I've noticed that the more I do with the kids in the morning, the better they nap in the afternoon.
And well, I'm all about good naps.
Earlier this week, I took the children to feed the ducks about a mile from our house.
I could have just brought the single stroller for Henry, but I decided to bring the double just in case someone needed to hitch a ride. It took us a little less than 20-minutes to get to the duck pond.
It took us 2 hours and 40 minutes to get home.
We stopped and had a snack on the middle of the sidewalk.
We stopped and watched sanitation engineers clean out the storm drains on our street.
We stopped and looked at worms and spiders.
We stopped and looked at leaves and pine needles.
The children rotated through the open seat in the stroller and I would walk no more than 100 feet, before my rider would climb out, a new one would climb in and the third one would want to be carried.
Because I couldn't walk away while my offspring laid on the sidewalk crying, without eventually having to walk back again, I would pick them up and carry them.
Until they saw a ladybug. Or a pine cone.
OR A LADYBUG ON A PINE CONE.
Then they'd kick and squirm like mad to get down. Their strength was restored!! It was a MIRACLE!! Until we started to walk again and they'd collapse.
And I'd continue carrying them.
The kids took a 2.5-hour nap after this adventure. I tried to do something useful, but was so tired, I instead found myself sitting on the floor and staring at the wall while eating a plate of O'Henry Bars.
Did I mention that we bought Skippy peanut butter at Costco and tried it out on the kids for the first time last month?
Turns out, the kids don't like crunchy peanut butter with their jelly.
So, unless I want to throw away the equivalent of a 1/2 gallon of peanut butter, I need to use it up.
Do you know how many trays of O'Henry Bars a 1/2 gallon of peanut butter makes??
Here's a two-word clue.
That afternoon just as the kids were stirring from their slumber, I received a call from PBK notifying me that a special order I had placed last month was available for pickup. So, yesterday morning, bright and early, I got the kids loaded up and drove the 45-minutes north to the store.
I made the mistake of assuming that the store wouldn't be crowded at 10 AM on a Thursday. When in fact, the store was more crowded than the Saturday before Christmas.
I also made the mistake of assuming that I had bought everything worth of value while in the store, previously.
When in fact, the store was just recently stocked with "Fall/Winter 2007" items, which are slightly unlike "Spring/Summer 2007" items.
But cool! And new!
There were several educational toys that I thought we should have. I tried to be discreet in my purchase - with the intention that I would wrap the toys up and give them to the children for their birthday.
But, our kids are like bloodhounds.
They found everything that I had tried to hide beneath the stroller within a matter of minutes and they were oh, so happy.
I foolishly thought that these new toys would keep them entertained forever.
They'd never fight anymore.
They would instead sit quietly and play with their new toys and get smart.
I continued to believe this until we got home, they were bored within 10 minutes, tossed their new toys behind the couch and promptly started screaming at each other.
It is then that I wonder, for the umpteenth time, why I spend money on toys at all - when the children would be just as happy, if not more so, playing with a $0.99 box of Kleenex??
But while I was at the mall, I thought it would be good to let the children expel as much energy as they could.
Because at the root of almost everything I do, is the hope that I'll at least get a reprieve in the afternoon while they are napping.
After playing at PBK for a half hour, I let them ride the toy train three times, before taking them to Burger King for an early lunch. We then made our way over to a life-sized sea lion statue, where the kids played for another 30 minutes. I could tell that they were starting to get tired, so after chasing everyone down, we made our way back to the car.
Loading everyone inside, I turned on a movie, because it was paramount that they NOT fall asleep on the ride home.
But they did.
Five minutes from our house.
Even though I was tapping the brakes and the car was jerking in an attempt to keep them from settling into a slumber.
And the windows were rolled all the way down.
And the radio was blasting "If You're Happy And You Know It!"
They slept through it all.
The rest of the afternoon was a total blur.
I was completely exhausted while the children were completely wired.
When Charlie arrived home, I tried to lay down and sleep, but only nodded off for 5-minutes before Henry needed me.
It makes me wonder, if the kids can be energized after a 5-minute power nap ... why the heck can't I, too??
And if nothing else, why can't they at least enjoy sitting quietly and staring at a wall??
Next time, I absolutely must remember to bring a squirt gun in the car.