gus likes to do things “on the count of 6” or “11”. nothing random about that, oh no. although i supposed on the count of 3 or 10 seems just as arbitrary to a 3 yr old.
this afternoon he fell asleep on the couch after we had an argument about whether or not he was allowed to play his ecard game or not. i was in the kitchen chopping things for the crockpot and things suddenly got really quiet in the living room. i went in to check on him and he was laying on his side, staring sort of vacantly out into space. he’d been rather weepy all morning and it’s that time of year for bugs and misery, so i figured either he was on his way to coming down with something or he was just really really tired (plus daylight savings really screwed things up and he was up at 5 something or other this morning for no good reason at all). sure enough, a few minutes later and he was out for a good two hours or so. it was crazy to get that much quiet time with calum in the middle of the day and nice too. when he woke up he said “mama, i can’t tell if it’s today or tomorrow!” ha! that’s what napping will do to ya, buddy!
yesterday gus and i spent about 45 minutes romping around out in the cold together while papa and calum had inside time. when we were coming back in from the cold gus said to me “mama, i had a REALLY good time!” it felt so good and so bad at the same time — he was right, we DID have a REALLY good time. for the first time in a LONG time we were just playmates and not adversaries arguing over every single major and minor detail of the day. i made me feel so sad and such a jerk about how many times a day, every day, that we butt heads these days. there are a lot of reasons for that, some necessary and some unnecessary, but it made me make a mental note to make more time for us to just play with each other. it would be REALLY nice.
gus is LOVING playing chess and checkers and tavli (the greek name for backgammon. it drives jeremy crazy that i taught gus this) these days. he understands tavli the most and it’s my favorite to play too. but he likes chess the most, followed by checkers as a close second. i can’t stand checkers and try never to have to play it. yesterday i finally agreed to play after refusing all week. he was so excited that i told me that he “ESPECIALLY love[d] [me] today!”. poor kid. on the other hand, he’s terrible at chess (surprise! who would have guessed that chess is too complicated for a 3 yr old to play?), so even though i really like chess, it’s starting to get really old. he saw some kids playing chess in a highlights magazine and i told him i have a chessboard and he’s been pretty excited about it for about a week now. every time it’s turn he breathily asks “canigetchu?!“. it’s super cute and obnoxious. but he’s always so pleased when he takes one of your pieces, and he’s never particular about which. he’s starting to make up his own rules for checkers and chess, though, and jeremy and i are total cranks about it. we tell him we don’t want to play if he isn’t going to play by the rules — or at least, i usually ask that we decide at the beginning of the game what rules we are going to play by. we aren’t trying to be totally boring and mean, honestly, we just want to know there is an end in sight (in “magic chess” for example, gus’ pieces can do whatever they want while, mysteriously, your pieces can do almost nothing that YOU want, and somehow all of his pieces can keep returning to the board but only some of yours can, basically only enough of yours to keep the game going but not enough for you to have any chance of winning. it’s really hard to have enough patience to sit through this game as a cranky grownup.). but it wasn’t until tonight when i was putting calum to bed that it occurred to me that gus was trying, and failing, since his parents are such poops, to AT LEAST have some control in ONE tiny little corner of his world — one place where he can make all the rules and always win, unlike pretty much everywhere else. oh.
man do we suck even more than i originally realized.
but tomorrow is another day and another chance to do a better job. play a little more. try harder not to make so many rules. or at least be more flexible about breaking them.