The other night Ace was playing jack-in-the-box with his bed. Aka getting out of his bed repeatedly and coming downstairs with some excuse. On his third time he just looked sad. Fat lip, knowing he was in trouble and having no good excuse. But what struck me was how sad he really looked. It hurt my heart. So I gently took him upstairs and we went into the other room with the rocking chair and sat down to have a chat. I asked him why was he getting out of bed so much and he said he was lonely.
He's not even three yet and he's articulating real (and sad!) emotion. I asked him what it meant to be lonely and he said that he could hear dad downstairs playing a game, and he could hear me playing with Sister, and he was up in his bed all alone, not playing at all. He was lonely. SAD! I explained to him that everyone has a bedtime and that his right now just happens to be first but that is partially because he wakes up first on many days - that while it might seem like a bummer to have to go to bed first, it's a cool privelege to get up first and have the WHOLE house all to his self... that made him smile. It's hard to explain to a three year old that we'd LOVE for your sister to go to bed at the same time as you, but it's far less of a controlled option when she's still so tiny.
We continued to talk and rock and discuss maybe Ace needed some special time with just mommy to do something that was only for him. He thought that would 'be a good idea' and was less sad at that prospect when I tucked him back into bed and kissed him good night. I headed downstairs, racking my brain on how to do something special for just Ace when Loving Husband works all day and I still have Mae ever as present as she always is. Hmmm.... I figured some craft project with construction paper would be good... I went on a Pinterest hunt! "Construction Paper Crafts" .... lots of options popped up and then I saw a variation of a robot and that got my wheels spinning...
As you recall Ace was excited to shoot robots recently on the Buzz ride in Disneyland. He also as his souvonier brought home his very own buzz gun. So what better than to create his own robot making station where him and I could craft the robots together and then he could tape them around the house and I could 'surprise' him again with the treat of being able to shoot them?? I got to work cutting, drafting, and piecing together various robot parts so that he could have enough to make a few robots without having to wait for more items to be cut. I made an example robot and set it all up. Before I went to bed his robot making station was awaiting him!
The next morning we came downstairs together and he was all excited! We got straight to work. I had to take a break at one point to change his sister's diaper and he took the initiative and made his own robot all by himself. I was pretty proud of him. We finished up the robots inbetween eating and Super Why (his favorite show these days) and then I told him about shooting them!
He got really excited and started running around the house shooting all of them. Then I told him of the grand finale of surprises, ZURG! He was hiding in the bathroom (I had taped him there before I went to bed) He ran in gun blazing... and then abruptly stopped. "Zurg doesn't have a gun, I can't shoot him." Well that's honorable, ok fine. I went over, found a scrap of paper, fashioned a gun, glued it onto his hand and Ace started shooting... and then stopped "Zurg's gun should be green..." And he ran off to go find one of his books that has Zurg in it, found a picture and showed me the gun. After studying the picture some more he also indicated that Zurg needed 'ears' (they're more horns since we're being picky...) so during nap time this mommy refashioned and armed Zurg with the proper armory so that after nap time a proper duel could occur... I hoped ;-)
So what did Mae have to do while all this assembling, shooting, and excitement was happening? Well after I completed the night before Ace's robot assembly station, I also gathered items for a sensory basket for Mae! More on that in another post.
Ace loved his special time and said "Thank you, mom for making robots with me. That was really special." And it warmed my heart - I hope he knows he is special and that he is loved. We try really hard to make sure he knows that and this day was just another fun way to show him that. At the end of the day all the robots relocated to his room, as did Zurg!