I had a babysitter scheduled for this evening. At 7 p.m., his mom showed up on our door steps a little frazzled. Her babysitting son had been in a car accident. Fortunately, he wasn't hurt, but the car was a little banged up. (The whole interaction made me think our current bickering issues were going to seem trivial compared to what challenges may arise in less than a decade!)
I told his anxious mom to go home. She needed to spend time with her son, and my plans could be altered. Then I broke the news to the older boys, "No babysitter." I followed up with a recap of the accident.
(Funny sidebar: During my discourse, Connor ask if he should sing a sad song. I asked him why. He said in all the sad parts of movies a sad song is playing in the background! His comments made me chuckle!)
The boys were practically in hysterics upon hearing the news: no babysitter, just mom. You see, babysitters are a big deal to the boys. Babysitters do things like let them watch TV for hours. Babysitters don't balk when they ask to play an endless amount of electronic games. Babysitters give them "midnight snacks" at 7 p.m. Babysitters let them eat sugary treats...and drink juice with a meal...and bring snacks in front of the TV. Why wouldn't they love babysitters?
Although it's hard to compete with my teenage counterparts, I offered the boys a couple of "treats" during bedtime. We're not a family that easily deviates from routine, so something like this is shocking and welcomed (generally) by the under eight crew. The boys did partake in some "midnight snacks" (as my non-time telling sons referred to it). Frosty O cereal and bagels smothered with creamy peanut butter served as a precursor to our bedtime books.
After snacks, I actually read to Cooper alone. The experience was a huge treat. I was able to cuddle Cooper and just Cooper, spending time with him as an individual and embracing his unique personality.
During that time, Caleb taught Connor how to play Uno. I observed some of the tutorial. Caleb relished in his role as "teacher" and provided some good instructions to his younger brother. (Although I did catch him offering a couple of "pointers" that I suspected may benefit the teacher more than the student.)
The night did not progress as planned. Car accidents and tantrums could have turned the evening sour. But, we learned sometimes breaking our routine can be delightful too!