Maturity

This past Saturday morning, Wife and I got out of bed at 10:15 AM. This is highly unusual. After all, we have a 4-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl. They certainly didn't sleep until 10:15.

A few weeks ago, Wife and I were in bed. The night before, I had a hockey game that started at 11:10 PM, so I didn't get to bed until 2 AM. So on Sunday morning, the kids woke up around 7 AM. That's pretty normal for them (yes, we're pretty lucky in that respect.) I was not prepared for them to crawl around our bed and bicker in our room while we clamored for a few extra minutes rest. So I said, "Hey guys, go play with your toys downstairs."

This had not occurred to either of us, but it resounded with them, as if I gave them permission to do something they'd longed to do for some time.

So that's what we do. They come to our room and I tell them to go downstairs. (My side of the bed is next to the door.) Usually by 8 AM one or both of us are ready to get up and deal with them. Or one or both of them will come up and demand sustenance. The nerve.

While this is newfound glory, there is always the flip-side. Getting up late means getting up late. That means breakfast at 9, start to get groomed and dressed around 10 and not ready to do anything out of the house until 11.

That's a dramatic departure for a family who, just a few months ago, would be waiting for Toast Lincoln Park to open at 8 AM on Saturday or Sunday morning. Up by 7, out the door by 7:40 or 7:45. (After all, there's a wait to sit down by 8:15 or 8:30.) Then we'd be home by 9:30 and starting chores, planning our shopping trips, or simply playing with toys.

Like all new changes, this will take some adjustment. It will be tempting to take advantage, but the reality is that time during a weekend is precious and, while some mornings require additional rest, most will require the full duration of the day.

The best part, really, is that the kids are able to go and play independently and, in general, without killing one another or themselves. One of the best things about having siblings is that, in the event that they play nicely together, it is among the most satisfying feelings I have experienced as a parent.

Of course, when they bicker and fight, it creates some of the most enraged feelings I have experienced as a parent. But that's all part of the fun, isn't it?

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