Do you ever have one of those days when your gut instinct says "stay home" but you ignore it completely and venture forth only to return like a dog with your tail between your legs? The tot got up at 5:30 this morning. He was laying in his bed chatting. This in itself is annoying but only made more so by the fact that he stayed awake talking to his stuffed friends for more than an hour last night.
Because of this recent desire to socialize with his bedfellows, I had recently procured a "bunny clock" from One Step Ahead. The clock is adorable and easy to use. It shows a lighted up "awake" bunny when it's time to get up and a tucked-in sleeping bunny when it's time to sleep. I have tried to stress to the tot - "When the bunny is sleeping, you need to be sleeping. You can NOT get up unless the bunny is awake." At first he seemed to buy this logic but he has recently discarded it and gone back to keeping his own schedule.
In any case, we had a play date scheduled for the Children's Museum in town this morning. Unfortunately, it was scheduled for lunch time and I was concerned that because of the early wake up, we would need to be home for an early nap. But, I went ahead and got ready for the gym as per usual and we made it to the gym and through our shower and wardrobe changes without incident. So, against my better judgement (and gut instinct - see above) I packed a lunch and piled us both in the car and off to the museum we went.
Ben was very excited and started running from exhibit to exhibit as soon as we arrived. However, it only took a few minutes before the lack of sleep started to show. Initially it was just his running away from me and refusing to listen when I called him over. Then he began to get whiny about having to wait for the elevator and wanting to do the exhibits on the next floor NOW. Finally, he ran over to a little boy playing in the train exhibit and pulled a train away from him. When I told him to give it back and find another, he ran off with it and threw it on the floor! It was very clearly the end of the line for the little guy, so I returned the train to the boy and scooped up my own tired toddler. He fussed and cried the whole way out the door but as soon as we hit the street, he put his head on my shoulder and rested.
Once we got to the car and started home, he was a tired little zombie and all I could think was how bad I felt for bringing him out in the first place when he was clearly exhausted and needed to be in the calm quiet of home. Of course, I had pushed it initially because I felt guilty about keeping him home and bored all week during this heat wave and wanted him to have fun. But I ended up feeling just as guilty for taking him out at all. Sometimes I think guilt is a requirement of motherhood. In any case, next time I won't look at the current display of model behavior, but the past experience of dealing with an over-tired toddler before making these decisions.