My wife was out of town from Friday afternoon till about midnight last night, attending a memorial service for a friend’s parent.  I stayed behind in Baltimore because we can’t really count on the kids to behave at these kinds of things – R is a rambunctious three year old, and the Monster has his good days and bad.  (Plus, hotel.)

The original plan had been that we were going to go up to visit my family, who live about 90 minutes from where the memorial service was, and that I’d have stayed there with the kids while my wife ran to-and-from, but due to timing changes in the service, it was just easier to stay behind in our house.  So what’s easier for the kids…

Let’s just say that it’s interesting.

Saturdays are something of a “free day”, which is a recipe for chaos in any home with children.  Couple it with the fact that it was so very cold yesterday, and you have our children, unable to go outside, and finding things to do in the house.

R is now three – his birthday was last week – and he’s in the full flush of being a bossypants.  R loves his big brother, and while he doesn’t understand why his big brother is different, he has figured out that the Monster’s not going to speak up as often about what he wants… so R has decided that he can decide for him in most things.  Yesterday, I was treated to R trying to teach the Monster the various games he’s learning at preschool.

So over the course of the day yesterday, I was treated to R trying to teach the Monster to play “Red Light, Green Light” and hide-and-go-seek, and other imaginary games (spaceship, trains and the like).  As I type this, R is trying again at “Red Light, Green Light”, and yelling at his brother for not playing along, while the Monster’s content to run around his room upstairs.

This is really a communication problem because honestly… the Monster likes to play chasing games.  He’s alright with doing the occasional thing if he’s asked to play at an imaginary game with direction for short periods of time, but a three year old doesn’t quite grasp the concept that he has to help in that regard.  (Okay, so it doesn’t help that R’s idea of playing ‘spaceship’ is putting a basket on his head, declaring he’s an astronaut, jumping into a cardboard box and wanting someone to push him around the room… and that both of them can’t fit in the box, much less with baskets on their heads.)  For a regular game, it requires someone to keep the Monster on track, and… that’s not easy with the games R knows how to play.

And then, now and again, R just started playing however the Monster was playing, which made life easier.  I don’t know that R grasps that the Monster’s not really playing a game as much as just… doing stuff, but hey, if they’re happy, and laughing, and squealing, and spending time together, good.

Oh well.  it’s better than the alternatives, of them both being so quiet that I need to go check up on what horror is being unleashed, or having to separate them from fighting…

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