We hadn’t been alone together that long since my maternity leave last spring. I was a little nervous about it.
Caring for a newborn was fairly easy. He slept. He ate. He made dirty diapers.
A 16-month-old is a Wyatt of a different color. He plays until he drops from exhaustion. He eats everything in sight one day and refuses food the next. He makes smellier dirty diapers.
He also plays hide and seek without alerting anyone, violates no-baby zones and cries crocodile tears when he doesn’t get his way.
Actually, Wyatt behaves himself 95 percent of the time. I wasn’t worried about him being a problem child as much as the fact that my vacation would disrupt his daytime routine.
He and his grandma have a nice schedule going for them. He and I would be making ours up on the fly.
We learned a lot about each other that week, but the first day felt more like boot camp than a lovefest.
I intended to get up early on Monday so I could enjoy some peace and quiet. I thought I might watch the sun come up, maybe do a little light reading.
Instead, I hit the snooze button on my phone alarm.
Because of my laziness, I had to settle for five minutes alone in the shower. I wasn’t too lonely, though. Zac and Wyatt came in the bathroom twice to have conversations with me.
I emerged from my shower refreshed and ready to pick up the house.
I had my work cut out for me. Dishes were stacked to the ceiling in the kitchen. There was a basket full of clothes to fold and a big pile of blue jeans to wash in the laundry room.
I could only assume that a floor was still underneath the toys in the living room and had no idea why Wyatt’s toothbrush was on the back of the couch.
I couldn’t do much about the mess before I had to join Zac on the case of the missing box cutter. We finally gave up because he was running late for work.
“If Wyatt finds it, let me know,” Zac said as he walked out the door. Well, that was a comforting thought.
I got busy cleaning again after Zac left. I had just gotten into a groove when I noticed that Wyatt was trying to peel a banana.
I took that as a sign that it was time for breakfast. I sat the baby in his highchair and cut up pieces of banana for him to eat while I tackled the dishes.
He ate half of them. The he decided it would be fun to dispose of the other half by flinging them in the floor.
After I cleaned up that little mess, I went back to washing dishes.
Wyatt “helped” by removing everything I placed in the dishwasher to drip-dry. I would have just closed the dishwasher door, but Wyatt figured out how to open it weeks ago.
By the time I was scrubbing the last skillet, I was stretching to keep the door shut with my left knee.
The dishes were done by 8:30 a.m. By 9 a.m., I was changing my first dirty diaper of the day.
I went to the kitchen to heat up my breakfast and came back to find Wyatt sitting on the couch channel surfing.
I was surprised to see the TV remote in his chubby little hands. I had turned on “Sesame Street” for him. I guess he outgrew Elmo and forgot to tell me.
Next, we folded clothes. Well, I folded clothes. Wyatt picked socks out of the basket and swung them around like nunchuks.
I was getting a little frustrated with him by this point. Chores that should have been done in minutes were taking most of the morning because of his shenanigans.
Then I realized the truth in a statement my mother has made too many times to count —dust and clutter will be there tomorrow no matter what but Wyatt is only going to be little once.
When he’s grown and on his own, I’ll be wishing that there were toys crammed in every corner of my living room again.
So on day one of my vacation I decided to throw out my to-do list and just enjoy every second I got with my son.
I celebrated my new attitude by pushing Wyatt all over the house in the empty clothes basket. We laughed until we were both out of breath.
Later that afternoon, I put on a CD of beach songs by Kenny Chesney. With the sound of rain and Caribbean rhythms as our background music, Wyatt and I did a dance that was a cross between “Happy Feet” and “Ring around the Rosie.”
For those three minutes, I had no inhibitions and the world’s problems were far, far away.
I was just a mama making memories.