Spirits were high throughout most of our last full day of Toronto Exile '07. Even though Noel's mom left this morning, I knew I could manage. I took both kids to Archer's therapy at 4 pm, and while he was playing games with his therapists, Cady Gray and I took a walk around the fountain. We went to the Chinese buffet afterwards, where the kids behaved beautifully and got their usual two desserts (soft serve ice cream + fortune cookie). No problem with pajama time, then they settled in for their daily dose of Legends of the Hidden Temple.
When Noel called, I paused the show and let Cady Gray talk to him first. She handed the phone to Archer when she was done, but in the process of fumbling it to his ear, he hung it up. I assured Archer that Dad would call back, but it took an agonizing minute (during which Noel called the wrong number), and Archer kept saying, with mounting anxiety, "I need to call Dad!" When the phone finally rang, both children were in full-on freakout mode, Archer's screaming having sent Cady Gray over the edge as well. Archer toned it down long enough to talk to Dad, but the damage was done. Even after turning the show back on, I couldn't retreat to discuss pickup plans with Noel because Cady Gray was coming to me in tears about Archer sitting in her chair.
Poor Noel could barely get a word in edgewise between the two kids' crying fits, even in a short conversation. My first thought was, "Oh crap, Noel probably doesn't want to come home now." My second thought was, "Actually, he probably feels really guilty right now about leaving me alone to deal with this for 10 days." And you know, the truth is doubtless closer to the latter than the former. At least, that's how I always feel when I call from work or a trip and discover that Noel's had to weather some rough childcare seas.
But the fact is that we had an excellent day, without a smidgen of trouble from either child, until the unfortunately phone mishap. Yes, one mishap tends to lead to another, as the children get anxious that none of their needs will be met and respond by making increasingly shrill demands. But if it all starts 20 minutes before bedtime, hey, I can handle it. It'll be over soon, one way or another.
It's been a very smooth week and a half for all of us (I say confidently, tempting the fates to challenge that conclusion during the remaining 20 hours of the ordeal). I got frustrated on Saturday and came close to the frayed end of the rope. There were a couple of blood-pressure raising moments in the last hour today. But other than that -- and in all sincerity -- I've felt happy, relaxed, and glad to be spending so much time with my smart, funny, happy, adorable, loving children. There are surely no other two siblings on the face of the earth that could have made this so easy.
Now come on home, honey, so I can toss my overnight bag in the car and zoom off to Petitjean Mountain for a weekend of reading, knitting, and socializing with people old enough to vote.