Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wild Things

Yesterday we had a logistical boondoggle. Andrew had to go to a funeral, and then to work. Dancer had ballet class from 10-12 in one part of town, then Nut rehearsal from 4:30-7:30 in another. Eldest was unavailable to help out with transport due to commitments which took her out of the house until 10:30 pm. I try very hard not to leave the little ones with Big Guy because, well, it's generally not a good idea.

Oh -- and it was a shuttle bus weekend, which adds 30  minutes to any trip by mass transit. That meant I couldn't get home in between ballet pickup and Nut delivery. And Dancer desperately needed new pointe shoes, and there was a one-day 20% off sale at Capezio yesterday. Ahhhh...

Andrew said he'd take Dancer to ballet before he headed to the funeral, and pick her up at rehearsal in the evening. I just had to get her from ballet to shoes to rehearsal. That meant I'd need to be out of the house from about 11am to 5pm. Oy.

I proposed two possibilities to Big Guy. Option A was that he would stay home with the little ones, and take them to see Where the Wild Things Are at the local cinema. Despite the fact that he's 13, this is a movie Big Guy really wanted to see. His special comfort toy when he was little was a stuffed Wild Thing, and he loved the book. Besides, we only go to movies about twice a year.

Option A had the advantage of convenience, but the disadvantage that he'd be in charge of the kids for a long time. Option B was that the kids would all shlep with me to pick up Dancer and get shoes, and then I'd take everyone to see the movie at a theater near her rehearsal. This had the advantage of not putting Big Guy in charge, but the disadvantage of having to haul everyone around.

Big Guy voted for Option A saying, "I think I'm ready for that". It turned out he was right. He not only rose to the challenge of taking care of the kids, but coped extremely well when they got home from the movie and discovered they'd forgotten to bring a key to the house. He took the kids to get pizza (amazing how much easier it is to manage kiddies when their tummies are full!), then took them to the park, where they ran into some friends. At that point Big Guy turned over the little ones to the friends' mom for a moment, ran across the street to a pay phone, and called me. There wasn't much I could do  other than be encouraging about  how well he'd done thus far.

When I got back to the neighborhood an hour later I passed through the park, but the kids weren't there. I came home and up the stairs to find my three snuggled at the end of the hallway, looking a bit like kids in a Jacob Riis photo, quiet but content.

Last night, Big Guy was justifiably pleased with himself.  He felt he'd passed a kind of test: of my trust in him, of his capabilities at handling kids, of his resourcefulness in dealing with an unexpected problem. Hurrah for him!

And, by the way, the kids all said that it's an excellent movie.

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