Ben is a homebody. He loves to sit around in his pajamas, all day if I'll let him, and just eat and play and cuddle and read, occasionally jumping on the couch or bed to burn some energy. On the weekends I call him Hugh (as in Hefner) because on the rare days we don't have to go anywhere, he will remain in his pjs from the time he gets up until it's time for bed.
Normally, this is fine with me. He's good to go when he knows we have plans, and he's happy to stay home when he can. In fact, it's only a problem when vacations end. Of course, no one wants to get back to the regular routine after a vacation (OK, so maybe I do, but that's just because school vacations are actually more work for me). But Ben, as much as he loves school, still seems to struggle mightily. The worst part is that I am always blindsided by it.
"So, Ben, how was your first day back at school?"
"Really? What was so great about it?"
"That's terrific! Shall we go to the library?"
And off we go, happy as clams. Ben gets to play on the computer. He gets his very first library card, and picks out a book for his brother. Life is good. Until we get home.
"Mom, can I play DS?"
"Well, why don't we have a snack and check out your homework folder first?"
"Nooooo, I don't waaaaant to do homework!" (italicized because there is no 'whine' font).
"Tell you what. If you finish your homework, then you can play DS until dinner time."
"Nooooo, I'm hungry nooooooow! I can't waaaait for dinner!"
And so it continued until it was time to pick up Jacob at scouts, Ben interspersing his whines with tears, tantrums and other fits usually reserved for the toddler set. Hello? Where did my happy boy go?
After picking up Jacob, Ben began asking for another snack (his fourth) in the car. I told him I had no food, but we'd be home in minutes and he could eat some veggies then. He let loose. Of course, there's nothing like a captive audience in a small space to help you make your point. By the time he yelled that if he didn't eat something nooooow, he was going to starve, all I could think was, "at least then you'll be quiet."
Suffice it to say that nothing was right with the world anymore. If Jacob was sitting in a chair, Ben wanted to sit in it. If he had to use the bathroom, Jacob was in the bathroom he wanted to use. The only vegetable he wanted to eat was the one we were out of, and so on.
After an hour and a half of trying to curb the whining and getting nowhere, I figured I had two choices, the legal one being a personal timeout with a glass of wine.
Then it hit me. First day back after nine days home with Mom. 'Alex, let's go with Vacation Withdrawal for $200.'
I got down on one knee and opened my arms.
"Ben, I really missed you today."
"I missed you toooooo!" Finally, the dam burst. Tears, hugs, kisses, cuddles and more hugs ensued. And then....
It was done.
When I tucked him into bed later, smiling, he noticed that I'd set his radio to play for 90 minutes before shutting itself off.
"Well, I hope you won't be awake to hear it the whole time, Ben."
"Well, it's 7:20 now. If you stay awake for 90 minutes, what time will it be?"
"Wow! That was great! How did you get to be so smart?"
"S-H-O-O-K. No, wait. S-H-O-O-L."
"Close enough, school boy. Good to have you back. I'll see you in the morning."
Thank God there are no more vacations before summer.