I had some errands to run today and even though I kind of wanted to go by myself for speed's sake, I offered to take one or both kids with me. MB said he'd keep one and I could take one, and he wasn't picky about which. It turned out Elliott was asleep when I started to get ready to go, so we offered Nico the chance to go with me. That ended up being the best thing that could've possibly happened. I realized somewhere along the way that other than his ill-fated swimming lessons, Nico and I haven't really hung out, just the two of us, in a very long time. I won't say he's neglected and he has taken the transition from only to oldest child in stride quite well, but hanging out, just me and my little dude without baby brother along, that's a rarity these days. We started at Old Navy because I had a coupon and wanted to buy a few baby gifts. I made Nico's day by buying him a pair of orange socks and he made mine by chilling patiently in his stroller while I shopped, by agreeing to wear the new sun hat I picked out for him, and by actually trying on two pairs of pants. The cashiers were handing out balloons on sticks and Nico proudly carried his yellow balloon out of the store. "I'm making you yellow, Mommy!" he announced, peering at me through the balloon once we were back in the car.
We had lunch at Panera, probably Nico's favorite restaurant, and he behaved beautifully and ate his whole lunch, even though I didn't bring a kid-sized fork or a sippy cup for him to use. We stopped at Target to buy diapers and Nico did not throw a fit when I explained that it wasn't a buying day for toys. He asked to see the toys, but accepted that we were just going to look at them in the aisle and not take one home. We ended our errands at the grocery store, where he helped push the cart and insisted on putting items into it for me. "What happens if I give Daddy his food when we get home?" he asked. "Will that make him happy? Will that make him smile if I give him his food?" I told him yes, of course.
It's true that three and a half is frustrating, maddening, challenging. But it's also inquisitive, funny, and downright wonderful. It was so nice to be reminded.