Play With Me.

We’ve got a precious few days left of staycation before school starts next week and I woke up this morning wondering what we should do. We’ve got plans tomorrow to go to the museum, Thursday and Friday are shore days (crossing our fingers for no rain) and the weekend is…well…it’s the weekend. And although Family Days are nice, they’re not the same as staycation days. The rhythm is different.

I am an excellent list-maker. I could make a to-do list and let this be a to-do day. It would certainly make the coming days easier if we had groceries and a clean car. It would be a good idea to make a meal plan and weed the old t-shirts out of The Who’s drawers. It would probably be really smart and useful to make a list and start checking things off, but I’m having a hard time getting behind that plan.

I started this post while The Who was watching a show. He got bored with it within 15 minutes and started wreaking havoc. That’s what happens when he gets bored. At least that’s my experience of it. He starts touching all. the. things. Just touching them. Moving the clickers. Pushing on the ottoman with his knees. Tossing pillows around. Holding the straw of his cup between his teeth and swinging it around. Havoc.

So, knowing that the brief respite of show-watching was over, I asked him if he wanted to keep watching a show or do something else. “Do something else,” he quickly answered. “Play with you.”

Play with you. This is not on my list of things to do today. This did not even make it onto the string of possibilities. It never does, actually. I do not like the open-ended “play with you” business. I am glad to take him places and interact there (the playground, the museum, restaurants, the library) but “play with you” is the kiss of death. I just don’t want to. I wish I could round up some kids to sate his playing needs, but the fact is that that won’t even do it. It’s not that he wants to play. He wants to play with me.

I told him I needed a few minutes to finish what I was writing and I suggested that he go draw or play Legos in the meantime, but he insisted that he wanted to “relax” with me, which mostly consists of him doing small things to draw attention to himself. Big sighs. Humming songs. None of this does anything to endear himself to me or make playing with him seem any more appealing, yet all of it is indicative of what he really needs, which is more of my attention.

I’ve got no end to this post. I am just continuing to write in order to stave off the inevitable. I’m sure the day won’t end up to be as unbearable as I am fearing. I’ll keep you posted; I know you’re on the edge of your seats…

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Summer.

Whew, it’s been a short summer. I swear it was just June and tonight, I felt autumn coming. It was still 70 degrees at 9pm, but there was an edge in the breeze. Something light. It was a breeze that moved with a swiftness and clarity that summer breezes never do. Summer nights are round and pregnant with humidity. The air tonight was telling a story about a month from now. I felt it.

It’s not just the air, either. m* and I spent some time tonight talking about The Who’s late November birthday and how he might choose to celebrate it. We talked about traveling for Thanksgiving. I got an email today from a student about the upcoming semester. I think I saw some leaves changing color on a long drive the other day (perhaps prematurely, but still.) I love me some fall. But how did it get here so fast?

I worked this summer; I think that’s it. Our days have been long and full and despite having fun for most of it, it was a grind. Up at 5am, home by 5pm. Dinner, bath, bed, and then start it all again 10 hours later. These two weeks, though — the one just passed and the one coming up — are what The Who is calling our “home-cation.” For him, it is a holiday. For me, it’s just a different kind of work. I am loving the way we have been filling our days, though. Long destination drives (Crayola Factory); public transportation adventures (three modes to get into Philly!); overnights (tomorrow to NYC and next week to the shore) and other various pit-stops (playgrounds, play dates, errands.) The planning and the doing and the making sure I don’t spend every cent I earned this summer has been hard. I have packed a lunch for us every day, which is pretty unprecedented. I have worked hard on my patience. I have worn my ugly sneakers so my feet don’t hurt.

One more week before fall really begins in earnest with The Who back to school and me syllabus-writing and course-building (although, let’s not fool ourselves: I will absolutely be spending some alone time in the pedicure chair and on the massage table before my semester begins.) But for now, I’m just going to try to stay here — in the last days of taking the mornings slow and meandering outside without a jacket. The breeze is still warm midday.

Power.

The power just went out and for a second, I was a pessimist. They’ll never get it back on in this little town. Some places don’t even have flush toilets. And then I was ashamed of myself for being so pissed off and disappointed by a lack of power. Seriously? But then right in the middle of my anger and self-pity and shame, the power came back on. And that was all it took. Now I’m happy.

Happy?

Nah. That’s not really accurate. I’m not happy. I’m not miserable, though, and that is a giant step up from earlier this afternoon when I was going on hour 50 of constant togetherness with The Who, unpacking the car after a 3-hour drive (which came closely on the heels of Friday’s 8-hour drive) and wiping his butt/legs/feet/ankles from a poop accident (not mine.)

We woke up this morning at 5:30 in order to beat the traffic (which we did) but that got us into town at 9am, with our rental house not available until 3. At least it was a dry and sunny today. We started it at the beach, at The Who’s suggestion. I actually, come to think of it, felt amazing this morning at 9. There were at least five solid minutes of silence (more than I ever get from The Who) and the waves of the bay were rolling softly over the sand as the morning tide went out.

Surveying the bay in pajamas.

Surveying the bay in pajamas.

Peace.

Peace.

We seat-danced to “Cotton-Eye Joe” and “Bazooka Bubblegum” and “Hoedown Throwdown” as we coasted into town. It was kind of awesome. And the dunes are so pretty. And the water. And the people. The sky. The coffee. It was all kind of awesome this morning.

The place that has my favorite iced coffee serves eggs that look like sponges. Bummer.

The place that has my favorite iced coffee serves eggs that look like sponges. Bummer.

A couple of rousing games of Hello Kitty Trouble next to Town Hall.

A couple of rousing games of Hello Kitty Trouble next to Town Hall.

But the day wore on and on and my patience was so thin. I said to him, “I’m grouchy. I’m sorry. It’s nothing you’re doing; I’m just tired and need some quiet time.” It took me a full hour after putting him to bed to feel even a little bit not miserable.

I have higher hopes for tomorrow. Hey, the power came right back on in this little seaside town at the very end of the earth? Tomorrow could be a good day, right?