Yesterday and today were both challenging afternoons. Will was unable to fall asleep for his afternoon nap both days, which meant that making it to dinner time was a struggle. After all of our travels we’ve learned that we have a pretty easy-going kid, except when he is overly tired. When he’s overly tired he has many moves that will be familiar to anyone who has parented a toddler: the wet noodle, the flailing arms, the scream… My hope for both afternoons was to avoid a tantrum, but I had prepared myself for a long afternoon.
To keep Will calm yesterday I brought him outside to play. He was thrilled to help me bring trash to the shed. As we were playing, our neighbor walked by and we said hi. Our neighbor has a large garden and sells vegetables and flowers at the weekly farmers’ market. She remembered how Will was munching on a pea at last week’s farmer’s market and asked if he would like to come pick some peas. We ambled down the street to her garden, stopping to splash in every puddle along the way. She showed us the vegetables and flowers in her greenhouses. We picked some peas for Will, which he happily munched on. Will was fascinated by the whole affair and his fascination helped keep that afternoon tantrum free.
Today, we were in for another long haul. To make matters worse, there was some thunder this afternoon, so we couldn’t spend the whole time outside. I had just finished a phone conversation when I saw a different neighbor and her preschooler walking by my yard. I waved and Will and I went outside to chat. They came in to visit for a bit and the kids played really well together.
The icing on the cake though was what she brought with her. Will is obsessed with planes right now. Every time one flies over all action stops and he points and says “plane.” The other day when I had to pick up some cargo at the airport Will became as stiff as a board when I had to put him in the carseat- he didn’t want to leave the planes. My neighbor’s husband is a pilot, so she had brought over a whole stack of his professional magazines. Guess what is on nearly every page of these magazines? After they left Will spent a good half hour just flipping through one magazine pointing out all the different planes.
While some may always depend on the kindness of strangers, in this case it was the kindness of neighbors. Completely turned my days around.