One of my challenges with the boys these days is that they really want to have friends around at all times. Everyday they ask me who we're going to see today, and if we can have a play date with someone, or if we can go to the park so they can make friends. It's a bit exhausting for me if I'm being honest, especially since my work days are so freaking busy now that I'm back. Also they're at daycare those three days playing with all their daycare buddies, so I find it a little annoying that come Friday they're not cool to just chill at home or in the back yard and play with each other. WHY DO WE EVEN HAVE ALL OF THESE TOYS?!
|One of our weeknight trips to the neighborhood park to "find friends". Hopscotch on the baseball field is their go-to when there are no other kids to play with.|
Preschool ended a few weeks ago, and we had some behavior problems right away that afternoon after Gus's last day. I took the kids out to lunch with my mom and brother Nathan, who was in town for my grandpa's funeral, and both of them, especially Gus, were a WRECK. Not my favorite dining experience by a long shot.
That night I finally came to understand that Gus was internalizing the fact that he didn't know when he might see any of his school friends again. I asked him about it and he got a little choked up and sad. He and all of his friends will be off to Kindergarten next year, all of them at different schools, and I think the reality of that sort of hit him after the big spring concert and end of school year party was over, as he was taking pictures with all of his friends and saying goodbye. Kids have so little control over their lives and the rhythm of their days, so I do think that knowing he was going to see these guys at school every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday was really comforting to him. Despite the fact that he was excited for summer and looking forward to more time to go to the park and do fun things with me and Louie, and knowing that there would be more opportunities to see his cousins and other friends of ours, this is a big change for him and it threw him for a loop.
The whole idea of my kids having social lives is challenging for me as his parent because we don't actually have a lot of time to set up play dates with all of these boys from preschool class, despite Gus's constant nagging. Not only do we spend a lot of time with family and the boys' cousins, but I also have a bunch of my own friends with their own kids, so on the weekends I am much more apt to want to plan things with them than with random moms from preschool. That leaves Mondays and Fridays. And I kind of suck at planning stuff for those days in advance, and it's all much more challenging with a little baby in tow.
So suffice it to say we are at that point in our lives where drop-off play dates with friends that are in no way related to friends of mine have to become a thing. And I am totally okay with that, but feel like a total dork navigating those waters for the first time.
I sent an email a few weeks ago to his best buddy from preschool's mom to see if we could set something up, but I felt so awkward about it, and didn't quite know how to do the play date thing, (hate that term, but that's what we're calling them now, right?). I wanted it to be just that Gus goes to JJ's house or vice versa but we don't really know them, have never been to each other's homes, and I didn't know what JJ's mom's comfort level would be on that kind of thing. I just didn't want to be presumptuous and I KNOW I was over thinking it. Because for realz. I am just awkward city sometimes and I wish I could just be confident and straight forward because HELLO, I totally appreciate that from other people.
Anyway, thank goodness one of us is an adult because she was completely straight forward. She said that they would love to have Gus over to their house if I was comfortable with it. She gave me the timing, she gave me the address, and she told me right out to drop him (and Louie if he wanted to!) off at 9:30 and enjoy a few hours on my own with Olive. Jeez. You don't have to ask me twice.
So that happened yesterday and it was gloooorious and the boys were so happy to have something like that to look forward to and JJ is going to come to our house next time and it really just set a great tone for the day and the week. Awesome.
And this is who I got to go snuggle while the boys were at their play date. (After waiting in line at the DMV for 40 minutes to replace our tabs that had expired the day before.)
My adorable new nephew Harris. He was born early in the morning last Friday.
Here's Gus (looking so old!) with him at the hospital.
And my mom that same evening with chunky 3 month-old Olive for comparison sake.
This weekend was busy. We had originally planned on going to the cabin for the first time this year, but then realized that on Saturday Gus had this big Jamboree thing for the soccer league we signed him up for this summer. At first I figured we'd just skip it, but then as details trickled in through the billion emails I got in May from this soccer club, we found out it would be the first time he met his team and his coaches, had their first game, and on top of all that, team pictures were happening. Great. That all sounded too important to miss, thus my kids' extra-curriculars are officially starting to screw up my social life. ;) I guess that means we're entering a new phase of parenting.
So since I don't think we'll be able to head back up there until July 4th, we decided to pack up for the cabin and go there Saturday to Sunday, leaving directly from soccer. Saturday morning was EXHAUSTING getting all packed and ready to go but once the day's events were under-way it was quite fun. The Jamboree was a cluster and crazy and our team is made up of a whole bunch of small kids that have never played. In contrast the kids on the team we played against had skills, strategy, and on average about 6 inches on each of our kids. Oof. This league is all about "fun" and no one's keeping score, but holy mother. We got dominated. One of the coaches (volunteer parents) said at one point, "How do they know how to do that?! It's like they're running plays! What is going on?" On the other hand most of our kids, including Gus, are running and skipping around the field seemingly chasing butterflies. It was hilarious, but yet annoying because for how outmatched they were it just felt wrong.
And then we were on the road. With a few stops to pick up a healthy lunch (McDonald's) and the dog at home.
Road-tripping with a baby is always dicey, and Dan and I were both on edge anticipating the two hour trip. We prepped the boys and talked about how no one wants to listen to a screaming baby, so they were going to need to eat their nuggets and play with their ipads and there would be NO FIGHTING and NO SCREAMING and basically SHUT YO MOUTHS.
|Photo by Louie|
Olive slept like a champ, even through our first bathroom stop for Louie, which involved me somehow spilling Gus's BBQ sauce all over my pants and the passenger seat of the car and thus multiple aggravated expletives from Dan.
She didn't wake until our second bathroom stop (ugh, these children) only about 30 minutes from our destination. She woke up very angry and panicked, so a DQ stop was definitely in order.
And then she didn't even really want to nurse. Just wanted to be out of the car seat and stare at me and smile and coo and talk and look around. Thankfully she was awake and happy for the last short leg of the trip and we all made it to the cabin by about 4:00 pm in one piece.
Our evening involved lots of just basically sitting around and talking and eating, and with the kids occupied and happy with their cousins, that was exactly what was needed.
It did take an hour longer than anticipated to get the heat in our camper up and running (it was supposed to get down to 40 degrees overnight) so bedtime for the boys was pushed back an hour. A few beers around the cold campfire after the late 8:30 bedtime were definitely enjoyed and needed.
And this girl slept all night long in the camper until 6:30 am. Yes, I brought along the miracle-working baby sleep aid that is the rock-n-play. I just. Can't. I could write poetry about that thing, I love it so much. Though I'm starting to wonder if maybe I'm giving the rock-n-play all the credit and we actually have an amazing sleeper on our hands. Either way. Good job Olive. Good job rock-n-play. Keep working together.
21st century camping:
Val's Canada friend is in town visiting and her sweet daughter loooooves babies. Thankfully, we have many babies to share with her.
Louie seems to get obsessive with one toy at a time for multiple days, sometimes weeks. He loves little things, especially animals, that he can hoard and carry around everywhere he goes. This weekend it was this whale (shark?) that has a handful of little numbered fish in it's mouth. I asked him if I could take a picture of him with his (well his cousin Matthew's) whale ("It's a shark mom!") and he just rolled his eyes in the most threenager way possible. Oh, this kid.
My uncle gave us a huge bin of random mega blocks from his 19-year old kid's childhood so we organized them and tubbed them and brought them up the the cabin to stay. Good decision.
So glad we made it up to the cabin after all, even if it was for less than 24 hours and it was A LOT of work to pack and unpack the car and put the camper up and get the beds made and get the heat to work and take the camper back down and pack the car up again and make two dicey 2 hour trips in the car with a 3 month old.
Phew. I'm glad I didn't let myself think too much about all of that before we went, because maybe we wouldn't have. Ha.
Which brings me back to yesterday. The beginning of our week. A glorious beautiful day. Successful first drop-off play date, lunch on the patio...
And Monday night soccer. (Soccer will normally just be this one night a week.)
Typical Gus (number 72) running around no where near the ball. (They were CRAZY out-matched again, starting to think I don't really like that they're playing "real" games this young.)
But look how happy he is! Clearly having fun and that's all that matters.