Saturday, February 10, 1979 Well, back from a long, exciting day on the town with the boys. Alan is on call tonight, so we got up bright and early and took a bus down to retrieve the car for the weekend. We took a trip to K-Mark to get (among other more needed items) a special toy truck for Aaron  as a consolation prize for postponing our trip. He is more crazy about his grandparents than just about anybody else I can think of, and he was pretty crest-fallen over the delay. However, Alan will be done with school soon, and I’m sure Aaron will get lots of time with the you then!
Aaron is supposed to be coloring valentines, but, he’s finally mastered cutting with scissors, and now every time he gets done coloring a page he starts cutting it into narrow strips. Oh well!
Back to my story! From K-Mart we went to the Christian bookstore to get Little Visits With God and a couple of object lesson books for the boys. From there to Burger Chef for lunch, then Farmer Jack’s for groceries. It was a long day, but they never complained. A miracle!? I keep expecting Michael to start getting balky, but he’s still sweet. Both the boys have really been harder to control since Alan’s been on emergency surgery working 90-100-hour weeks. I teasingly told Alan the other night that I hadn’t realized he did anything around the house until he started working nights. Even one extra hour being with the kids at night makes a big difference in their dispositions. After not seeing Alan for about three days, Aaron told me, “Tell Daddy to stop working so hard and come home to play again.”
I can’t tell how Alan’s absence affects Michael [16-months-old], but he is certainly ecstatic whenever he sees Alan. Michael is really growing these days. He’s learned how to get out of his crib and into Aaron’s, so there are regular battles over bedtime these days! He has also just about taken over Aaron’s job of carrying things to the dinner table (only selected items, like unbreakables!). He also—amazingly—likes to pick up toys and helps me straighten up. The other day he found a Kleenex and threw it in the trash. Of course, he has also been known to throw toys in the trash, so I’m not too sure how virtuous he was being, in retrospect. He’s the family smoocher. All we have to do is mention being “sweet,” or kissing, and he’s all puckered up. He loves best of all to kiss Aaron, which meets with mixed results.
Both the boys are really in love with their legos. What great toys for kids! Michael can stack them, and Aaron can make the models from off the box on the big ones. Aaron’s set (the small kind) makes good trampling grounds for Michael whenever I’m not looking. I think Mike likes the sound, like shuffling through leaves or something. Aaron spends hours building big square trucks and wagons, tractors, and a few houses, boxes, boats, and whatever. Most of his creations look fairly similar, with one or two distinctions, but he’s pretty sure what they are.
Alan and I are just basically on survival this month. He is usually home less than nine hours so does little besides eat, bathe, read, and sleep. We usually try to talk between bites and soapsuds. If the boys haven’t been sleeping too long, he often gets them up for just a few minutes to say “hi,” which they are always more than happy to do. I find that it makes me feel more introspective, and I entertain myself by doing things like cutting 18” off my hair, throwing out my makeup, cleaning cupboards, etc.
Monday, February 12, 1979 Foiled again! Alan called to say he’d probably be home “early,” and since the boys hadn’t napped all afternoon they were ready to sleep by 8:00 pm. By the time Alan arrived I was relaxed from a nice, hot bath and was all ready for a (somewhat) leisurely candlelight dinner. Except. Except just as Alan walked in the door Aaron woke up screaming with an earache. Alan had to whisk him right over to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital for penicillin and eardrops. Poor little guy—it’s about the fourth time this winter.
I find the days seem to go rather slowly this month. Alan is putting in another 95 hours this week, and I think he’s lost about five pounds in two weeks. Luckily this rotation will only last ‘til March. I already have trouble seeing him if he turns sideways. He’s supposed to be learning a little about emergency surgery, but in reality he’s learning a lot about nursing, respiratory therapy, radiology, and all the ancillary services since none of them do their jobs. Detroit General is the hospital where one of Alan’s friends panicked and asked a nurse for help. She responded, “Honey, it’s 11:00 pm, and I’m goin’ home. He’s a just gonna hav ta die I guess.”
The boys are in fine form again (except for tonight’s earache) after a somewhat trying adjustment period to being fatherless. Aaron has taken to calling himself “the man in the family” and looks after Michael quite well. I even found him sponging up some water Michael splashed out of the tub a couple of nights ago. Aaron is also being trained to answer the phone (with supervision), so don’t be surprised if he answers. He reported to me accurately once that “Uncle Keith called and said he’d try again later (I was out emptying trash), but I think you should call him right now.” In fact, he tells me his opinion all the time. I think it must be a new stage, but he constantly contradicts me. I mean, to the point of being ridiculous. If I say it looks cold out, he says it’s warm. If I comment that I’m going to vacuum, he says it would be better to scour the sink. Advice, please! Is it time to ignore his contrariness, or should I take him seriously and train him to be more respectful? Is this the next stage after the Terrible Two battle over learning obedience?
Michael’s coming along well. He’s learned two new words: ca(r), and di(aper). The other day he was eating his vegetable soup, and all of a sudden he exclaimed, “ba(ll), ba!” Before I could figure out what he meant, he had fired two peas at me. If he doesn’t turn out to play some kind of sports, I’ll be amazed. He would rather play ball than do almost anything. In fact, the only thing I know he loves better than ball is Aaron. He has started climbing into bed with Aaron every time he wakes up. At first Aaron threw a fit about it, but I told him about how I used to sneak into bed with my big sister Annie when I’d get scared at night, and how nice it is to be able to cuddle when it’s cold, so now he is almost as pleased over the arrangement as Michael is. It’s really gratifying to see them becoming such good friends after such intense initial jealousy. I hope it lasts at least a little while longer!
Did I tell you there’s no such thing as a loser in our family? For some reason, Aaron never learned the word, so now when he competes with everybody to see who can finish his oatmeal first, it’s just, “I’m the first winner,” or “You’re the third winner.” Since I’m usually the last one done, I never bother to tell him that really I’m the loser. I figure that if both boys finish a good breakfast before I do…I’m a winner!
We’re still trying to figure out what to do with our time between April and June. No thunderbolts have struck yet, but I’m sure the Lord must have something. Well, maybe I’d better start to heat up our dinner again and see if Alan will show up!