Sunday, August 9, 2009

Progress So Gradual We Didn't Notice

Last night we had Husband's family over for a BBQ. Husband's brother was in town which meant the 4 siblings and their parents were all under the same roof, a realative rarity. All were gathered at our house.

Husband's family are a remarkably flexible and helpful bunch so it's never a high stress affair. I put together some simple starters. Husband was to BBQ some burgers, I threw together a salad. Others brought corn and dessert and, bingo, we've got dinner. Various people helped get things on the table.

But still, being the host, Husband and I are busy. Slicing and dicing for the salad, monitoring the BBQ or making sure the drink barrel is replenished from the fridge. Of course we want to visit and join in the fun and laughter (of which there is always plenty).

At about 9 when everyone had left a rather shocking thing struck me: I missed the kids. They had almost entirely amused themselves for the past 4 hours. They played soccer, visited with various aunts and uncles, played on the computer, watched TV and foraged for food. I had barely had a cuddle, been asked a question or heard a recap of the latest Scooby Doo episode.

Well, to be honest, Sydney did require Husband at one point to get her signed into some crazy thing on the computer. And I did have to intervene when Jackson was sledding down the stairs into the basement. He informed me he'd been doing it for a while, and had also sledded off the guest bed, the couch and an old microwave. The only way I stopped him from a head/neck injury without a full scale nuclear meltdown was to tell him that I had a corn-on-the-cob with his name on it upstairs.

But for the rest of the 4 hours we barely saw the kids. They could have caught a bus downtown and back and we would have never known.

It was only a couple years ago that we had to have a complete game plan to deal with the kids when we had people over. Sometimes we had a babysitter come for a couple of party prep hours and an hour or so into the party so I could be sure to have time to follow the guacamole recipe. Sometimes we'd rent a movie and plug it in at the busiest party time.

More often we'd be serving a plate of appies with a kid in one arm or hanging off a leg. Or both. We'd be interrupted often and often didn't enjoy the gatherings as we were constantly attending to their urgent needs, like by searching for the other red Barbie shoe which had not been seen since the Halloween before last. And when we went back to the party we tried to remember what we were doing before we left. And we'd just remember, right getting out the dessert plates, and then someone present themselves, requiring a glass of milk.

Somehow quite without our noticing, the kids have morphed into quasi-independent creatures who are capable of sustaining, or at least entertaining themselves when the circumstances require. Who knew it would ever happen to us?

Next thing you'll know, they'll have table manners.


Ellie said...

I felt the same thing this weekend! Even at 3, Finn is totally busy keeping up with the older kids, who are able to keep a quasi-eye on him. We had friends over for the weekend, and last night I realized I hadn't had a conversation with Greta in two days. It is bittersweet - its SOOOOO nice to finish sentences and enjoy adult company. But it is a sign they are growing up, and growing away a little.

Glad you had a nice time!! :)

Momof5 said...

It starts there and then you're at graduation and looking around saying, "Now who is it we're here to see? Not my baby, I know!" I think that's why I had 5, so someone would be here for a while.
God Bless!