Thursday, June 12 was definitely the best day of last week. Amirah had been wanting to do the *whole* science museum here for the longest time, so we packed up all of us plus lunch and did it! We had a great time. I brought the double stroller plus the Ergo backpack (my one splurge this time around - GREAT backpack; I wish I'd had one all along!!!!!!). I shuffled Raizel, Avi, and Eli between the two seats in the stroller and the backpack. They all liked having multiple options and it really kept everyone pretty happy. Avi took a nap at the museum, then Avi and Raizel got their big naps in the car on the way home.
Soon after we got home, papa got home, then our babysitter arrived! Mama, papa, and the Bigs headed out for an evening of adventures while the Littles stayed with the babysitter. We took dinner outside and had a great time, then off to a creek to look at ducks, to the teacher store to play with trains (and buy stickers; Eli also got a "school" book and he was so totally excited), then to Petco to look at the animals, then to Baskin-Robbins for, guess what? Ice cream! :) We had 4 birthday coupons for free ice creams. So we did 4 free things. Pretty good, especially since we had to pay for babysitting. Totally worth it though. Eli was positively beaming from all the special attention. It was so good for the two Bigs to have a special outing. This has also culminated in altering our parenting approach.
Dean and I had been thinking of his time after work as helping to relieve me from the intensity of parenting Avi and Raizel. Then I realized that really, for me, the main stress was *not* coming from intensively parenting them but from what it often meant for Eli and Amirah - that there was less time focused on them individually. Eli has been especially sensitive to this, I think mostly because the relationships have altered his position in the family much more radically than any of the rest of us. I am still mama; papa is still papa; Amirah is still the oldest; but Eli is no longer the baby (x 2!). So instead of thinking of papa's homecoming as relief time, we're going to have him focus tons on Amirah and Eli. He'll take them to the library, the park, and play with legos and rocket ships and blocks. Avi and Raizel really need most of their needs met by mama, and Eli seems to REALLY need his papa. So, that's our new plan!