Charlie is having a great trip. Wes wishes more than anything we would just take him home where he could go back to sleeping sixteen hours a day. Today as I sat on the curb at the Big Cat Exhibit at the zoo, futilely patting him on the back as he screamed and writhed and strained against the stroller straps like a coke head in the back of a police car I wanted to give him his wish. If by home you mean an orphanage in Eastern Europe. (Before you ask, I tried, in order, holding him, letting him walk, feeding him contraband raisins, his smelly blanket, bouncing him like a newborn, and firm encouragement to shape the hell up).
But then Charlie danced up to me with Godmother and Godfather in tow, face shining in delight (and also sweat) and exclaimed "Mama!! We saw LIONS! Come SEE!" The kid was vibrating with excitement. It was magical.
Wes fell asleep in the stroller after we had some lunch and I sat with him and read my book while Charlie and our friends toured the Amazonia exhibit where Charlie got to see MONKEYS! and FISH! and HUUUUGE FISH! and a TURTLE OMG! He ran out of the building and said "Mama! I saw a monkey and it was SO CUTE!" then said "I love my Godmother!!" and hugged her tightly. And then we watched two baby bears playing together while their mother sat nearby, disinterestedly eating some leaves. Charlie adored the zoo. Wes slept. Or screamed.
The story was much the same yesterday at the Natural History Museum. Charlie COULD NOT believe how cool everything was and Atilla the Hun screamed like we were trying to murder him the entire time we were in the building. Later, he put on a show for the enjoyment of all the tourists on the National Mall, where I decided he could scream himself hoarse because I was washing my hands of his entire social upbringing.
Tonight, after the zoo fiasco (Wes)/day of awesome (Charlie, me, Godparents), we attended a pre-wedding family barbecue in a park. I set Wes and Charlie up on a picnic blanket with plates loaded with mini sandwiches, cheese, cookies, and fruit, then got the heck out of there so I could go smell everyone's cocktails and eat half a round of brie. Then while I was finally starting to relax I noticed some commotion in the corner of my eye. I returned to the picnic blanket to find Wes lying face down in the grass, screaming, his empty plate overturned and food strewn EVERYWHERE. Charlie deadpanned "Wes put all his food on the blanket" then popped another bite of baba ganoush in his mouth.
Charlie played soccer with some (much older and very kind) kids. I loved watching his intense little face as he did his best to keep up with the older boys (wearing the miner's helmet Godmother bought him at the zoo, adorable). Wes pulled handfuls of grass out of the ground and made a pile of them on my skirt. Then there were a couple of cute moments where both boys were throwing pebbles into a stream and then it was time to hold Wes sideways as he screamed and tried to kick me all the way to the car. He fell asleep quickly in the car but is NOT ASLEEP NOW. I mean, he wasn't an hour ago, at nine. I'm afraid to go up there again and I haven't heard any screaming.
TOMORROW is the WEDDING. The ONE activity of the whole trip during which the kids have to not behave like Gene Simmons. I am not worried about Charlie. I may be stopping for some Benadryl all the same.