Thursday, June 23, 2011

U2 Madness and Very Well-Behaved Boys

Last night, DH and I embarked on an adventure that had been 8 months in the making. He got us tickets to the U2 concert in Baltimore--when we still lived in Baltimore and had no plans of moving. Getting to M&T Bank Stadium would have been as simple as hopping on the light rail just down the street from our house and walking a couple of blocks to the stadium. Well, now that we live in Virginia, we would have to fight traffic on the D.C. Beltway and find child care for the boys that would, for the first time ever, require someone other than DH or myself to put the boys to bed. We were very lucky in that DH's brother would be visiting us and happily offered to take care of the boys so we could enjoy the show.

Knowing full well what traffic is like on the Beltway, we left the house at 3pm in order to give up plenty of time to get to Baltimore for the show, which started at 7pm. We were planning to get to Baltimore around 5 or 5:30, grab dinner and get to the stadium in time for the opening act. Sounds like a good plan, right? Well, no... We were absolutely ill-prepared for the circus that was the U2 concert. Traffic was GOD-AWFUL. We literally crawled on the beltway. I'm fairly certain that I could have walked faster... And we thought life would improve once we got on 95. Not the case. So we decided to get on 295. That sucked too. I monitored traffic  on my phone, and although Google Maps indicated that the roads were jammed, there was no incident or accident to speak of. Only when we were about a mile outside of Baltimore did we realize that all this traffic was BECAUSE OF THE CONCERT!

Once we managed to park the car, for the bargain basement price of $30 (!!!), and get to the stadium, it really started to sink in. There were 80,000 people in attendance. I don't think I've been in any one location with so many people... It was absolutely incredible... We had an amazing time, not only because U2 is phenomenal and is probably the only band in the world that is still capable of filling an entire stadium, but because our little boys, who we left with their uncle, were fast asleep--no drama, no tears--just sleeping sweetly in their little beds.

Both of the boys were in absolute hysterics when we left the house, but five minutes after we left, my BIL texted to let us know that their tears had stopped. Phew! And he sent us updates: playing with trains, wrestling, making puzzles, eating dinner, having a bath, storytime... And finally, sleep. DH and I are always nervous about pushing the boys to go out of their routine, and I think so much of that is because establishing and maintaining that routine has done so much to preserve our own sanity over the past two and a half years. Every time we've had to change things up, they've done marvelously. Whether it was transitioning them from cribs to toddler beds or going on a 9 hour road trip to Myrtle Beach, they've worked it out--sometimes better than DH and me!

So, lesson learned? We should encourage the boys to expand their boundaries, and we shouldn't be afraid to push them. I absolutely don't consider myself a helicopter mom--in fact, I'm much more attuned to the "Free-Range Kids" school of child-rearing, but there's definitely a part of my brain that loves the consistency and predictability of the boys' various routines... However, I want my boys to grow up self-assured and independent, to be aware of the consequences of their actions and to take responsibility for the things that they do. And I know that they can't grow into that unless I come to terms with the fact that they're not little babies anymore. I should practice what I preach since I'm always telling them that they're not babies--that they're big boys now and have to do big boy things (like sharing!). Easier said than done, right? As I'm sure The Caffeinated Mommy will attest, having celebrated her younger son's first birthday, we mommies often want our babies to stay babies... But, I keep reminding myself, what I think is best for me isn't necessarily what's best for little big boys.

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