It should be all about me. After all, I'm pretty awesome. But I digress.
I have been worrying a lot lately about Dallas and how he's left out of a lot of things. He's the youngest, so he doesn't get to do as much as Lottie does. When we have play dates, they're usually with Lottie's friends, so he's stuck with a bunch of girls. I can't even begin to count the number of times he has been dressed up like a princess, invited to tea parties, or fed pretend baby food. Due to his allergies to dairy and eggs, he can't eat the same snacks as a lot of other kids. It was easier when he was younger because he didn't notice. Now that he's getting older and much more verbal, he wants to know why he can't have pizza or ice cream, string cheese or movie popcorn. He's still really ambivalent about swimming whereas Lottie would be in a pool 24/7 if I would allow it. This makes summer activities difficult, and he ends up staying home while Lottie and I soak up the sun. He's missing out on summer school because he still won't potty train. On the days we drop Lottie off at summer camp, Dallas always says, "Is it a me day today?" (He can't go back to preschool until he's fully potty trained.) Picture my face crumpling every time he says that while at the same time wanting to scream, "Then ditch the diapers for the love of Jeebus!" I don't scream that, of course, but I think it. A lot.
Dallas also really hates loud noises. He doesn't like the blender, the vacuum, the mower, or even if a character in a book yells. And fireworks? Fuggedaboudit. We hadn't left the Magic Kingdom one night when the evening fireworks started, and let's just say that "magical" didn't describe Dallas's reaction. With that in mind, I was worried about how we would celebrate America's birthday. We received a fantastic invitation to join Trevor's buddy in his suite at Whitaker Bank Ballpark, home of the Lexington Legends. I immediately told Trevor that he should take Lottie and I would stay home with Dallas. My parents, who happened to be in town, offered to sit with Dallas so I could go to the ballgame, too. My first instinct was to decline because I thought it was really unfair to leave Dallas out of something else. I ended up agreeing to go, but I had misgivings. I wasn't worried about leaving him with my parents. I mean, they're my parents: I am fully aware of their bona fides as caregivers. I was concerned that Dallas would cry when we left because Mommy, Daddy, and Lottie were going out without him.
Turns out I was wrong. Wrong, wrong, super-wrong. When I told Dal that we were going to see fireworks, he looked at me solemnly and said, "I don't like fireworks. They is very loud." He didn't seem concerned at all that he wasn't going to be part of the family fun. He was thrilled, quite frankly, that he was getting some time alone with Mimi and his good buddy, Pop Pop. And you know what? He had an amazing time at home: he played, he had a snack, he read some books, and he went to bed. Simple. Good. In the morning when he got up, there were no tears or recriminations. He simply said, "Hi, Mommy. Could you get me some breakfast?" It was then that I realized that Dallas isn't necessarily the one feeling left out; I am feeling left out for him. Most of my fears are just that: MY fears. Dallas doesn't need a lot of pomp and circumstance to be happy. Give that kid a dinosaur, a toy car, a book, his Leapster, or a granola bar, and you'll get a smile. Maybe I'm just used to Lottie who believes that every day should be a party of some sort. A play date? Yes! A movie? Count her in! A birthday party? Heck yeah! But my boy is a little more low-key, and that's just who he is. And although I don't think I'll ever be able to quit feeling left out on his behalf, I can rest easier knowing that he's secure with who he is and what makes him happy. (And if he wants Mommy to continue to be happy, he had better potty train, like, yesterday.)