Tonight we went out to eat, something we haven't done a lot of since we moved to Oregon really, particularly as a family. Both of our kids were having a rough night to some degree, but Matthew was particularly having a hard time listening to us and behaving. I'm sure he was a bit wired up from being in the house all afternoon, and it showed. We (Karin and I) were both clearly frustrated to varying degrees. In his typical Matthew way, though, even on a night where he was giving us kind of a hard time, we were reminded of some of the reasons we love that kid so much. On the way from the restaurant to the car, he asked Karin, "When you are mad at me, do you still love me?" She assured him that she did, and he thought about that for a bit and then asked, "Would you still love me if I was a walrus?" Classic Matthew.
I had told him earlier that if he starting listening and was good, he could play a game on my phone on the way home, but he didn't follow through on that, so for the first 10 minutes or so on the drive home he was crying and begging us to let him play. Then I started talking about other things to try to get his mind off of it, and at one point he kept interrupting me for some reason when I was trying to tell him something. Finally, he said, "OK, you can go ahead. Say your words." He then settled for playing the guessing game (a simplified 20 questions, I guess - you don't ask questions, just guess), his favorite thing in the car.
Isabelle's favorite thing in the car is to listen to the kid version of this Dynamite song. I mean, she wants to hear it over and over. That could probably drive us crazy (I think it's already starting to drive Matthew crazy), but it is tough to be too bugged when you look back and see your not-quite-2-yr-old dancing and signing along to her favorite song. We love her spunk and creativity, even if that means having draw with crayons on just about everything in the house including her own face.
We are grateful that even on days when our kids are driving us a bit crazy, they are healthy and generally happy and seem to genuinely love each other. Even though Matthew gets a little bugged when Isabelle destroys his Lego creations (usually Batman related, using some real leaps of imagination), he can be really sweet to her. A while back she fell off of a chair and was crying, and Matthew sang her a rainbow song he learned (the entirety of which is "Red, orange, yellow, green, blue. Don't forget there's purple too. Rainbow colors for me and you!"). So now anytime she is upset, he starts singing that. On the way to the restaurant tonight, he wanted to sing that after we got done singing another song Isabelle had asked us to sing ("Popcorn popping on the apricot tree..."), and when Karin suggested we sing something other than the rainbow song, he said, "But it's beautiful!"
Bottom line... there are times when our kids push our buttons a little bit, but those things are more than offset by the genuine little moments of happiness they bring into our lives every day.