Today began my third week of German class. I go three days per week, and the first four times I had class my mom was here, so getting there was relatively easy (for me). All I had to do was get her set up with the things she needed for the boys, get myself ready, and get there. Travelling alone is pretty easy — I can take stairs or escalator, I can sit in any open seat on the train (or even stand, in a relatively small space), I don’t tend to drop a lot of things, and I walk pretty fast (especially for someone fairly short-legged).
Last week, my mom went home, and reality set in. Wednesday of last week I started getting the kids ready an hour and a half before my class started. I made it, but barely. So, on Friday, I allowed an extra 15 minutes of prep time . . . and got to the UN to drop off the kids at exactly the same time as Wednesday. (I have no idea how that happens — it’s some law of space/time I missed during my collegiate studies.) I wasn’t late either time, but I’d rather be early than late, and the level of stress I experience when I’m running late tends to make me irritable, which makes me unpleasant to be around, which is no fun for my kids. So, it’s just better to skip it.
So, today, I was going to be early! I had a plan to get started getting everyone ready to go a full two hours before class time. I had visions of being an hour (or more) early to class and feeling very silly, but I was going to do it anyway. Just before “getting ready time” was about to start, I thought I’d feed Liam, just so he’d be full and happy before we needed to leave . . . and he fell asleep, in my arms. Liam is a wonderful, sweet baby who sleeps so well at night, and not at all during the day. He’s not much of a napper, except for occasionally when we’re out and he’ll sleep in the stroller. He was so sweet and so soundly asleep that I couldn’t bring myself to wake him. So, I put Nick, Jr. on for Benjamin and just held Liam while he slept. For 40 minutes. At which point, I was starting to stress about potentially being very late to German class, so I decided that any potential benefit Liam was getting from his nap was about to be outweighed by me being stressed out while we got ready to go. I (very gently) woke him up and started getting ready to go.
We made it, easily. We got ready to leave the house (changed both diapers, got all three of us dressed) in just less than 20 minutes (which may be a record). We got to have a leisurely walk to the train and no stress on the way. All because Benjamin helped me out a TON while we were getting ready. He was cooperative about his diaper change and about getting dressed, he “watched Liam” (who was in his exersaucer — I swear I don’t actually ask my 3 year old to watch my 10 month old) while I got dressed and helped me get toys together for Liam while I got him dressed. It was amazing.
Benjamin is an amazing kid, anyway (if I do say so myself) but his capacity to truly help in such grown up ways is astounding to me. I don’t know if he’s just naturally able to be more mature and responsible at times than I’d ever expect, or whether some flaw in my parenting of him has created this capacity before he should have it. It isn’t always like this — there are plenty of times where his antics run counter to my mission du jour. But today, he was my super helper (and he has been many times before).