I decided to give the boys a little bit of independence today. It is story day at the library so I thought that I would leave the stroller behind and let them walk in "like big boys" with me. I should have abandoned this mission when the first thing Eli did when he got out of the car was sit down on the wet, muddy pavement. I, against better judgement, pressed on. He proceeded to fall again in another puddle and by the time we got into the library I was "that Mom" who doesn't clean her child's clothes EVER! It was bad. I tried to use a wipe to clean him up a bit but that was to no avail so I just decided to go with it. I loudly explained to my sister that he had fallen so that others would hear because due to the mud it looked like he also may have had some potty problems. The boys played nicely in the children's section and then we headed to the story time room. At this point I realized that I had a stinky child and had to go and deal with that. Once settled in for story time the boys decided that they would show mommy what she could do with her "independence". I should mention that typically Alex sits with me and we listen to the story and sing the songs while Eli stays in my vicinity but at the same time crawls under tables or whatever else may make him happy and somewhat quiet at that particular moment. NOT THIS WEEK. Alex had and "aha moment" and realized what his brother was doing looked like more fun so why sit here with this Mommy lady. They pulled books out of the story tellers basket, pulled the letter of the day off of the board, removed the felt shapes we were learning about from the felt board, insisted on coloring while she was telling stories (and threw a HUGE fit when I made him wait for everyone else). I was EXHAUSTED and, I gotta be honest, SWEATING. Eli was apparently in a coloring mood today because he colored long after all of the other kids were playing with all of the cool toys. I eventually had to shift my attention to Alex leaving Eli with Mindy (My sister who is about to give birth at any moment. I am pretty sure a sneeze would put her in labor at this point much less keeping Eli in check. ) so that I could defend Alex from a crazy 3 year old who didn't want to share his blocks. We survived and then it was time to check out books. I at this point could have left the books there and called it a day but we are working on colors and I found a couple of books about colors so again I "pressed on". Having the boys stand while I checked out books was interesting but getting each of them bundled and ready to go was another whole experience in itself. We made it out the doors and at this point I had to pick up Eli while holding Alex's hand and carrying my library bag and of course we lost a shoe. Thankfully, some kind woman noticed and gave it back to me, because I didn't even know I'd lost it. Alex collapsed into a fit in the car and Eli followed suit. Apparently playing in the parking lot was way more appealing than what I had planned for them.
They have been in bed for over an hour and I am just starting to be able to relax. One of the librarians commented on them not being in their stroller this week and how that is great because they are learning independence and the library is a pretty safe place to try it out. I agree and that was the point BUT next time I will use the stroller to get them in and THEN let them roam and be free. I believe this will be more safe and it will also help when it is time to bundle one because the other will be strapped in and not running around the joint. It was an experience! On a side note I also let them walk from the house to the car which went well and I will try and continue doing. This means that I no longer have to carry one out and leave them in the car while I grab the other one and lock the door. I did learn, however, that when given a choice of a carefully cleared and salted sidewalk or a snow pile, as a "way to get from here to there", toddlers choose the snow pile. DUH.
The funniest part of all of this is that in the past 2 days I have told 4 different people how much easier things have gotten and how spoiled I feel being able to get out with the boys. I still feel blessed that I can take them out from time to time this winter as opposed to their first "preemie" winter but I have to admit that toddlers bring with them a whole new kind of challenge. Just when you think you have got the "stay at home mom", "parenting toddlers" thing down they throw you for a loop. Ya gotta' love 'em!