Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who are you and what have you done with my son?

Nick had a really good day yesterday. He hasn't had too many well-behaved days of late, so I was absolutely thrilled. Frankly, it seemed like I had borrowed a different two-year-old for the day. Weird.

I packed up the boys and picked a random park. It was one we'd never been to before, and we thought it was pretty cool.

Nick loved playing at this park. It was designed for kids his age, and I hope I can remember how to find it again. Is it weird that I drive through random Chicago-area subdivisions looking for new parks? Hey, it's cheap entertainment, anyway.

Henry napped in the carseat the whole time we were at the park, and I kept the cover pulled up so he was shaded. It's kind of nice that newborns sleep so much--this will be harder once Henry starts crawling around.

You want to know what the best part was? I gave Nick a five-minute warning before we left, and he actually heeded it. "One more time on the slide! On the slide!" he said. And then, indeed. . . he went down the slide one more time, took my hand, and walked to the car with no screaming, dragging, or threatening.

Then, we went to Target and, miraculously, had no screaming, even though I had to pile groceries up on top of Nick, and an avalanche of Greek yogurt and toilet paper came crashing down on him. All he said was, "Mommy, I stuck! Ouchie!" So how do people with two children go shopping? Do they drag a second cart behind them? I can't figure it out. Henry (in his carseat) fits in the front of the cart, and Nick sits in the back part. But where do I put the groceries? This is a serious dilemma. Any suggestions?

So I decided to push my luck and take the boys to lunch after our Target trip. I was an incredibly daring woman. Also a hungry one. Plus, Henry had this funky looking rash across his nose and cheeks. He got it while we were at the park, even though he was in the shade every second and it was only in the lower 80s. I think it must be heat rash, because it happened to him again today. Anyway, I figured I'd go to a restaurant and chill in the air conditioning for awhile, and if the rash didn't go away, I'd head to the doctor's office before going home.

I decided on Houlihan's in Naperville at Route 59 and 95th Street, mostly because I love their small plate menu. It's perfect for Nick and I to share. Check out his perfect lime-squeezing technique. He knows just how to put a little citrus on his calamari.

He doesn't just eat the rings, either. Nick loves squid.  :)

Nick was remarkably well-behaved, once again because of the promise of a sweet reward at the end of our meal. He (generally) stayed in his seat and used an indoor voice. Nick shared my lunch, and ate everything I gave him, even my tuscan bean salad (which was delicious!). They let me substitute spinach, and I think this is my new favorite summer salad. Nick loved it, too.

I've been told it's crazy to take kids to a sit-down restaurant alone, but I prefer it, honestly. Let's say I had chosen my only fast food favorite, Panera, instead. I would've had to juggle Henry, Nick, two drinks, plus our food tray simultaneously. Not a relaxing lunch. At Houlihan's, on a random Wednesday after the lunch rush but before the dinner rush, there were maybe three other tables filled in the whole restaurant, so we weren't annoying anyone. Plus, the waitress brought us everything, so I didn't have to juggle food.

It was a yummy lunch, and Nick earned his white chocolate banana cream pie. (I got to eat some, too, because I was also well-behaved in the restaurant.)

I forgot to mention Henry's behavior. I don't want to neglect my second-born.  ; )  He slept peacefully in his carseat the entire meal, then woke up while we were having our dessert and had a bottle. His rash was gone by the time we left. I'm figuring it must've been heat related, because we were in and out of my car all day.

Nick behaved himself all the way home, too. He asked me nicely to turn on some music. "No talking! Pweese! Want to listen to songs!" Lately, Nick has been doing this to me whenever I turn on the radio. Sigh. This means no more NPR for me, I suppose. I used to listen to NPR almost exclusively in the car, but Nick is not a fan. I miss it. Oh well, at least he doesn't criticize my choice of music. . . yet.

After such a wonderful day, I wanted to ask Nick, "Who are you and what have you done with my son?" I'm hoping this is a trend. Or, at least, a flash of what he'll be like once the terrible twos start to subside. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more days like this one.

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