Claire met a friend in San Francisco last Saturday morning, and came back Sunday evening--so it was just me and the kids all weekend. This was my first time I did this with all three kids. Claire last took a weekend "off" sometime before Henry was born. But it was easier this time.
Elleda is quite eager to please and so for the most part she was no trouble. And Gabe was surprisingly on his best behavior most of the time. (I say surprisingly because most of the time Gabe's nature is to push the boundaries unless they're made very clear and he has no choice.) Sunday afternoon he came upstairs with me (while Elleda played with the computer and Henry napped) and helped me tidy up. He even picked up the whole wagon-load of Mega Bloks without even having to be asked.
And one of the sweetest moments all weekend was after Gabe accidentally hurt Henry and then (with minimal prompting) cheered him up by playing "catch" with him for several minutes with their Dora ball. Henry ate it up (as he always does when he gets any attention from his brother or sister); he let out a big laugh every time Gabe gently tossed the ball to him and then would eagerly throw it back for more.
Bedtimes--which used to be the hardest part of being on my own with the kids--have gotten much easier with all three.
So that leaves mealtimes. Henry is at the age where he just can't resist throwing everything off of his tray, so we're constantly looking for new ways to distract him while we feed him. And Gabe and Elleda just can't sit still and eat. But even if they did all co-operate, I continue to have a deep dislike of preparing meals. But I had no choice, and I managed just fine.
It was interesting observing Elleda over the weekend. I can see a lot of myself in her. Several times she just needed to be by herself. And (also just like me) she likes to stay indoors. When Gabe was anxious to go to the park (and Henry was awake so we were ready) Elleda would invent a new game (or even let Gabe decide what to play) in order to distract him.
One other moment that stands out in my mind was Saturday afternoon while Henry napped (but after Gabe and Elleda awoke from brief naps), we curled up together on the couch and watched The Incredibles. What a great movie. I enjoyed it as much as the first time. It was over the kids' heads, but it was fun to try to explain it to them. It certainly kept their attention.