Abba is off now, for the next five weeks, and I have every intention of taking advantage of his presence to do lots and lots of things--more excursions with the kids en famille, and also more 1:1 parent-child time. Today Abba took Iyyar to the pediatrician for a blood draw (the celiac test) and I went with Barak and Avtalyon on the bus to go to Trader Joe's. By all reports the blood draw went amazingly well; I called ahead to find out when Marlene, the Good Phlebotomist, would be around, and Abba says the whole thing took under a minute: she hit the vein on the first try and that was that. Barak and Avtalyon and I, meanwhile, went to TJ's to pick up tons and tons of oatmeal and high-soluble-fiber food (as we take a stab at the IBS diet--can't hurt, anyway, while we're waiting to see what the celiac results are).
Going to TJ's with Barak qualifies as a full-on Trip, partly because of the joys of bus-riding, partly because of those fun little shopping carts and the promise of a helium balloon and granola bar, and partly because of the close proximity of a most excellent thrift shop with bins of toys marked 25 cents, 50 cents, and $1. Our haul for today: one Little People train engine that plays a tune when you press the smokestack; one Evil Robot; three miniature Beanie Babies, specifically koala, cat, and leopard; one worker man helmet, and one blue plastic hammer. Total cost: $3.25, plus tax. Barak was in transports of ecstasy the whole way home with said Evil Robot ("Imma! Look Imma! He has a claw hand that opens and closes like this! He has an engine on his back! He's gonna fight the Hulk, Imma. I think he's gonna beat the Hulk.") When we got off the bus, I spotted Abba and Iyyar on their way home from the pediatrician's, and Barak got to present Iyyar with his worker man ensemble. He was, needless to say, delighted, and much high-volume banging (nothing to bang on? No problem! just bang into the air and yell "bang! bang!" really really loudly) ensued.
Speaking of high volume, have I mentioned--I'm sure I have--Iyyar's earsplitting firetruck impersonation (intruckation?) Lately I've heard another version of it--from Avtalyon, while driving his own little cars around the floor. It's pretty amusing, watching this potbellied little person squatting on the floor, engrossed in his plastic concrete mixer, sounding its siren.
One other thing about the trip--the "promise of granola bar" part. I let Barak put a box of peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars in his little cart, as I always do, and then put them in his own backpack for transport. Once we got outside, he started asking me, "When are we going to have our snack?" and pointing out convenient locations. "There's a bench right there, Imma. There's a park. Can we go play in the park? We could have our snack in the park." I said I thought we should save our snack for when we were waiting for the bus, a time of enforced and otherwise boring bench-sitting. He didn't really want to wait that long, but just as the preoccupation with the granola bar got really overwhelming, we were at the thrift shop and the Evil Robot discovery distracted him. Anyway, once out of the store we did sit down on the bus stop bench, and Barak requested his granola bar. "It's in your bag," I told him. "You're in charge of snack." "Oh!" he said, a little surprised. "I forgot." He opened his bag, pulled out the box, opened it, and took out a granola bar--and handed the first one to me.
Am I allowed to say it? So sweet. And on the way home, as Avtalyon got more and more irritated with his prolonged confinement in the stroller, Barak played with him so nicely. I had Avtalyon's stroller facing sideways, so that he was right next to a seat, and he had his little train in his hands. All he did, for at least half the trip, was put the train on the edge of the seat, let go, and let the slope of the seat bottom take the train to the other edge of the seat--out of reach. Then he'd look beseechingly at Barak, who would hand it back to him. Again. And again. And again. A few times he'd say, "This is the last time. If you drop it again I'm not giving it back to you any more." But then, you know, Avtalyon would look very sad, and give him this very winning look, and he'd relent, and give him the train again, and Avtalyon would giggle, and Barak would giggle, and the next thing you know, well... Barak was playing another round of Drop the Train and Get It Back.
I think Avtalyon is training him well for future Abba-hood. Don't you?