Finally packed up in his bright orange down jacket, hat, and gloves, Baxter stood by the door, ready to go to school. His friend’s dad had arrived to pick him up and he was in a hurry.
“Baxter – it’s icy out there and you’re only wearing sneakers. Please be careful or you’ll slip,” Matt cautioned.
“Yes,” I added. “You race out there like the van will explode if you aren’t in it in 15 seconds, but you can take your time. He’s not going anywhere without you!”
He looked at us with his big, earnest hazel eyes, nodded, and kissed us good-bye. I watched out the front window to make sure he got out of our locked gate before the buzzer that unlocks it ceased its extremely loud buzzing.
I kept an eye on him as he walked a little slower than usual down the first set of stairs and across the icy front walk. His friend’s father waited just outside our gate to help him get safely across the alley to his minivan.
And then I gasped in horror as Baxter sped up through the gate and actually took a flying leap – on purpose – down the next set of 2 stairs to the sidewalk, feet flying out from under him as soon as he hit the ice, and landing on his parent-ignoring little keester.
To say that the boys were freaked out when I explained that I couldn’t have breakfast today until after my doctor’s appointment is an understatement. Missing out on breakfast was bad enough, but having to get blood drawn and a flu shot on top of this added injury to insult, as far as they were concerned. (Just imagine if they’d known about the pap smear!)
Ever protective of his Mama, Lyle put his indignant hands on his narrow little hips. “Will you yell at them and scream at them?” he demanded. “Will you say, ‘Don’t you EVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN IN MY WHOLE LIFE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!’?”
I thought about it and smiled as the nurse tightened the band around my arm, ready to draw blood this morning.
Maybe next time.
Our current bedtime routine ends with me lying down with each of the boys for a few minutes. It marks the first time that Lyle has been able to tolerate separating from me while awake at bedtime without hysteria, probably in his entire life.
Tonight I started out in Lyle’s bed, sharing his flannel CARS pillow, head uncomfortably pushed back against a plastic basket that serves as his stuffed Pikachu’s “cradle”. There is a blanket carefully draped over the top of the cradle in case Pikachu thinks he hears a bear coming in the night. The small yellow creature spent one night in this special cradle but most often is in Lyle’s little hand all night; however, the cradle needs to stay there, “just in case”, and so my head is crushed against its molded plastic for a while. Many nights, Lyle spends his special bedtime minutes with me concerned about whether they are over and if I might come back to lie down with him again, which is a microcosm of our relationship and leaves me feeling a bit like I’m raising the next generation’s Woody Allen. However, tonight he remained relaxed and leaned into me happily until his time was up and I kissed him, Pikachu, and Baby good-night, reminding him that yes, I always come back and say good-night again.
I then made my way across the few feet between his bed and Baxter’s. Baxter frequently scoots over with a sleepy grin and says, “Even if I’m asleep, I always still want you to cuddle, okay?” I assure him that I will and, in fact, that I have. He whispers to me about the highlights of his Pokemon video game, something funny that happened at school, or upcoming plans he’s excited about. I asked him if he got married today and we cracked up laughing. We often giggle over Lyle, who is determined to tug at the strings of my attention from his bed in mostly humorous ways. After a few minutes, I gave Baxter his kiss good-night and ducked out of the way before he swung a massive stuffed dog into my spot on the bed; he has struck me in the face with the collie more times than I care to recall, but Lassie protects him after I leave and must be in his place.
A day like any other and at the same time so precious that I’d like to hold onto it forever – possibly tucking it in right next to me in a plastic basket with a blanket draped over the top, to protect me and everyone I love from the bears.