A couple years ago I created "tea time" for me and the boys. It usually fell during the time between when they woke up from a nap and when Kevin got home from work. This is THE LONGEST period of the day.
The boys (at the time, consisting of Lou and Ben) and I would sit at the dining room table and I would served them tea in real tea cups (Ok, that was just for me. They got hot chocolate in real coffee cups), along with a special snack. Sometimes the snack really was special, but more often than not it was a neatly arranged snack on a pretty plate.
During tea time the boys have to make sure they use their manners and we used this time to talk about stuff. What do they want to do this weekend? What's going on at school? What kind of books should we get at the library? Whatever came to mind we talked about. They have to pace themselves with their snack and drink while talking, not gulping it down as they normally do. We don't have anything else on, not even music. We just sit and talk and focus on each other.
For me it's been a huge help in adding a calming element to the day, especially at that point where I'm going to snap. For them, it seems like they really look forward to that time of day. In fact, we have gotten away from it and they seem to miss it.
So this is where the above picture comes into play. On Sunday--the first day for all of us to be back together--I was at my wit's end. They were bouncing off the walls, fighting, wrestling, wreaking havoc. It's all understandable because they basically just got back from a two-week slumber party. They needed some time to adjust. But I wasn't ready for it. And neither was Kevin. We were happy with our calm, quiet house and then these maniacs came in and destroyed the peace. Ok, it wasn't all that intense, we were very happy to have our little guys back, but there was no slow immersion into the boy world. We dove head first into the chaos.
That's when tea time popped back into my head. I got out special plates (read: breakable) and special cups (again, breakable). I think Kevin was going to have a heart attack when he saw me give Charlie, who was not sitting in his booster seat, a ceramic cup, but he did great with it. I think that is part of it too, the trusting of the boys during this time to be careful with the plates and cups. They're more aware, if that makes any sense.
We had a tea time of m&ms and hot (lukewarm) chocolate and we talked. We talked about what it's going to be like to have a baby sister in our house. We talked about the things we wanted to do this summer. We talked about having more tea times. It was very nice. It gave us the calm that we needed to get through the next few hours before bedtime. And it helped me to see that we're going to have our crazy moments, but we'll survive, and it'll be good.