I don't want to give the impression that outings with my boys are usually stress-free and successful. Quite the contrary, especially since Henry started walking. The longer I've been a parent, the less I want to judge other parents, no matter how much their styles differ from mine. I have had days when all three of us went home in tears.
I love that every once in awhile, though, I have the kind of day that reminds me why I became a parent.
I had to tutor on Saturday for the child of a friend of mine at the library, so I was up by the Riverwalk anyway. I decided to take the boys on a little adventure. We started with the fountain, which is one of Nick's favorite places to visit. Henry wasn't quite as enthusiastic about the cold water, but he did like the splashing.
Then, I decided to be brave and take the boys to Flat Top Grill. Did you know they feed kids under 4 for free? I don't think they know how much my boys can eat. Nick picked out all kinds of noodles and veggies.
Our waitress seemed amazed that Nick and Henry would eat all the crazy stuff in Nick's stir fry. She said lots of the kids just want to eat burgers and fries. I told her I wasn't going to give Nick any such option. But I did let him choose his own stir fry ingredients: noodles, edamame, green beans, pineapple, corn, black beans, carrots, pineapple sauce, and fish. It looked questionable to me, but he loved it. Henry shared my brown rice with beef and broccoli. My total bill for the meal, including drinks, was under $9.
He liked the Roti bread best, though he also ate quite a bit of broccoli.
Nick kept trying to eat with chopsticks. He didn't have a lot of success, but (most importantly) he handled his frustration well and didn't throw them at me or pitch a fit. He was polite to the waitress, and ate his food while sitting quietly on the bench.
Nick found this stone couch across the street from the Riverwalk and took a little rest. He didn't want to get up.
Did you know that there are five ice cream shops within a two-block radius in downtown Naperville? There are. We chose Red Mango, because I can't have real ice cream but I can have a little frozen yogurt. Two small frozen yogurt sundaes, though, cost more than our entire lunch at Flat Top Grill.
Nick chose coconut frozen yogurt with chocolate chips on top. I split strawberry with chocolate chips.
Henry decided that frozen yogurt is pretty awesome. . . at least until he got his first "brain freeze." He was pretty upset when that ice cream headache hit. Henry looked so surprised, as in, "How could something so delicious cause so much pain?" I had to snuggle him for awhile, and then he passed out in his stroller.
Nick continued to be well behaved at the park, and he even played in the sand with another three-year-old for a whole hour without using a stick to shoot or poke, hitting, or wrestling of any kind. (This is quite an achievement.) He was dirty but happy.
Henry stayed asleep for the rest of the afternoon. He was sleeping off the frozen yogurt headache, I guess.
I know that parenthood involves uncertainty, temper tantrums, and an insane amount of stress. I'm pretty sure that it was NOT my superior parenting skills that led to such well-behaved children last Saturday. Taking little kids anywhere is, to partially and incorrectly quote Forest Gump, "like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get."
I'm taking last Saturday for exactly what it was--a random aligning of the planets that resulted in two well-behaved, happy children. I will wait as long as it takes for another day such as this one.