Jacob has been gone to sleepaway camp for only two days, and already there's been a change in Benjamin. Perhaps it's because his brother isn't around to criticize him all the time (that sibling rivalry's a biotch), or perhaps Ben just appreciates the reduction of noise (Jacob does have a tendency to talk, sing, yell, hum, fill-in-the-blank-with-any-other-insistent-consistent-noise pretty constantly). Whatever it is, Ben has become much easier to see, and seems to be revelling in his ability to be seen without the smokescreen of the dynamic with his brother. Because, let's face it, when they are in competition for my attention, Ben is always painted as the villain, the hitter, the crybaby or the one who started it. It's tough to be yourself when someone is forever preceding you into the room and announcing, "Ladies and gentlemen, The Bad Guy."
To say that Ben has been a model child this week would not be an understatement. In fact, he's been so great that I could tell immediately when he was tired or hungry--the two triggers that often send him spiralling. We went out to a drive-in movie on Monday night with some friends. The theater is one of the few left in our area, and it was all kinds of fun. Sitting outdoors on a blanket, staying up late, eating junkfood surrounded by girls (Ben was the only boy in the party) and seeing a new flick made for an exciting night. So much so that he didn't even fall asleep on the trip home, keeping his eyes open until I tucked him in at 11:45pm.
I killed the fun the next morning when I woke him up at 7:30 to go to camp. As is typical for Ben when he doesn't want to get up, he went into full turtle mode: drawing his head and feet underneath the covers, he balled himself up in the middle of the bed and groaned. I asked if he wanted me to make him waffles for breakfast (to entice him into getting vertical) and he answered 'yes, please.'
Ten minutes later, waffles on the table, I returned to his room to let him know they would get cold if he didn't get out there soon.
"Mom, I don't WANT waffles!" he said rather loudly.
"Honey, I just asked you if you wanted waffles and you said 'yes, please.' That's why I made them."
"No I didn't! You just made RANDOM WAFFLES! I don't want waffles, I want cereal!" he contested.
This was shaping up to be an argument I couldn't possibly win, so I told him he could have cereal and left the room. I was tired too, and the last thing I could take at that moment was an accusation of being something even worse than a random-waffle-making mother.
What happened next was, for someone else's house, probably perfectly normal. But for my house, it was completely unexpected and perfectly lovely. In short:
David ate the waffles.
Ben ate his cereal.
David went to work.
Ben went to camp.
And that was it. Of course, if you don't live in my house, you can't fully appreciate what a momentous occurrence this was. In short:
There were no tears.
There was no screaming.
There were no ultimatums.
Ben ate breakfast.
Ben got dressed.
We got out the door on time.
Even if the first breakfast had gone to the dog, it would have been a small price to pay for such great strides, in my humble opinion.
Credit the absence of one child or the magic of random waffles. Whatever it was, I'm just praying it won't evaporate at the end of the week. Maybe I should consider expanding to an entire random meal plan....