I have come to realize, in hindsight, that life was much easier when the boys were little, when we could just toss them into the double stroller, or later. load up the big backpack and grab the park-toy-bag and head out the door to the local playground and lawn, just across the street from our apartment building.
The boys would run around, play, have a great time. Ethan would find a friend or make a new one and Jake was happy to play by himself exploring his sensory environment, digging in the sand, delighted by the sprinkler or entranced and soothed by the motion of the swings,
Sidewalk chalk, bubbles, rocket balloons, sand toys, bouncy balls of various colors and sizes, juice boxes and crunchy snacks: all we needed for happiness.
They are growing up, and there's nothing I can do to stop it.
I really knew how to parent little kids, I had it down pat, or at least was faking it well enough for us to roll along merrily, even with autism aboard.
But now? Oh, man is it complicated. Way too complicated.
Ethan is so social, is desperate to spend all his time with his friends, playing elaborate games with them, involving 10,000 characters with Japanimated names like "Flareon."
And Jake? Wants desperately to play, to interact with other kids, but has one, just ONE, who will give him the time of day. And she's the baby sister of a friend of Ethan's. And, at four, will soon grow too old to play with odd, older boys like Jake.
Managing their social time is complicated. Sometimes impossible. Like today.
Because today was another dreaded school holiday. The first day of an equally dreaded three-day-weekend. And while I had planned and managed Election Day well, filled Ethan's time, made a fun day of it, today was a total mom-fail. I miscalculated, thought I could pick up some mates for Ethan last minute. Big no-go. Everyone was away or busy (scouting friends marching in the Veteran's Day parade, even).
After a too-brief playtime with the upstairs neighbor boys in the morning before they took off early for a long weekend out of town, it was just the brothers, together. All. day. long.
With a tired Mom who had whanged her elbow badly on Wednesday evening and was icing and babying it all day, fairly miserable on strong anti-inflammatory medication and very little sleep (last night, every time I adjusted my sleeping body I hurt my elbow and woke up).
Taking them out somewhere would have been a huge endeavor, fraught with the need to ward off many incidents of near-fratricide; possible multiple swear words being invoked when one of the boys inevitably banged into my tender, throbbing left elbow.
So we spent the whole day inside, the boys attached to their various beloved screens of many colors with loud noises. Me attached to my ice pack and computer, naps snatched when I could.
And then this evening I was able to pack them off for dinner and a movie with friends (yes, Jake's one friend) at THEIR apartment, got a two hour respite. Whoo-hoo!
If I could arrange for a week to take place between today and tomorrow, a week out of time where I could sit on a beach, get a daily massage, drink pink things with tiny umbrellas, read a novel start to finish with minimal interruptions, sleep, sleep, sleep - THEN I would feel ready for the rest of the weekend.
But something tells me that's not likely to happen in this, my non-science-fiction real life. No one is lending me their TARDIS. So I guess I'm just going to have to just suck it up and forge ahead.
One day down, two to go.
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