Dumplings Save The Day

This is not a mommy blog. I don’t really talk too much about parenting and Oliver, not my deal. I love my guy more than anything, for sure, but that’s not what my blog is about. That said, I wanted to share an Oliver experience.

For the past 2.5 years, we had the most wonderful nanny, but she found a real job last month. We hired a summer nanny, but she decided to quit with no notice via email a few weeks ago. Awesome. As Oliver begins Pre-K in September, which is 5 days a week, his dad and I decided that full-time school made the most sense rather than using a nanny as a chauffeur (we live in Seattle, school is on Mercer Island) and continuing him with 5 part-time days. When the summer nanny quit, we had to start full-time a bit sooner. It has been rough. We are in transition mode. He’s not napping anymore, although he clearly needs it, and he’s adjusting his full days at school.

When I picked Oliver up on Monday, he was pissed off from the second he saw me, he literally made an angry noise when I came in the room. That felt terrible. We then sat in traffic for 40 minutes, had to stop at the grocery store to get dinner, I was not allowed to have any music on in the car and he was a disaster. The demanding, frustrated, worst version of his 4.5 year old self. It sucked for us both. Especially as I was so excited to see him after a long day of work. It is a total let down when he acts like that and I have to gear up for our challenging evening with no one to hand him off to, rather than enjoying time with my favorite person on earth. Things are only compounded as I don’t see him every day.

Yesterday when I picked him up, we began the same way. He was mad I was there, he wanted to play with his friends. Traffic was bad again and we still needed to figure out dinner. I did not want a repeat of the night before. I made a game time decision and asked him if he wanted to go eat at his favorite restaurant, Din Tai Fung. He got really excited. It was a 10 minute drive going in the opposite direction of traffic and we got right into the restaurant with no wait as we arrived at 5pm. Win.

We ate green beans and dumplings and noodles and he drank his 3 drinks (milk, water, Sprite – yes, I caved and gave him a very special treat of soda) out of crazy straws. He was happy. A little on the edge and tired, but happy. This made me really happy. We capped the night off with a few video games next door at Lucky Strike. He didn’t want to leave after his 2 games, but he did with no fight. He crashed in the car and I was able to give him a bath and get him to bed with no major meltdown.

It was like a delicate terrorist negotiation. No one was injured. I consider this a success. I obviously can’t do this every time I pick him up, but it felt great to step out of the routine a little and do something special. It is my instinct to cook for Oliver and have our evening routine at home, but it’s also really good for me to remember that when I can be a little bit flexible, the outcome can be so positive and enjoyable!

And I got to have dinner at one of my fave places with leftovers for lunch. Win/win!

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