This morning was a little stressful. Mike flew back to Canada for a couple of weeks, and thus woke the boys up slightly earlier than usual to say goodbye. True to form, B boy hardly budged from his curled up position, hidden from view by a massive blanket.
Christopher has a very difficult time saying goodbye. He will agonize over an upcoming farewell for weeks (which is why we rarely tell him in advance), and he'll fall apart as the moment finally arrives. There'll be tears and long hugs. It's hard and I know Mike hates saying goodbye to him. Benjamin, meanwhile, takes everything in stride. He'll give you a hug, and then he's off playing. Seemingly without a care in the world.
But the funny thing is -- once you're gone, Christopher is fine. Almost immediately, he's back to chattering about this and that, totally focused on everything around him, apparently oblivious to the fact that anyone's missing. He may mention it at bedtime, but only occasionally. And when you're back, while he's happy to see you, there's no big reunion hugs of affection. It's almost like you never left.
Benjamin, meanwhile, suffers pangs of loneliness if someone's missing from his little world. He'll recreate the moment of farewell - the one you thought he wasn't paying any attention to - and he'll agonize over the fact that he didn't tell you he loves you, or that he didn't hug or kiss you. He'll count the days until your return, the hours, and even the minutes. And once back, he's on you like a moth to a flame. Making up for all those hugs and kisses.
It amazes me that my two boys came from the same gene pool, the same womb. They barely have anything in common. Except for their incessant chattiness, I can only think of one trait they share:
A total lack of organizational skills.
I couldn't tell you how many mitts or hats B boy has lost over the years. Certainly enough to clothe of all Luxembourg's preschoolers. And maybe Iceland's too. Last year, he lost two pairs of snow pants within the first winter week, and by the end of the season, that number was in the double digits. I was just amazed that he managed to keep his jacket all season long.
Christopher isn't too bad when it comes to outerwear, but he's a mess with respect to his school books. To illustrate, allow me to recount our adventures just today...
This morning, while I was attaching his lunch bag to his bag, I noticed a piece of paper sticking out of the school bag's side pocket:
Me: Christopher, is this something you need?
C (taking the paper): Oh no, this is a song I need to memorize for Santa Lucia. We're doing the rehearsals today.
Me: When did you get this?
C: Last Wednesday.
Me (deep breaths - remember, child just said goodbye to father): Christopher, do you need to know this for today, or can it wait until the 13th?
C: The rehearsals are today, and we have to know it by today.
Me: Well, practice now then. Practice, practice, practice. That's all you can do. You have 30 minutes.
After school, Christopher always calls on his fancy-smancy cell phone on his loooong (4 minute) walk home:
C: Hi Mamma!
Me: Hi 'Stopher! Did you have a good day?
Me: Do you have everything you need to do your homework?
C: Yes, I brought Norwegian and English today.
Me: Okay good, I'll see you soon then.
2 minutes later:
C (opening the door): Hi Mamma!
Me: Hi sweetie - how did it go with the rehearsals?
C: Fine, she just said I have to know the song by tomorrow. I didn't lose my part.
Me: That's great. Did you bring the sheet home to practice?
C (getting his books and his lunch out of his bag): Yes. But I didn't have time to eat my lunch today, so I'm going to eat it now.
Me (looking through his books):...mmm...okay. Where's your weekly homework plan?
C: I put it in my bag - it's the folded sheet.
Me (taking a deep breath, sensing what's coming next): The folded sheet is the song you need to practice. I can't see the homework plan.
C (now looking frantically in his bag): Oh...no...I thought it was the folded sheet.
Me (calm, lecturing voice): Next time maybe you could *look* at the sheet before you leave?
C (getting his jacket and toque on to go back to school, while being a bit emotional): I always have to go back to school!
Me: Christopher, you really have to learn to take responsibility for your things. It's like forgetting to practice that song this morning -- only you know what you need to do, so you have to organize and plan for it.
C (in a huff, not feeling like a lecture): OKAY. 'bye.
10 minutes later:
C (opening the door): Here's the sheet.
Me: Excellent! But...where's your toque?
C: I wasn't wearing a toque, was I?
Me (breathing deeply...again): Yes, you were, Christopher. Did you leave it at school?
C (getting emotional...again): Oh no...!
Muffled sound as he slams the door. I watch him walking dejectedly back up the road.
4 minutes later, phone rings:
C (happy now): It was in my pocket! I got to the classroom, and I realized that I'd taken off my toque because I was hot and I put it in my jacket pocket.
Me: All righty, then. I'll see you at home.
A short while later, at the house:
C (opening the front door again): OK, I have everything now, right?
Me (coming to the hall from the kitchen): I don't know, I assume you have all your books?
C: Yes, I do.
Me (waving the supposed homework plan he walked back to pick up from school): So this is the new format for the homework plan?
C (looking at the paper, groans): Oh no! I took the wrong sheet. This is the work plan for what I'm supposed to do at school. Not the homework plan.
Me: Bye, bye...
And as I watch him walk back to school for the third time that afternoon, I realize it is going to be a very long two weeks of solo parenting.
Bloggy friends -- make me feel better by telling me I'm not the only parent with this problem?