At the beginning, when we first came home with Elliot, it was an adjustment. There was some jealousy and some pouting. More than a few tears were shed (from both of us) and I struggled with how to make sure both kids were my priority. I did my best to make sure I got at least some alone time each week with Andrew, to make sure he knew how important he was.
Eventually we settled into a rhythm. Andrew stopped pouting so much when I had to ask him to wait. He wasn't always happy about it, but he would wait. Sometimes asking him to wait comes with setbacks, like on Saturday when he pooped his pants while waiting for me to get done putting Elliot down for a nap. I got upset with him because I had been asking him all day if he needed to go the bathroom (he didn't poop the day before) and he kept saying he didn't. It pains me to admit that I scolded him for pooping his pants. As soon as I did I felt immense guilt. I mean, he's three, and accidents happen. How could I possibly get mad at him for not waiting for me?
After I got him cleaned up and his clothes changed I sat down and hugged him. I felt bad for being short with him and wanted to make up for it so I asked him when he wanted to do the next day. Instantly he said "I want to go to the 'quarium!".
So yesterday we got up and had breakfast. Once he was done I asked what he wanted to do and he again said he wanted to go to the aquarium. J was trying to talk him in to waiting til next weekend since he had stuff he wanted to get done at the house. Instead I suggested that I get Elliot down for a nap and then I would take Andrew by myself - so we could have some one on one time. I got everything ready, nursed Elliot and put him down for a nap, and we were off.
We'd been to the aquarium plenty of times and he had always had fun, but hadn't shown the interest in everything like he did this time. Other times he had looked at the fish quickly and ran from thing to thing, not spending much time. This time he was all about looking at everything. First we watched Liberty, the bald eagle at the beginning of the exhibits:
He was excited until the eagle spread her wings and hopped to another branch - then he was a little freaked out and yelled. So we headed in to the other exhibits:
He loved looking in every tank - exclaiming over the fish and crabs and lobsters. I smiled every time he found something else.
We went out to where you can feed the stingrays and bought some shrimp so he could do it. We tried it one other time but the fish ate all his shrimp that time. This time he did awesome and every piece was eaten by a ray:
We did the touch tank and he got to hold a sea star (even though I had to keep reminding him not to squeeze). After that we headed to look at the great ocean tank and I got someone to take a picture of us:
We spent some time looking at the sharks and turtles and all the cool fish in the tank:
I sat and smiled at every exclamation of "Look at this one! Look at that shark!". He ran over to more tanks and had some stare downs with the fish:
After all the fish we headed over to the Madagascar exhibit so he could check out the lemurs:
We played back in the toddler play area and I could barely drag him out of there:
Every time I asked him if he wanted to go look at more animals or get something to eat he just kept saying "No thanks! I'm fine! I'm still playing!". Finally I dragged him away with the promise of snacks because it was time to start heading home. I knew Elliot had to be getting up from his nap since we'd been there for two hours already. We headed out with a quick stop at the desk to buy our commemorative photo. When we went outside he wanted to see the frog statue:
While we headed home he happily chatted about feeding the stingrays and looking at fishes. I sat in the front seat smiling while I listened to him. I know I may not always be able to give him the attention he wants right away, but I will always make time for him and will do my damnedest to show him how important he is to me. I hope I am able to do that for both of my boys because they really are the two biggest pieces of my heart living outside of my body. I'm a lucky mom and I know it.