Well, I survived a weekend that, frankly, I wasn’t sure beforehand I would. Several weeks ago Katie asked if I could handle the boys while she went on a little weekend getaway with the girls. Knowing how much she deserved it and needed it, I confidently said yes. How hard could it be? I then raced off to a quiet place, picked up the phone, and summoned my mom and dad to Virginia to visit their grandchildren that same weekend. I suppose this is like the President declaring coastal areas a natural disaster and deploying the National Guard well before an actual hurricane strikes. In both cases, I call it good judgment.
Elliott and Ian were as low maintenance as they get while mama was gone. But even with that, there is no way I could have kept up with them had it not been for the National Guard, or Gigi and Papa Hoss. They hadn’t seen their two grandsons in a few months, so they made up for lost time with lots of attention which kept their neediness to a minimum, or maybe more accurate, kept their endless neediness satisfied. Elliott even managed to get a couple of new pair of shoes out of the deal. One pair, tennis shoes, has lights that flash with each step. This is no small feature to him. He likes putting them on and jumping up and down in a dark room. When he does, he looks like a little boy running through a dark alley with two police cars pursuing, lights on, sirens off. I’m sure this is not a premonition.
Ian was kind enough to share his endless supply of smiles with grandma and grandpa. For a moment yesterday, I began to wonder if there really was no limit to them. I took Ian for his 6 month doctor checkup that included two shots. I’ve stated before how much I hate shots, and more than that, how much I hate seeing our boys get shots. But, when the nurse stuck Ian with the first needle, his flirtatious smile remained cemented to his face. The nurse then stuck him with the second needle, one she called the nasty one. Nasty was barely out of her mouth when Ian’s smile supply drained from his eyes in boulder sized tears. His displeasure was brief thank God, as was mine.
The doctor said Ian is a picture of health. His height (length) soared into the 90th percentile, while his weight dipped to the 65th, at 18 pounds and 6 ounces. Ian was lying on the examination table while the doctor was informing me that he could begin to eat anything his little mouth was capable of processing. Any soft food was fair game she said. When she used mashed potatoes as an example, I noticed Ian’s smile broaden. He snarled for a moment when she clarified that ribeye steaks were obviously out of the question at this point, not enough teeth yet, but soon enough. At that moment, Ian stuck three fingers as far as he could into his mouth, as if to confirm his lack of teeth.
These days, Ian often skips smiling all together and breaks into a cackling laugh. It happens most often when taking in the antics of his brother. Recently, Elliott was riding his horse or zebra or donkey, whatever the bouncing plastic animal is that has mistaken our living room for a barn. He decided to purposely fall off it. When he did, Ian was out of control with laughter, which only led Elliott to repeat the trick many times. Katie and I were taking in Ian’s laugh when he shot us a curious look, begging to ask “Do you see this guy, he’s a hoot – how on earth are you two containing yourselves?”
At that moment, I realized our house, which often seems busy and chaotic, may be relatively calm. Relative, that is, to the day that Ian can live out the fantasies that are forming in his head when he watches his big brother. Relative to the day that Ian decides joining the circus beats watching one. Relative to the day that legs squirming in excitement turn to legs racing across the living room to join the latest raucous. Until then, I’ll rejoice in the relative quiet of our house.