Photos.

We spent five hours at the pool yesterday. The Who was in and out of his bathing suit twice, took a handful of sand to the face gracefully, and played with any kid who joined him in the sand box. I watched my shirtless boy soaking in summer and all I could do was smile.

I took The Who to my “work building” because I had to sign some papers. This, although it is a building on campus, was not our final destination, but we popped in to potty here. And I’m glad we did because the living wall (behind him) and the enormous cherry picker stationed in the middle of the rotunda captivated him and moved him to say, “Ooh, Mama. I love your work building!” Never a bad idea to instill a sense of pride in a kid about where his mama works.

An unexpectedly breezy evening brought us back outside after cooking dinner to do some rock sorting on our new steps. I have been astounded lately at his interest in and skills with counting and adding. I better start brushing up because math, well, let’s just say I’m an English teacher for a reason and leave it at that.

Moving from counting to writing. He still writes his whole name backwards and that “E” often has a zillion lines on it. I love to watch him figuring it out.

This.

Solstice.

I have a migraine, which I totally expected after a day like this (10 hours long, all but 3 of them spent in the sun in 98-degree heat.) The Who is sleeping sort of fitfully because of his allergies (despite Benadryl) and his last wake-up included a very pitiful cry of, “I have a booooogie!” Climbing the stairs three times with a migraine is not my idea of a good time.

The day, though, was delicious. Thomas the Tank Engine was shiny and blue and cheerful, just as I expected him to be and the kids lasted really well through the heat and sun and hours and hours of togetherness. Packed in like sardines, the 7 of us. Everyone was a great sport. It’s good to have friends willing to go on adventures that include water ice for dinner in our swamp of a backyard, sitting fully clothed in a $7 inflatable pool.

This is what summer’s about, y’all. Yes, I have a sunburned right cheek (what?) and sure, I now have to do dishes and pack lunches with a throbbing left temple, but there’s sweetness all around. Good-natured little boys and girls, sharing new toys, negotiating new friendships, sharing buttered hot dog rolls with licks off each others’ fingers. Rainbow ice cream. Storybooks.

Tomorrow my nephew turns twelve. In July, there will be Olympics to watch. Baby Silas calls The Who “Ah-too.” Life is good today.

Baby Got Back (Home.)

The last couple of days sort of flew by in a blur of fun. As difficult of a transition as the first two days were, that’s how smooth the last few were. After our banner day in Cambridge on Wednesday, yesterday we spent a leisurely morning at home, playing. I did our laundry, cleaned up the house a bit, and got us mostly packed up before we headed over to our friends KK and Johnny’s house. (They really are “our” friends. The Who regularly refers to Johnny as “my big friend.”) It was summertime and the living was easy over there. We all took a walk out for lunch, meandered back, stopping at the playground. Toured the garden. Ran barefoot in the yard. Stuff like that there.

KK playfully donning The Who’s lovey blankets.

Sharing a very important story on a very loud street corner.

And then, after a quick car powernap, I dropped The Who off with Grandma, scooted off for a manicure (aah) and then picked up dinner for all of us plus my brother, sister-in-law, and The Who’s cousins, whom he just adores. He kept referring to them as “my cousins” all night and asking them over and over to play. (They are 8 and 12, so I give them a lot of credit for playing with the little kid all night with very little complaint.)

And then today? Pretty much just driving. Driving, driving, and driving. Except for the part where, before the driving, we got a car wash at The Who’s request and then I sucked up his precious lovey blankets with the vacuum. (Luckily, I am far from the first person who has done this and they just unlocked the container and retrieved the filthy things for me.) (Also, KK wore them on her head before their unfortunate ride through the dusty hose.)

So, yeah. That’s it. Gone and back with very little fanfare. The re-entry wasn’t as hard as it’s been in visits past, but I am aware of being just as happy to be home as I am sad to be away from Boston. There’s very little like Boston in the spring.

Day 5

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I was cranky yesterday. Inexplicably. I just was. And The Who pushed every one of my buttons. Cranky begets cranky begets cranky, I think. But it started to look up after Johnny took The Who for a walk in the rain and I got to sit in the parked car with KK and whine.

And then today–today turned into that unexpected day of awesome. I could give some of the credit to the weather (sunny and 70) but most of it goes to the universe providing just the kind of day we needed.

We were supposed to meet a friend in Harvard Square, but most unfortunately for her, she had a back spasm and was unable to meet us. As a result, The Who and I, already having arrived by T, ended up having a delightful Mama/Boy date. We had breakfast at Starbucks together, played for over an hour at the Curious George toy store, poked into a few little shops, shared a Bertucci’s pizza outside on the stone wall, and then caught a bus over to my friend’s house. She was delayed at the doc’s, though, so The Who and I hung out and played in the yard, availing ourselves of the sandbox, swing, bubbles, and ride-on toys. We even kicked a few balls into the goal. Finally, our fiends made it back and we played for a half hour or do before heading back on the T.

So, even though it was not the day we had planned, it turned out to be just the day we needed. We reconnected in a very sweet way.

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Day Tres.

The Who is very interested in counting in Spanish lately. “Uno, dos, trehz, quatno, cinco!” (Along with the appropriate number of fingers.) Sometimes he makes it all the way up to ocho. He also likes to use the musical terms he has learned on Little Einsteins. “Mama, you need to talk piano and I can talk FORTE!” He’s picking up words like the best, most useful Swiffer ever and using them appropriately. After one explanation of “perpendicular” and “parallel” he has now incorporated those into his daily discussion, too. It’s a good thing he’s got some interesting things to say because the kid talks all. day. long.

Anyway, so yes. Day Three of our vacation was a good one — chock full of history and sunshine and photo opps. We have been reading Make Way for Ducklings lately, so we planned a trip to the Public Garden to see them. We took the T, walked through the Garden, fed the ducks, rode the Swan Boats, climbed on the bronze statues, walked up Charles Street, had some ice cream, detoured through the Common, rode the Frog Pond carousel, picked up a duckling t-shirt, and got back on the T to go home.

I don’t have many photos available for posting because I turned off my phone as an experiment. The Who was a lot happier and so was I. I took lots and lots of “real” photos, but they’re yet to be uploaded. Stay tuned, though, for some extreme close-ups of the Seussish flowers planted in random plots all over the Public Garden.

After a day of hoofing it all over Beacon Hill, this sleepy boy took an hourlong car nap.

Last night, we went to my aunt’s for dinner, where The Who’s great uncles got on the floor and played, big kids themselves.

Day Two.

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So, Day Two’s in the can. It involved a terrible motel breakfast (that still utterly delighted The Who — ah, to be 3 years old not give a hoot about microwaved powdered eggs) and three more hours of driving. Plus a bonus gender-stereotyping lesson for the sunglasses-seller, who tried to dissuade my boy from choosing pink sunglasses (he was not dissuaded, by the way, and I left her with some educational parting words.)

Tonight I got to go be a grown-up and see a show while The Who carried out his end-of-the-day shenanigans with his grandparents. He is now completely sacked out in the bed next to me and my mother reports that he is in the exact same position in which he fell asleep 5 hours ago. That’s right. Giving up the nap has made bedtime a cinch (not that it was ever that hard to begin with.)

Tomorrow, we are off to see Mr. and Mrs. Mallard and their ducklings at the Public Garden. I am also calling tomorrow “Focus on the Moment” day and I am leaving my phone behind. I will bring my real camera because — hello? Ducklings! — but I won’t be texting or checking Facebook or Instagramming. I am still working on finding the balance, but tomorrow’s outing seems like a good place to start.

Awake.

Day one on the road was largely uneventful, but overstimulated boy is still awake in the next bed, trying to lure me into a conversation. I suppose this is the fallout from deciding to have lunch in Philly after the pride parade instead of just hitting the road. We didn’t end up here in CT until 8. Then there was the excitement of two giant beds to jump on and pizza to order and eat. Thomas to watch. Not to mention our regular evening routine of pottying after dinner, which can be a pretty long affair. (I would like to take this opportunity to pat myself on the back for remembering to bring the potty converter seat.)

Tomorrow, we will be up bright and early (because isn’t that the preschooler rule? 6am wake up no matter what time you eventually drop off?) and then we are on the road again for the final leg. Maybe that will be uneventful too. Fingers crossed.

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T minus 1.

We’re off bright and early tomorrow for a morning of Pride Parading and then a long drive. I have grand, enchanted (delusional?) plans of a peaceful few hours from Philly to Connecticut, dinner at my favorite off-the-highway spot, and then a cozy hotel movie night with my boy. If I have enough sleep and so does he, we should be golden. Also, I’m pretty sure the “all-the-tv-you-can-watch” road-trip rule will also help.

More later from our adventure!

School Days.

The more time I spend with The Who, the better bonded we become. I know — I’m a genius, right? But seriously. It’s true. It’s the days that we spend entirely together (even if there are chunks of it when we are doing separate things, which he occasionally allows) that I end up having the most patience and the most fun with him. It’s the school days when I am short-tempered and easily frustrated. It’s the school days when his limitless questions crawl up my very last nerve and it’s the school days when I inevitably end up yelling at him and/or otherwise being a shit of a mother to him at one point or another during the, what, three total hours we spend together?

So, let’s break it down: home days/togetherness = mostly great time. School days/time apart = crap.

The irony, of course, is that I need/love/crave time alone and I am so very lucky to be able to have that a couple of days during the week. And if I had 5 weekday home days in a row, I’d want to claw my eyes out. I tried that one summer (granted, he was a very young toddler at the time) and I was totally overwhelmed and miserable. Finding a happy balance has been a process. This summer, he will spend two days a week at school (as opposed to the three he spends during the school-year) and I think it will work out splendidly for the whole lot of us.

Today, though, unfortunately, was one of those school days where I just wanted to climb out the window and run far, far away (except, I really just wanted to wander, not run. Because I was so tired from the sugar crash that came after the cupcake I consumed in an effort to not feel so grouchy, which is never a good idea.) Tomorrow’s another school day and I am going to make a concerted effort to Be Nice in the morning and when I pick him up — even if he does take his SWEET EVERLOVING TIME DOING EVERYTHING and all I want is to put his tired self to bed and not answer one single more “why” question, (which are often valid, but the after-school ones tend toward the absurd and are obviously just so he can hear his own voice. E.g. “What are you doing?” Opening the window. “Why?” Because I am hot. “Why?” Because it’s hot in here and my body feels hot. “Why?” Seriously? Seriously?)

Anyway, you know what? I didn’t start writing this post to complain about my lack of patience and my 3.5-year-old’s 3.5-year-old-ness. I started writing it because I am really looking forward to our road trip this weekend and the week visiting family and friends. Even though it’s a lot of time together (m* is staying home, so although my mom will totally help out a lot, I will be the primary caretaker pretty much the whole time) and even though we have had our fair share of frustrations while traveling, these trips always re-establish our connection. I’m excited about hopping in the car together for an adventure. I’m excited about our Sunday-night “hotel movie party” and I’m excited about just breaking out of our routine and hanging out.

The end.

Photos.

A while ago, The Who’s school hatched some chicks. They did this last year, too. And they grew some butterflies out of creepy caterpillars. Lots of ’em. Like a regular old science lab up in there. I heard they were gonna clone sheep in the Pre-K room on Wednesday, but unfortunately, The Who doesn’t go to school on Wednesdays.

Two and a half years ago, we bought a 10-visit pass to this local, urban/hippie, indoor wooden-toy playspace/organic cafe. Don’t get me wrong, I love this place. And The Who is a big fan, too. But I can’t say that the 10-visit pass really saved us any money. We probably went there more often than we would have otherwise and each time, purchased some absurdly overpriced little container of Cheerios (plus eleventy-seven other overpriced food/beverage items.) It’s almost like the marketing people there knew what they were doing when they offered the discounted multi-pass. Still, we did love it there. And I say “did” because this past visit (which also, as you can see, included a visit to the downstairs tumbling room) was probably among our last, if not our actual last. It was the tenth of our prepaid sessions and The Who has pretty much aged out of it. But it was good while it lasted and I’m so glad it exists.

Mama prefers pedicures; let it be known. Rarely do I paint my own toes anymore, but for some reason this last pedicure hitchhiked its way right out of town after one day at the pool and so I busted out the polish. The Who was immediately enamored with the blue glitter (can’t say as I blame him) and requested a little pedi himself. So there ya have it: the world’s cutest, most awesome toes. (My friend told me he looks like he has fungus on every toenail and I should change the color. Not that I shouldn’t paint his toes, mind you. Just that the blue was unbecoming.)

There are several things about this photo that just delight me. The first is The Who’s penchant toward tie-wearing. He’s natty. He knows it. I also really love that he just took it upon himself to grab a book and hop on my bed to pass the time while I was getting dressed. Also, cheeks. Jesus, those cheeks.

Playing trains on the train. So meta.

We’ve had a couple of really stellar playing days lately, which is saying a lot. Playing, sort of surprisingly, is not my forte. The Who’s been busting out the dollhouse a lot lately. And building beds and houses for his favorite stuffed dog out of big wooden blocks. Here, our young hero is digging in the drawers under the train table, searching for just the right firefighter’s helmet. His imagination is explosive right now. This morning, the little boy in the dollhouse family learned how to turn himself into an airplane and fly. Talented guy — despite the awkward, yarny hair.