Let’s start with lunch. The boy woke from his nap, and I gathered him up, changed him, and put his shoes on. He started running to and from the door because he knew we were going somewhere. We hurried downtown to my starving wife. She left her wallet at home, and our job was to get to her so she could eat. By the time we got outside her building, Bryce was saying Mama like he knew where we were. She’s coming out, I told him. He looked around. He seemed confused. He was just impatient.
Dawn had already used half of her lunch time before she knew she didn’t have her wallet. I dropped them off around the corner and parked the car. We used a gift card to go to lunch at Foodlife. Lunch was quick, good but quick. I just about always get the same thing at Foodlife. It’s good. Who needs to experiment. I ate turkey and potatoes. Bryce ate sweet potatoes and some of my carrots and peas. Dawn had a stir fry. We rushed through our conversation so the wife could get back to work, and when Dawn left, the boy screamed. I told her to leave without saying goodbye. Maybe she could go unnoticed. I was wrong.
He embarrassed me, and the only good was that everybody who turned to us had already seen me and Dawn and Bryce together. I fear being the father (and I know this is coming) with a kid who’s flipping out in public while everybody else wonders whether I’m this boy’s father. Surely a child would respond to his own parent, so that guy must not be his father. Well, I felt a twinge of that Monday for about fifteen seconds. I picked him up, put him on my knee, and offered him more carrots. When he said no to the food, I grabbed a cup. He sniffled once or twice, but the distraction of that clear cup of water spilling down his chest worked.
After lunch, we went to the library so I could pick up the next novel I’ll be reading. I buy books. I get some from the library. He ambled through the branch, looking at phones, waving at people, and trying to click the computer mice. I’m sure he was excited that their desks were shorter than the one we have at home. Then we went shopping for stuff. When we arrived, I ran up and down the parking lot with Bryce yelping at he sat in the cart. He loves it when I push the cart fast and jump onto the back of it. We’re facing each other, he’s yelling and I’m crouched down. It’s a balance that requires vigilance. It doesn’t work if people are coming out of their parking spaces. We wouldn’t want to die because we were joyriding on a shopping cart while someone was trying get their eggs home and in the fridge.
When we left the store, we stopped at a place I’ve only been to once before to get rainbow cones. The place is a popular spot in Beverly. I lived near it for a while, but I’d only been there once. I saw them featured recently on some show highlighting places to go for dessert. And since I keep track of such places like a CPA tracks numbers, I figured we’d go together. Me and the boy shared a rainbow cone (in a cup). He left me the last scoops. I guess he wasn’t into the chocolate and strawberry.
I was surprised the day went as well as it did. Our track record includes much more arguments and noise and yelling and, well, you’ve been reading these posts. I was almost happy when Dawn came home Monday. The boy was bright and joyous. I felt like I’d done something right. He had been calling for his mama for about thirty minutes. I was making broccoli salad for Tuesday and Wednesday and salmon croquettes for Monday night. He was walking up to me asking for his mom. She’s on the way home, I said. Three minutes later, the same thing. So, when Dawn got home, he went yelling and yaying to her. My kid is really good and yelling.
I could imagine them at the door, though I didn’t leave my post on the counter top. I had work to do.
It was a sweet image until the bitter reality started falling. Twenty minutes changes things in our house during that last hour before bedtime. We’ve been debating whether to transition the boy back to two naps because Dawn wants her time with Bryce at day’s end to be happier. He’s wringing with exhaustion by the time she’s been home for a few minutes. We saw it again Monday. I see and hear it on the other days. It’s sad, but it’s the way his body works. He hasn’t wanted another nap. He’s used to one nap. Or he only needs one nap. But he needs to go to bed too.
It was sad seeing a great and happy and noiseless Monday end the way it did. It’s my practice to go exercise when Dawn returns home on Mondays since it’s my ‘day off,’ and I try to do something healthy once or twice a week. I finished meal preparations and started to leave. I walked out of the house with Bryce sitting in between the hallway and bathroom in his pajamas. He was screaming. Not the yaying, yelling screaming from before. The terrible kind that he usually does earlier on Mondays. He wouldn’t say goodbye. He just yelled. I heard him all the way to the elevator. Of course, that was less my Monday with the boy and more my wife’s.