More and more, the following conversation seems to take place, usually at pre-school or on a play date.
Random parent or teacher, "You know Richard, you really should have a girl, you would love one".
Me, "If they sold them at stores, I'd think really hard about it."
And so another conversation that has potential to go into detail about a third child and even more potential for us to end up with another dog or cat (see last blog) comes about.
Would I like to have a little girl? Sure. Can you guarantee me that we won't have a third boy? No. Can you guarantee if we have a girl we'd have a little Virginia or little Ella? No.
We are lucky and blessed to have two very spirited boys that are only 16 months apart. Would I trade them both for a girl? Ask me at the end of summer.
No, the guys are great and now that they are 5 and 6 they can entertain themselves for hours on end. Unfortunately, much of that entertainment comes in the form of fighting, teasing, wrestling, more teasing, tattle telling, crying, bruises, stitches, and way bigger hits to our Healthcare Flexible Spending Account than we guess. Our younger one actually enjoys and hopes for trips to the ER, because they give out Popsicles, whereas our regular doctor only gives them stickers.
As a stay at home parent, you can never guarantee when the kids are going to be good, but you can always make a safe bet on when a good bit of fighting may come along:
Monday - first day of the school week, they've been apart for a few hours, they actually miss each other and usually play fairly well together.
Friday - end of the week, everyone is over tired, cue the whining and fighting.
Similarly, if mommy has to work late a couple of nights in a row, the routine is usually:
First night - fun night, casual dinner, probably a movie
Second night - same game plan, but everyone whines and argues and drive each other crazy.
Third night - if there is a third night in a row without mommy (and there have only been a couple), I don't know, I try to block those memories out permanently and pretend everything went great.
As the law school graduation approached, I knew I'd have them on and off without mommy for a couple of days. Fortunately, I now have an ace in the whole:
Ella and the boys ready for dinner
Turner's on again off again fiance (I think they are off, but got engaged at 4 and it lasted till 5, but now a little shaky) Ella is like 40 lbs of Valium for the guys. She is so mellow and plays so nicely and is the ultimate calming force for my guys. And its one of the few scenarios where 3 kids are easier than two or 4. Usually with three kids, two pair off and one gets lost in the shuffle. Somehow little Ella manages to subdue both of them and even if they decide they need a quick trip to the woods to hit sticks, she either can hang with the guys or entertain herself. But most importantly she just calms everything down. Plus, in the absurd world of childhood, she's a saint around me. As any parent will tell you, their kids act much better for other adults than they do for their own parents. That bit of parenting Murphy's Law annoys me to no end.
Whenever I tell her mom how great she was, she can never believe it, even with textual visual evidence.
So without mommy and without Ella, pizza or mac and cheese and stuck at home. With Ella, I take the three of them out for Chinese, they all try different foods, use their manners and sit calmly for the duration. Eerie how good they were. The only negative to the evening was my phone picture memory was full and I didn't get any shots of them trying different food, saying thank you to the waitress, etc...They come home relaxed, quiet show and the easiest sleep over ever. Kids down by 9, sleep till 6:30, not a peep in between.
So here's to you Ella, without you, Saturday probably would have looked like this: