I have a child that constantly wants to know what we’re doing and what we’re doing next. I blame myself for providing him with constant love, attention, fun activities and trips as the norm.
I had a wedding on Friday night, so JD got to spend the evening with my Mom. She picked him up from school and took him on a special pizza date (see what I mean). I partied until 1 AM with friends celebrating our friends’ big day—margaritas and shots all around!
On Saturday morning, I showered and took JD to a bowling birthday party. My Mom returned to the Jersey Shore where she lives. Even though it was 11 AM, the bowling alley was loud and bustling with people. I got JD a pair of size 11 shoes and joined 12 excited 4 and 5-year-olds who were jumping, hugging each other and running around like superheroes. One little girl was screaming and crying about wearing bowling shoes—she was rolling around on the floor, kicking her mother. I helped JD change his shoes and led him to his team. For one hour, 6 kids fought over taking turns, dumped (like chucked) balls into the wrong lane, got balls stuck mid lane (lack of strength when rolling) and said “I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, It’s my turn, He cut me!” A dad and I tried to keep the team organized and show the kids how to properly launch the ball.
We broke for pizza and lemonade, then another hour of bowling (above description commenced, but now the kids were wired from the lemonade). Next there was singing and cake, followed by 12 preshoolers running around like crazy people. Party over. Time to go. It was 2 PM now and the sky still looked like rain and it was chilly. I didn’t want to take JD home, so we headed to the eyeglass store to get my sunglasses adjusted. JD walked around looking at all of the glasses on display. He counted them and asked me a million questions about their shapes and weird colors. “This one is the color of mustard!”
With another half-hour killed I decided to call my Dad since he lived around the corner. We invited him for ice cream at Gelotti’s—a famous Italian gelato place in Paterson, NJ. My parents took my brothers and me there as kids. JD got an orange-cherry-lime ice and took forty minutes to eat it.
When we got home JD immediately asked to watch a movie. It was nearly 3 PM and the sky was still threatening rain and it was damp out. I let him watch Phinaes and Ferb. I plopped on the couch next to him and finished reading Mob Daughter. As soon as the movie was over JD wanted to know what we were doing next. I served a delicious dinner. Of leftovers. As we sat dining at the table, the sun came out. It was 5:30 PM now. We took the bubbles and soccer ball into the courtyard and played. Some kids from the building came outside. We invited them up for ice pops. This turned into an impromptu play-date at my place. Suddenly it was…nighttime. "What are we doing now?" JD asked as he waved his friends off. “Taking a bath and going to bed, hon.” I was ready for bed too. It was closing in on 9 PM.
On Sunday we woke up to rain. Blah!!! We cooked breakfast together. JD wanted grilled cheese and cantaloupe. We read The Lorax as we ate. Then we made Truffula trees out of Play-Doh. This was part of my master plan to get him excited about our afternoon activity: A screening of The Lorax. I thought this was a great way to keep my kiddo entertained on a rainy day. Before that, I took him for a haircut. Next we went to Target and I let him walk, not ride in the cart (which is a privilege). We went out for lunch then the movie. We got home at around 3:30 PM, I put the things I bought away and JD automatically wanted to know what was next, what we were doing, when it started.
OMG. Deep breath.
All I wanted to do was sit. Sit quietly on the couch. So I did and JD asked me what I was doing, like I was doing something insane like standing on my head in a bikini. “Mom, let’s do something!” This reminded me of the time we got home from a week vacation in Hawaii after a 10-hour nonstop flight. We walked in the door and JD was like, “What are we doing now, Mom?”
I told him it was quiet time. I needed a break and he could play quietly with his blocks or color. Well this didn’t go over so big! “I wanna go outside!” he said. “It’s raining,” I said, with my eyes closed and my head arched back on the cushion. “I wanna watch TV then!” he said. “No no no, darling, we just watched a 2-hour movie.” I said. “Well, I’m mad then! I’m getting mad!” he said. LOL.
“Calm down. Play with your blocks.” He remained mad and protesting for TV for a good 20-minutes but eventually built me something. I remained on the couch. This is the point where the spare parent proves useful. YOUR TURN!!! There is none. It's me. Me. Me. Me. Me. It's cool, but yeah, it gets overwhelming sometimes.
The rain stopped so we went outside after a dish of pasta, peas and meatballs. It was damp and none of the kids from the building had ventured out. I threw and kicked the ball, but JD wasn’t into it. “I’m bored,” he said. When we got upstairs I moved him straight into the bathroom. I allowed him a cup of milk, a cartoon and two books. Then he went to bed at 7:30 PM. I told him it was bedtime, even though it wasn’t 8:30 PM. He believed me.
I showered, watched Mob Wives and Desperate Housewives. It was glorious.
Are your kids always asking what’s next? Single parents, do you ever feel overwhelmed?