My children have, despite recovering from their little bouts of contagion, adapted pretty well to the new surroundings here at Grandpa's house and the deviation from the norm that naturally occurs when taking the family on vacation.
Fun for all--a BIG snowstorm. There are piles of snow all over the place, with the totals in this area of New Jersey being around two feet. Yesterday, as the snow was beginning to fall, our children and my brother-in-law's older two children excitedly played outside. He and the kids came here from California, and the last time they saw real snow was five years ago, when they were here for Grandpa's 70th birthday. And the younger one was only 2, and barely remembers. Today, with there being PILES of the stuff, they again went outside to play. I figured that 2 feet of snow wasn't so great for my kids being that they're both on one side or the other of 3 feet tall, and that's just not enough wiggle room.
I'm sure that schoolchildren everywhere on the East Coast are very disappointed to have gotten this amount of snow yet aren't missing any school, since school is out for vacation anyway. It's like taking a sick day when you're actually sick (for the record, I never liked taking sick days because, shocker, I loved my work, so I only took sick days when I was REALLY sick) and can't enjoy it. I had to explain to the Cali kids about snow days.
We've been here several days, and the boys are just fine. They feel better, if not completely well, and they're in the groove of things here. They know where the kitchen is. They know that Grandpa keeps most of the toys in the basement and that's where to go to play with toys. Meatball knows where the remote control is and also knows how to turn the TV on. Generally we catch him in time to take the remote and put on something that he wants to watch.
We haven't all been eating our meals on the same schedule. The California crowd has been a bit jetlagged, and my kids are not waking up at the same time, as they have a tendency to do at home. Usually, breakfast at home with the boys happens with both together, and me making them whatever they like only to have them finish by the time I make the mistake of thinking that I have the luxury of cooking a breakfast burrito (wheat tortilla, 2 eggs, cheese, veggie sausage, salsa, and plain yogurt or sour cream, with avocado if we have it) or even egg and cheese on a bagel. Meatball can be stalled by the buckles on his high chair. But here, one kid gets up at a different time, I get up at a different time than Musical Daddy, and it's never the same. So breakfast is...whenever....and then my kids want snacks, and sometimes Meatball has a nap after snack and sleeps through lunch. I'm not worried about them eating enough, though, considering how The Boy wanders into the kitchen and says "I am hungry!" multiple times a day. He also calls meals by name although he rarely gets the right one...so he'll wake up in the morning, come downstairs, and sit at the table, saying "I want some dinner."
It's been slow around here, though, since we haven't been going places or making plans, yet still fun. We have toys, books, the Wii, computers and iPods/iPhones/iPad (not ours), and TV of course. I brought some craft stuff as well. Our 7-year-old nephew has been great with our little ones, which is nice. Not that our 11-year-old niece hasn't been good, because she has, but he has been chasing the boys around and wrestling with them just like they do with each other. We grownups have also been getting along well. Not that I'm surprised about that either...because we're acting like grownups.
One thing that has not happened this trip is that The Boy has not slept one second away from us and has been insistent that we be right there with him. Meatball has spent most of his sleeping time in the crib but also spent some time by my side at night. It's a lot easier in a king-sized bed. The Boy has definitely been more in need of affection and been less interested in going to bed at a decent hour and at least starting his night in his own bed, as he used to do. I think this started before we left for our trip, though. He's just needed a little extra care.
He has also been more in need of verbal confirmation, whether it is in response to something he says (like when he purposely mixes up the beginning of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, saying "A told T!") or, when he is building letters or numbers out of any building material he can find, he will say the letter/number and we have to at least say it back before he'll go on.
Musical Daddy and I agreed that we never want to be too busy to listen to our children, even if they're saying or doing the same thing OVER AND OVER, as it is still exciting for them. We don't want to stop them from talking to us or telling us jokes. We don't want to put them down or belittle their efforts because, as much as we don't want to think about it, there will be other people in their lives who do exactly that, and we want them to be able to stand strong against that with our help.
I guess it goes back to manufactured hardship, as I posted about a little while ago. I don't need to get my kids into the habit of NOT talking to us or sharing things with us just because there will be people in their lives who won't always have the time.