Monday, May 18, 2009

Rainy Day Picnic

The boy's got some separation anxiety issues right now, and I wonder: is dropping him off at child care at the gym a root cause, or is his dislike of the gym just a symptom of an age-appropriate behavior right now? I mean, did me leaving him with strangers for an hour 4 times over the last week make him freak out over the thought of me leaving the room, or is this just a developmental stage he's in right now?

I have to admit I was pretty proud of him on Saturday, though. He handled a completely oddball situation with patience, grace, and humor. We went to see BFF's dad do a routine at the 32nd Annual O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships. I considered leaving the stroller behind, because I usually just let the boy roam free. I'm glad I brought it. It was sprinkling when we parked the car. I put him in the stroller so I could put up the cover and keep the rain off his head. It was drizzling when we arrived at the O. Henry Museum. Then suddenly it was pouring, and we were huddling beneath a canopy, chatting with BFF's dad, waiting for the rain to move on. Actually, we were sort of under the seam between two canopies, getting soaked anyway.

Thumper pointed out several times that it was raining. He kept peering out from under the stroller cover to look at me, as if to say, "It seems like an odd thing to do, but OK." We waited. And we waited. And we waited. The rain slowed slightly, and I decided I'd take Thumper back to the car, dry him off, and picnic with him in the shelter of the vehicle while we waited for the rain to let up, and then we'd return to the museum.

BFF's dad, whom I have known since I was six, offered to watch Thumper while I sprinted to the car so that I could double park it next to the museum, thus saving the boy from a three-block sprint in the rain. Given our recent gym experiences, I wasn't sure how that would go, but I said OK and told Thumper I'd be right back. As soon as I said the words, he gave me a nervous, "Daddy...?" I told him again I'd be right back, and he started crying. So we sprinted back to the car together.

And that's when I realized that I was proud of him. Aside from the one moment of panic, when he likely thought, "Oh crap, Daddy's leaving me with total strangers again!" he not only handled adversity, he enjoyed it. When we got to the car, I put him under an awning while I unlocked the doors. As I turned back toward him, I saw a huge grin on his face. "Oh my goodness!" He said. "Wet! Raining!" I put him in the front seat while I fished the diaper bag and our lunch bag out from under the stroller and put the stroller in the trunk. When I got in with him, he was still grinning.

So we ate our lunch in the car while the rain came down and the windows fogged up. We chatted about the rain. He asked me what it was on the windows, and I told him it was steam. He told me it was clouds. He hasn't been much of a lunch eater lately, but he ate the biggest lunch he's eaten in weeks. Maybe months. We shared a pear. It was green. I tried to get him to talk on camera, but of course he clammed up.

Anyway, I try to remember, when I get annoyed at how clingy he is with me, when he's crying for me as Mama puts him to bed, when he's practically begging me not to leave him in that room while I go work out, that when I'm with him, he's remarkably secure, and admirably flexible. Thanks, Thumper. It was a pretty good day.


rodulf said...

Having plans going out with your family? Picnic is one choice you can take. It is less expensive as other activities but it is also fun and exciting. This is also recommended if you want to relax yourself after long weeks of work and deadlines.

She Said said...

Wow. Four times a week to the gym? That's impressive!

You have a good attitude about the clingy behavior. Before you know it, they'll learn how to use it for their benefit (or amusement) by saying, "No. I don't want YOU." Or maybe that's just in my life. Sigh.

suttonhoo said...

what a great kid you've got.

love this story.

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