August 21, 2014
I have not been in writer mode for the past month. I’ve been, instead, in vacation mode: hooray! Some highlights:
- “special Mommy-kid day”: each kid got to choose an outing with just me one morning before my parents arrived. Audrey got her first haircut and then chose the Children’s Museum, where she loved shopping with a cart at the pretend grocery store. Theresa got her first haircut and chose the Museum of Flight, where she sat in fighter jet cockpits and pushed buttons until I was ready to pass out from hunger. Jamie went for a run with me and then chose the Great Wheel and Aquarium, spending almost the entire time (including lunch) watching the ferris wheel spin. We almost never get that kid-focused one-on-one time, and I spent chunks of time just staring at these kids, in awe of who they are.
- Potty Training: begun in early July when my parents arrived, has been very successful. One kid essentially could wear underwear all the time, even overnight (we still use Pull-Ups at night). One kid is very close to kicking the Pull-Ups at naptime, and is working on pooping on the potty instead of asking for a diaper. These two kids have now peed in a plane bathroom, in a port-a-potty, and in the woods on a travel potty. One kid is still learning–but it will be so much easier to help that kid one-on-one when it’s time. Overall the experience went much more smoothly than I had
- surprising my parents for their 40th anniversary with a family-and-close-friends party at our rental house in Chatham, MA. My brother, sister-in-law, Alan, and I actually managed to keep it a surprise until the parents came home and saw the cars in the driveway. Watching my dad get choked up as he tried to make a speech before cutting the cake: priceless.
- deciding this was my Vacation of Selfies.
- collecting shells with my five-year-old niece: getting to relive one of my favorite beach pastimes of childhood, and getting to do it with my only (and favorite!) niece. We shared our discoveries of “pretty shells” and cool rocks, and collected them all in her bucket to show her parents when we returned. It was worth the sunburn I got.
- watching my kids play in the water with their cousins. Audrey ran right in; Theresa borrowed Cody’s frog floatie device and floated to her heart’s delight. Jamie started the first day on a boogie board at the water’s edge, with no part of him touching the sand. By the end of the week, he was running into the water waist-deep, climbing onto the boogie board, falling off, and getting back on.
- many firsts at the Cape: their first time at the tramplines; their first mini-golf experience; their first ice cream at Short’n’Sweet (which everyone in my family just calls The Schoolhouse), our first Cousins’ Night Out with the girls I used to babysit for, first ladies’ night out wine tasting in Truro.
- going into vacation with the intent to relax: not bringing my laptop, checking e-mail and Facebook less often, making time for me (like beach yoga). This helped avoid the Relentless Fun spiral that my prior summers have developed.
- Aunt AJ found one of her favorite Disney story compilations, which coincided with us playing some Disney music from some old anthology cds I gave my mom probably 20 years ago. This has resulted in the kids asking for “Mary Poppins” which means playing “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” on repeat. They are starting to know other Mary Poppins songs, though, which is great, and they also ask for The Jungle Book classic, “The Bear Nesesames.”
- the immense blessing of getting to see three of my dearest college friends, thanks to my parents watching the kids for most of a day. I love these and other friends for whom time and distance matter little.
- the other immense blessing of visiting my Grandma and going to lunch with her and our family. I feel so grateful to witness her joy in her great-grandchildren.