I’m lucky enough to work from home and to see the kids in passing at certain points during the day. It’s awesome to get quick hugs, see them building fairy houses outside through my window, or to hear them playing. But I decided this week that I should do an informal lunch date with each kid. We’ve always had dates in the past, but they’ve been less frequent and are usually a big production (museum, out-to-eat, etc).
Natalie enthusiastically accepted her lunch date invite from Dad. Elliott flat out rejected me. I sweetened the deal to say we could watch some Star Wars scenes, which he’s never actually seen. That did the trick.
Tuesday – Natalie date
Natalie’s lunch date was a bike ride to Forest Park. It’s about 1.5 miles there and back, and not the easiest terrain. She clearly was sooo excited to be doing this, and her level of excitement was an ironic reminder of how short this window is where she would rather have a picnic with me than anything else in the world.
Of course, Natalie wanted to first put on sun screen and, as always, She handled the biking like a champ, and it was a perfect day to picnic. Forest Park is one of the prettiest parks I’ve ever been, too, which is surprising given that Springfield is not a pretty town. We biked past where our family had its picture taken in the fall foliage, biked past ducks, and eventually came to a little man-made waterfall (more like a dam) where we set up our picnic on a big cement block thing.
It was great to be so unrushed in our conversation together, to casually chat, and sometimes, to even sit in silence and just be together.
At the end of lunch, we had carrots races, throwing carrots into the dam and seeing which made it to the bottom first. Then, we biked a bit further and came across a man watching a baby snapping turtle cross the road. The guy was a wealth of information about snapping turtles, and he even prodded it with a stick a bit so we could see just how fast they can snap.
We biked back home which meant going up a VERY steep hill. Natalie can’t stand up on a bike yet, and I was pretty impressed how far she made it up the hill. Major quad workout! She pushed herself hard, and as you can see, was pretty wiped out when we got home.
Wednesday – Elliott date
As mentioned, it took some cajoling to get Elliott to agree to our lunch date – meaning, a bribe of watching a video. He decided he wanted to take our picnic to the backyard and we would eat in our fort, which is part of the swingset.
Our date began with me unpacking our food as we sat in the fort, only to look one foot way to see Elliott, pants down, preparing to pee off the edge of the fort and down the slide like a waterfall. I said, “Dude, you can’t pee down the slide! Especially not when you are about to eat food!” I had just enough time to point him to the right so he didn’t hit where we slide down, but it was still a graceful arc of urine to start our date.
We ate lunch and had a nice time chatting. Elliott is hot and cold on conversation though. Well, really, he often doesn’t say a lot UNLESS he is talking about transformers. Then, he can go on 15 min soliloquies about autobots, decepticons and energon (most of which you cannot understand). I’m comfortable with silence, so we spent some time just sitting, chewing, and being together.
We talked a bit here and there, and at one point, we started talking about “blueberry,” our new brother/sister. Here is how that conversation went….
- Elliott: “Blueberry is so lucky that she’s attached to Mom.”
- Jordan: “Really? She’s just in their in the dark all the time. She never even gets to eat. Would you still like to be attached to Mom if you couldn’t eat?”
- Elliott: “Yes.”
- Jordan: “Ok. Well, Blueberry never gets to watch shows. You wouldn’t want to be attached to Mom if you didn’t get to watch Autobots would you?”
- Elliott: “Yes.”
- Jordan: “Ok. I guess it is kind of like taking a really long nap in a big jacuzzi with Mom’s heartbeat right next to you. Yeah, that doesn’t sound so bad. And Blueberry never feels any pain.”
- Elliott: “Yeah, yeah..mmmm..yeah..mmm….but Mommy does!”
Haha. The kid cracks me up. After we finished lunch, we watched some Star Wars clips. I realized that I’ve only seen the original three Star Wars and like half of the next one. Elliott loved the light saber fight scenes in particular, and it’s clear that I’m going to be catching up on all these when he’s older. I was also surprised because we were watching a scene from the 6th or 7th movie – one I haven’t seen – and a plane was flying around. He goes, “That’s the Millenium Falcon.” I pulled back in my memory bank and realized, yes, he was right. I said, “How do you know that?” He says, “I’ve seen it on a Lego set that I want.”
Pretty great to get to hang out with these two. Erin and I are so lucky to have such amazing, fun, and interesting kids. I know/hope they will always love us, but it’s pretty great to also have them want to spend so much time with us.
On that note, here’s a picture of Elliott this morning. He woke up early. Erin was out on a walk, so this is him sitting on our front steps, eagerly awaiting her return. I’d say that sums his relationship with Erin up pretty well.