The boys and I were invited over to a friend’s house for a multi-family play date. I was so excited to meet up with these families because I hadn’t seen them since their children were in my pre-k classroom a couple of years ago. They had seen Owen when he was a baby but they had never met Henry, and those sweet little pumpkins that were going into kindergarten when I last saw them are now going into 2nd grade.
When I went to pick up the kids from daycare, Owen had pissed himself at some point in time during the day. So much so, that even his shoes were unwearable. Having too much faith in my son’s ability to make it to the potty, I wasn’t prepared with extra clothes. We were already running late, so I started to search the car for anything I could MacGyver together into shorts. Luckily I’m lazy and didn’t take his swimsuit out of the car from the last time I anticipated him wearing it. As I was changing Owen into his trunks, I explained to him that we were going to mommy’s friend’s house and that he needed to do his best to keep his $#!% together.
Owen was a little shy at first probably because he was the only one wearing a swimsuit, and Hank was being his adorable chunky self. Owen was so excited because they had a sandbox. He’s been talking about building a sandcastle all summer and was thrilled at the opportunity to check that off of his bucket-list. I introduced him to the older kids and left him to join in their sand fun. I put Henry in the grass with the some other kids that were playing with a bunch of toys. He was happy, laughing and clapping at the girls that were occupying his attention. I was optimistic that we could all follow to the family motto and secure another play date.
As I’m visiting with the ladies one of the moms tells Owen to keep the sand in the sandbox. I look over and Owen is pushing the sand through his legs at an alarming rate, as if he was a dog digging for a bone. I rush to calm Fido as quickly as I could and as I’m explaining the sandbox rules one of the older kids yells to me that Henry ate a leaf. Optimism gone.
I return to normal conversation while keeping one eye on Owen. Sure enough, every time he thought he wasn’t being watched he unleashed furry on that sandbox. He was rolling in it, making sand rain on his head, throwing it over his shoulder like it was salt, making sand angels…not keeping it in the sandbox. I would give him the angry mom snap and shake my head, with a look that said, “Dude, what the heck? What part of keep the sand in the sandbox are we not understanding?” I recognize that he is 2 and just being a boy, but mommy doesn’t get invited to a lot of social engagements so pull yourself together son!
The ladies had gone above and beyond normal entertaining. The spread of food was amazing! There were different types of salami and cheeses, a plethora of fruits and veggies, different chips and crackers…it definitely pushed my diet back a day or two. They had gone to a French bakery for all of their deserts. These deserts were mini masterpieces that you almost felt bad about eating. Owen’s eyes got as big as silver dollars when they brought out the cookies from this place. It was by far the biggest cookie he has ever had in his life. The kids were all gathered around showing off what shapes and colors their cookies were which lead to a perfect photo opportunity. Each child had a Kodak smile that showed their adorable anticipation for this amazing cookie. “Everybody look at the camera…Owen…Owen look at the camera…Owen, yoohooo, OWEN!!!!” He couldn’t look or smile, he was too busy already eating his cookie. Then, “Mrs. Ashley, Henry’s chewing on a stick!” Dang it, boys!
Along came dinner time. I should have already gathered my children and left, but I was enjoying the adult conversation and rekindling of friendships too much…I was being selfish…I was not following the family motto! They made this delicious dinner, but Owen didn’t know what it was so he was not going to eat it. He informed everyone that eating the dinner was going to make his belly hurt. Embarrassed by his proclamation, I asked him to come sit on the blanket with the rest of the kids while they ate, he refused and kept playing on their swing set. It was clear that while I may be a wonderful teacher to other kids, I obviously could not teach my own.
Time to go! I told Owen to say thank you and give hugs or knuckles to his new friends while I gathered our stuff. He started to scream, “NO! I’m not going!” I told him we had to and gave a few meaningless reason as to why. “I’m not going with you, I want to stay here!” I turned to the moms and told them that my son, while being an ass, was actually paying them a compliment. Usually when I suggest going home he is all for it, but he must be really enjoying his time with them! Then he ran. Don’t engage. Never engage. I engaged…I started to chase after him around the swing set. (Woman side note: I hadn’t seen these ladies in awhile and in an attempt to elongate the extra pounds I had picked up over the years I wore wedges.) He zigged and zagged, and I toppled over my extra pounds hitting the ground hard. I haven’t checked yet, but I’m pretty sure I have grass stains on my pants because I didn’t just fall, I slid. I looked over and Henry had the biggest leafy smile on his face and was clapping like it was the most amazing fall he had seen since he did it 5 minutes ago.
Owen must have known that whatever was coming next wasn’t going to be good because he started saying his goodbyes. Eventually we made it to the car and Owen asked if we were going to come back tomorrow. I asked him if he followed the family motto and he said, “No. Mommy, I’m sorry about that! I’ll just practice at home tomorrow.”