Yesterday my kids were spoiled. Today I'm paying the price. Let me explain.
One of the young ladies in my church, Carlee, has been asking to have my kids for the day. She just graduated from high school and is currently in between jobs and has a lot of free time on her hands. She planned on having them last week but got sick, so on Sunday asked me again if she could have them.
Of course I thought this was a terrible idea.
I dropped them off after the morning bus run. I went shopping with my sister Laura (whose birthday is today, by the way). How delightful it was to shop without them trying, at least once, to hide in the clothes; without my son attempting to dislocate my shoulder because I'm holding on to his hand (so he doesn't hide in the clothes again) and he's wanting to break free. Oh bliss.
Then, after an impromptu phone call, I managed to arrange lunch with my other sister Lana and our friend Claudia. The three of us treated Laura to an early birthday lunch (a tradition we sisters began a couple of years ago on our birthdays). Since I was kidless, I decided it would be much nicer to have it a day early. Again, it was a wonderful time, laughing and talking without interruption. Of my son.
Because Carlee was so generous, she encouraged me to take my time picking them up, so I finished my afternoon bus run without them. Then I went to pick them up.
I have never left Seth with anyone other than my family for this long before (6 1/2 hours). I thought maybe he might miss me a little bit. I was wrong. When I came in the door, he ran away from me into the living room. Carlee picked him up to bring him to me and I had to coax him to come (which he eventually did). This is NOT my son. I usually can't escape very long from him at all, so this was very different. I thanked Carlee profusely, the kids gave her a hug and thanked her, and we left.
And I heard all about their glorious day.
"Mom, we made home made Play Doh," Hannah said.
"And mom, we played with Lily (the cat). And I catched Lily," Seth replies.
"Did you help Carlee make cookies?" I asked, because Carlee told me they were going to make cookies and she sent some home with me.
"No, I was too busy playing with the kitchen set Carlee......." begins Hannah.
"And I pulled Lily's tail. And she scratched me," Seth interrupts.
In the course of the day, they made Play Doh, tormented Lily, ate chocolate chip cookies, played with new-to-them toys, tormented Lily, played seek and find, coloured, walked to meet Bo (Carlee's little sister) at the school, tormented Lily....... Carlee had to rescue the poor cat a few times and give her a break from the kids. They even stuffed Lily into the oven (of the play kitchen set - of course).
They had a day of complete liberation from the usual tasks and duties at home. Hannah did NOT have to do school. They did NOT have to have a quiet time. Seth did NOT have to ride the bus (which he is not too fond of at this time). In between bus runs, with my duties and Hannah's school, they are lucky if I do one of these activities with them.
The kids were somewhat out of sorts the rest of the day. In the evening I was wrestling with Seth and told him that "he was my favourite boy", which is something I say often.
"Yeah, mom, and Carlee's my favourite boy, too!" he replies.
They seem to like Carlee right now. For some strange reason.
Today Seth has been no better. He simply does not like the bus and his behaviour on the bus is not great. The problem is that he pesters his sister because he gets bored. He takes a book along but quickly tires of it. I make them sit together because of the head lice issue (of which there were three more cases on my bus recently) and that makes it more difficult. He's either pulling her hair, pulling her ear, and even hit her on the head with his book. I am truly running out of ideas on how to stop this. We do plan to try to get them MP3 players so they can listen to Odyssey or Jungle Jam, but until we can find a good deal, I suspect it won't get much better.
It's nice for them to have a day like they had yesterday every once in a while. It's nice for me to have a break like I did yesterday every once in a while. I really appreciate the time Carlee took and all that she did to give the kids a great day.
However, I can sure see why that much indulgence isn't good for a child very often. It can sure turn them into little monsters when they get back to real life.
Hopefully the monsters will have vacated the premises tomorrow.