Monday morning: The house a mess, breakfast is in pieces all around the living room, Ittybit is clamoring for a freeze pop and The Champ has decided clothing is optional. He's particularly proud of the temporary tattoos he's designed in marker around parts usually covered with pants.
None of it really out of the ordinary until the little man tugs on my leg, holds up a tiny plastic bulldozer, and tells me he'd like to get dressed. He's got plans for the truck in his sandbox.
His father built the Taj Mahal of sandboxes for his birthday after he'd started playing on his own in the dirt of the carport. It took a truckload of sand and an entire day to build.
Which should have been a predictor that after a few minutes in his sandy oasis The Champ would declared it "too dirty" and refused to stay.
So, even if it was midnight, we'd be making our way outside with flashlights just to encourage him to play. Getting him dressed is usually the bigger problem.
He selects clothes he will be seen in (Spider-Man jammies and black Chuck Taylor high-tops).
He is patient as I try to get his sneakered feet through the leg openings (because that's how he rolls). He's even more patient as we traipse outside to the sandbox and find the tarp protecting it from the weather and the wilderness has taken on ponds of rainwater.
The legs of my pants get drenched as pick up the corners trying to empty the sheath.
He stands with his toy, watching me silently, as I make a lagoon around the play area. In another few years he will, no doubt, giggle at my comic ineptness. Right now he's as enthralled with the spilling of water as if he where watching flames dancing in a fire.
When I'm done, I pull the tarp into the sun to let it dry. Another few minutes of straightening and smoothing.
He hadn't moved from his spot by the side of the box.
That's when it happened.
"MMMMMMMMMMMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" He screams in alarm.
"Dat cat is peeing in the sandbox."
And there she was, the good cat Ariel, squatting center stage.
I scooped out the sand with a shovel and disposed of it in the flower bed we've mostly ignored this season, but his desire to push around sand had already fled.
"It's too dirty in there now," he says.