Tonight I nursed Phoebe and then put her down in her bed. I helped her say her prayers and sang her a lullaby and then reminded her that I would sit beside her as long as she was still and quiet but that if she started being silly I'd have to leave and—get this—she just...lay still...until she fell asleep...
It still took her several minutes, and I'm sure she'll be up later, but it was the easiest bedtime we've ever had with her!
She had a busy evening—our neighbours held a little marshmallow roast in their backyard so she was all hopped up on marshmallows and giggly rounds of tag—so she was ready to sleep, which I'm sure helped. But I just...you don't know how good it feels to have a bedtime! I've been 24/7 momming for so long. Knowing that she'll cooperate at bedtime is a huge deal over here.
It might mean I can actually finish my thesis this semester.
I honestly haven't been sure about my ability to pull it off because I have been so stinking tired.
Anyway, we went to a marshmallow roast this evening. It was a blast, like always. Our neighbourhood is teeming with children—so much so that when an "outsider" stopped by to pick up something our neighbours were selling and stumbled into a dozen kids riding up and down the street on their bicycles and drawing with chalk and blowing bubbles and bouncing balls, they were like, "What's going on? Is this a birthday party or something?"
"This is just...how our street is..." our neighbour said.
And the "outsiders" just gaped at the amazingness. Because it really is like a party.
The kids typically get along great and everyone is just so thoughtful. For example, the kids like to play games with sidewalk chalk. They'll either draw big hop-scotch/obstacle-course mazes or will design a blueprint of "houses" for each of them (a big rectangle, in which they'll draw a bed and a couch and things like that). Or they'll just draw...or whatever.
Anyway, the other day a neighbour (J) came by with a box of chalk to help replenish our stash, since she'd noticed how often all the neighbourhood kids use our chalk (which, to be fair, was a gift from Auntie Josie in the first place), even though her little boy isn't usually one of the kids out there using our chalk (he's too little to play outside unattended).
Another neighbour (P) is retiring from teaching, so built a "Little Free Library" in front of their house and has been stocking it with books from their classroom. They put a bench out beside it for the kids to sit on while they read. It's great!
Another neighbour (S) put her name in the ring for a (super annoying) claw machine game in our local "buy nothing" group. "I'd love to be considered!" she said. "I'd put this in the garage for all the neighbourhood kids to play!" And I commented below and said, "And I'd love for you to be considered so this can live at your house and not mine because I'm sure my kids would love it...but am equally sure I don't want it in my house!"
To be fair, the person who posted it posted a little video showing how loud and obnoxious the sound effects were. But, my neighbour was selected as the next owner and true to her word it lives in the garage and all the neighbourhood kids take turns playing on it.
What we were really talking about, though, was the marshmallow roast. Our neighbour (L) frequently holds marshmallow roasts when the weather is nice and this was to be the first marshmallow roast of 2023. I don't know how the kids heard about it, but Zoë came bursting through the front door after dinner (she'd tiptoed outside to play, leaving the rest of us to clean up) to share the news that "Little Zoey's family" was going to be hosting a marshmallow roast.
"Were you invited?" I asked.
"Not exactly," Zoë said.
"Then I don't know that we can go," I said.
"But...marshmallow roast!" she protested.
"We can't just wander into their backyard just because they have a fire lit in their fire pit! What if they're having specific people over? What if they just want to do something as a family? Unless we're specifically invited, we aren't invited."
Zoë ran away to hide and pout. We finished cleaning up. And then we dragged her off on a family walk...she dangled her arms like a disgruntled gorilla the entire way.
But we ran into one of Benjamin's little friends who announced that he was attending the marshmallow roast, so I told Zoë that when we got home I'd check my phone to see if I'd missed a text message or something and, as it turns out, I had.
L had texted at 5:30 to invite us to a marshmallow roast at 7:15. We just arrived home at 7:05, so we were still on time and everything!
The kids had a great time running around with all the many children while the grown ups chatted and the teenagers (Rachel and Miriam) finished off the bag of marshmallows.
L was super impressed (or horrified?) that our crew went through an entire bag of marshmallows, so evidently she hasn't fed teenagers lately. Rachel, Miriam, and a couple of their friends can go through an entire bag of marshmallows in a single evening (I'm not saying it's healthy; I'm just saying that they can). At this marshmallow roast we had 17 children (6 of which were ours) and 14 adults! Going through a bag of marshmallows with that many people is easy.
Anyway, we went to the marshmallow roast—making Zoë's evening and wearing Phoebe out—and have the best little cul-de-sac on the planet.