"Daddy, it's time to wake up!" says the wet Jack-Jack themed son I know as Devin. The clock says it's 6:04 A.M., but Devin knows it as breakfast time. "Just a few more minutes" I tell him, as I try to press his snooze button. I press it repeatedly, but my words come too late. Not more than a minute goes by before the four year old alarm clock comes walking in, pre-programmed for "Daaaad, wake up! I'm hungry!" It seems like just months ago when they were making their own waffles for breakfast. I wonder where we took a wrong turn as I attempt to drift off into sleep with little luck.
After a few minutes of diaper changing, waffle making, and drink pouring (Combined with a little Mickey Mouse on the TV), I make it back to bed and get to sleep in until 7:00. It was nice while it lasted, but now that Mickey is all over, it's time to get up. I had 2 showings for our house today, and both started at 10:00... leaving me 2.75 hours to get 48 hours of work done (The only thing worse than working on the weekend is working on a weekend while trying to entertain kids), clean the messes the kids made while I slept in, get everyone dressed, and head out the door. As I stumble out of bed for the 2nd time, I'm immediately confronted by Socks the Cat. "Meow!" she tells me. Although it takes me a few minutes of her repeating the same thing over and over, I eventually realize that perhaps I should feed her. Oddly enough, that's one of those Mommy things, and Dad's never attempted it. I find some food in the fridge, and based on the amount missing from the can, I decide a third-cup seems about the right amount. That, or a sixth is the right amount... or maybe half. I go with a third, figuring it was half way between my other two options anyway. Socks the Cat seems happy enough with my decision, and decides to leave me alone for now.
I get to work on my paid work after refilling a few drinks, and explaining that people are still hungry because they never ate their waffles I woke up at 6:00 to get them. They seem satisfied with the explanation, and leave me to do what I need to.
8:30 comes around, and I realize two important things - I only have about an hour to get the house clean and get everyone out, and I haven't heard the kids make any noise for quite some time. Lack of noise is always bad. Unless, of course, you're not suppose to be watching the kids... then it's great. But that rarely happens, and certainly not this weekend. I set off to find the kids, and they're right where they should be. Playing peacefully together while making a total mess of the playroom. Luckily for me, Devin just learned the cleanup song. "Clean up, clean up. Everybody everywhere. Clean up clean up, everybody do your share." It has a great ring to it, and any time Trevor sings it, he instantly starts picking things up. Devin was nice enough to sing it for me as I picked things up. I guess he hasn't quite learned what the words mean yet. Meanwhile, I hear the sound of legos being dumped all over the floor coming from the basement. The cycle continues until about 9:00. I decide that my best option is to try to keep the kids entertained and out of the house for the day. After a few more cycles of cleaning the rooms I just cleaned, we all get dressed and head to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. Trevor's first choice was Starbucks, and although I do like paying $5 for a cup of coffee without refills, their breakfast choices seem rather limited. I went with his second choice. Maybe tomorrow I'll let Devin choose.
Breakfast at the nice sit-down restaurant went better than expected. There was one moment where I was a little concerned when Devin decided we wanted to see where the fire exit door went to, but I averted any alarms sounding by grabbing him just before his hands made it to the convenient push-bar on the door.
Following breakfast, we headed over to the Woodfield mall for some far-from-home time passing. First stop (after riding escalators up and down many times... who doesn't love that??) was the Disney Store. The nice greeter lady told us all about there specials for the day, then started asking Trevor about what his favorite toys were. "Cars!" he answers without thinking. Delighted to hear his response, she directs him towards the ever-expanding Cars(tm) section. He looks for a moment, then goes back to the nice lady. "Excuse me", he says in his attention getting voice. "Yes?" she replies. "Do you have any Matchbox(tm) cars? I really like those." Did I mention he wanted to just go to Target for the day? After finding some clearance Mickey, Dash, and Jack the Pumpkin King shirts ($2.99 each!), we head over to the Lego store.
I've always enjoyed the Lego store. Not only do they have legos, but they also have little areas where you can take your kids to be entertained as they build legos to race down the 2-foot track. The only downside to this is the fact that there are 15 kids gathered around the 2-foot track and car building area. If only it were a private event... someplace other than home. We pick up a couple Bionicles and continue on our walk. We stopped by the Discovery store, where Trevor found a book of the Human Body - each page was a recreation of a different system, and when you put them all together, it made a full skeleton with all the internal organs. He loved it, but then Devin took an interest in it too. As Devin attempted to remove the liver, I recalled the pop-up books we have at home... and the way they don't really have anything in them to pop up any more. As I thought about how difficult it would be to tape a spleen back into a book, I decided it was time to find another activity.
I asked Trevor what he'd like to do next. "Ikea!" was his first choice (though he didn't use a hyperlink when he said it). I told him we really had no reason to go there, and he reminded me that Devin needs his own weasel because he's always taking Trevor's. Thinking that every family needs at least two weasel's, I agree and we head for Ikea.
After dropping Trevor off at their "Play place" - a free supervised play area for potty-trained kids (with a limit of an hour), Devin and I head off in search of more rodents. Although we found many rats, spiders, and snakes, we never did find any weasels. Probably too popular with the international market. We settle on a small, soft, blue dog. After time passes and our hour expires, we pick Trevor up and he tells us all about how he desperately needs a soft little blue doggy. I decide the extra $2 is worth the future arguments between the two of them and we grab a second and head out.
It takes no more than 20 seconds after leaving Ikea for Trevor to tell me he's horribly thirsty. It's only 3:00 - too early for dinner - so Trevor again suggests Starbucks. We really need to cut down on his caffeine addictions. Fortunately, there's one on the way. Though I don't know which way that is, I'm certain there's on e on the way. I decide to head over to ABT (an electronics/appliance store with plenty of kid entertainment), and we stop at Starbucks along the way for raisin cookies and over-priced boxes of imitation milk.
We arrive at ABT, and it turns out to be a great choice. Not only do we get freshly made warm chocolate chip cookies that make in incredible mess on everything Devin touches, but we also get to see the Easter bunny. Devin got his picture taken (He's a sucker for anyone dressed in a furry outfit), but Trevor wanted nothing to do with it - at least until the Easter Bunny left. I could see a nap was in order (or maybe it was too many cookies). I preoccupied him with huge fish tanks, butterfly shadow walls, self-enclosed bubbles, and paper measuring tapes. (Who knew measuring things could be so entertaining to a 4-year old?) After reviewing the latest in technology, we headed off to dinner. Along the way, I remembered Trevor's Aunt commenting about how he needed to come spend the night, and I combined that with Mom's statement about not being home till late Monday. I made a quick call, only to find out that that night wasn't going to be tonight. I expected as much, but figured it was worth a try.
We arrived at Bob Chinn's for dinner around 4:30. Though much earlier than their standard dinner, they had their second breakfast (and ate a ton) around 10:30, so I figured it all worked out. Trevor ordered the shrimp (I talked him out of the crab legs - way too much mess and work for Dad!), Devin got the chicken fingers (much better than the chicken feet I had elsewhere), and I went with a Mai-Tai with a side of steak & shrimp. After dinner, it took both kids no more than 5 minutes to fall asleep, and I enjoyed a peaceful ride home.
The peace ended shortly after I walked through the door at home, as Trevor quickly remembered that he wanted his Bionicle put together, thereby triggering Devin to request the same. I got them all together andsent them on their way to play "quietly" in the basement while I watched "Flip This House" and wondered how they can really completely tare apart and rebuild an entire house for $15,000. Something just doesn't seem right there.
Just for the record - they were in bed by 8:00 (normal bedtime is 8:30, but they haven't learned how to tell time yet, so I can still get a break sometimes), and I expect them to wake me up at 5:00 tomorrow. I'll enjoy it while it lasts. Trevor ended the day with a request of "Can we go out for breakfast Tomorrow?" I don't know about breakfast, but I do have plans to get together with some of Trevor and Devin's friends tomorrow. They'll enjoy that...