I had trying to keep my temper under wraps but was failing badly. I had plied Beren with snacks of all kinds, two new Play Doh colors, my chatter, my requests for Beren to retrieve toys that might 'be hungry for dinner', and assurances that dinner would soon be on the table and that soon we could play.
It had been a busy day. Our morning playdate canceled--runny nose, sniffles, sneezes. "I don't want to pass this on," my friend said over the phone at about 9:30 AM.
Plan B was to attend a Toddler Sing Along at Mary Jacobs Library in Rocky Hill. Beren looked a tired and requested to stay home. When I said we would go to the library to "play with the dinosaurs, sing songs, and play with kids," he pointed at the floor.
"Stay home?" I asked.
He nodded and when I pressed on, describing our day's loose plans, he put both palms on the floor. He really wanted to stay home.
A half hour later, I carried him across the lawn towards the car, and he pointed back to the house. I wavered, but buckled him into the car and drove off at 10:28 AM. The sing along was due to start at 10:30. The clock is about 3 minutes fast - not too much lead time. I wavered again, as I so often do, considered other options, and sped down the road to the library.
Beren paused at the threshold of the children's section, the sing along was already in full swing. The dinosaurs were exactly behind the singer's chair. Beren sat on my lap and asked to nurse. "When the music is over," I whispered in his ear. When the sing along wrapped up, Beren played with other children.
We picnicked outside the library. I never travel without food.
From there, we spent an active hour in the very large and busy Shop Rite. Beren skipped down the large boulevard at the back of the store, pointing. "Big stack of cans [canned tomatoes on sale], a big stack of boxes [cases of soda], a big stack of toilet paper," I narrated as he noted the skids of pallets.
Each aisle, except the meat aisle, had something for children at child height - Thomas the Engine "Training" toothpaste and brush set, a wall of Beanie Babies, dolls, knit caps with animal faces, and the bin of Play Doh on deep discount. Got suckered at the last one, there. While on the check out line, signs of hunger and fatigue appeared.
We sat on a bench, and I cracked open a box of organic snap peas. I have learned to stop quickly to address signs of hunger in my child.
Back at home, we put on boots and joined my husband and father-in-law as they worked on a construction project. Beren's stuck numerous times. I think he enjoyed it.
Then, up to the garden to chew on some spinach. Then, back to the house for our dinner-making meltdown.
It was a busy day.