I recognize that saying this out loud (or, rather, writing it out loud) goes against everything I ever learned in Parenting 101, but here I go.
I think maybe The Who is past the terrible 6-and-a-halfsies. Shh. Quiet. I didn’t say that. I didn’t even think it. I have never even heard The Who. What’s this blog? Shh.
Except, for real. Something has happened in the past week or so that has felt like a continental shift, like a settling in of sorts. Like something monumental happened while at the same time, like, no big whoop. Like, yeah, he’s almost 7. Whatevs.
Please don’t misunderstand; there are still days when I want to kill him in the face. And still moments within otherwise delightful days where I question my motives for ever trying to do anything fun or nice, but by and large? He’s kind of a dreamboat of a kid lately. He does things like say, “I’m ready for bed now,” all on his own and unprompted. He goes searching for his own shoes when we’re getting ready to leave. Yesterday, even when he was mad at me after we had some words, he spoke to me calmly and explained how frustrated he was. He’s held my hand when I asked him to, followed me when I told him to, paid good, close attention when I needed him to and has been, overall, pretty damn agreeable.
I’d like to credit my ingenious positive reinforcement sticker chart that he’s been working on for the past four weeks, but I don’t really think it’s that. I think maybe he’s just turning the corner toward 7, which I have on good authority is a much better year than 6.
But it doesn’t matter anyway. Because now I’ve spoken of it. So that’s the end of that.
I’m absolutely out of steam right now, so I won’t be including photos, but rest assured, there are many and they are awesome.
With that disclaimer, I’m checking in here to say that as both a native Bostonian and as an educating/entertaining parent, I am absolutely killing it on this trip.
In 23 days, we have:
- Walked (some of) and ridden (some of) the Freedom Trail
- Eaten lunch at Fanueil Hall (twice)
- Ridden the Swan Boats (three times)
- Climbed on the Duckling statues
- Ridden the Frog Pond carousel (three times)
- Toured the USS Constitution
- Ridden the T
- Taken a city bus tour
- Seen the site of the Boston Massacre (and learned the story along the way)
- Gone to the movies (twice — once with Mommy!)
- Visited the New England Aquarium
- Seen humpbacks on a whale watch
- Gone to Roller Derby
- Spent time at my childhood library
- Seen the Boston Marathon finish line
- Waded in the Copley Fountain
- Gone to the Science Museum
- Seen a movie in the Omni Theatre
- Taken a week of theatre classes
- Performed in a class demonstration
- Attended one cousin’s basketball game and another cousin’s baseball game
- Had two piano lessons
- Seen 4th of July fireworks
- Gone swimming in the pool with friends
- Had multiple meals out with friends and family.
And all this was interspersed with plenty of leisurely mornings at home, early nights to bed, relaxing evening bathtub soaks, and lots of one-on-one time.
Still to come: a day on the Cape, another week of theatre classes, a sand-sculpting competition on the beach (with evening fireworks), Legoland Discovery Center, and fishing.
We’re probably spending too much money and The Who surely misses his mommy (he told me so today) but this has definitely been one of my favorite months on record. As the time in the rented apartment dwindles (we have ten days left here and then will spend five more days at my aunt’s house before heading back), I am delighted to realize that I will be neither sad to leave nor sad to go back to Philly. I will feel like we did just what we came here to do and that we are going back to our home. Total win-win.
We have spent the last two days packing as much as humanly possible into our time. With blazing sunshine, high temperatures, and humidity to spare. BUT. Even with all of that, The Who has been a champion among boys, melting down only when he was hungry or tired, which to my credit, I managed to let happen very infrequently. I tried to get us home each night before we both turned into pumpkins and I carried water, candy, snacks, and crayons to get us through any rough patches. Kudos to us both, for reals.
Yesterday was the city bus tour, which I will post about tomorrow, but today, we spent the day at the Aquarium and on a 4-hour whale watch (my first ever.)
Myrtle. She’s, like, a hundred. And all she had for lunch was a head of cabbage, one leaf at a time.
Fortunately, you don’t feel the heat when the wind is blowing like this.
Boston Light. Even though I don’t give any shits about lighthouses in general, this one is the prettiest I’ve seen. Classic New England.
While waiting for the whales to reveal themselves, The Who caught sight of this moon jelly alongside the boat, long before the tour guide mentioned it. Keen eye.
And then we saw this spray of water come up with many more to follow. We were lucky to see a group of four humpback who kept popping up and diving down right next to us.
When I mentioned to The Who that I had never seen a whale up close before, he asked, “Have you ever seen one far away?”
“Um, no. I mean, I’ve just never seen a real, live whale before.”
“Have you seen a dead one?”
“Um. No. I meant I’ve never seen a real one before.”
“Have you seen a fake one?”
Finally, a question I could answer yes to.
2 trips to the Common and the Garden + 2 rides on the carousel and swan boats + 1 nephew’s basketball game + 3 trampoline jumping sessions + 1 piano lesson + 2 trips to Logan + 3 afternoons swimming + 1 family BBQ + 1 night at the fireworks +1 daylong bus tour of the city + 1 boarding of the dry-docked USS Constitution + 1 stop at the site of the Boston Massacre + 2 meals at Faneuil Hall + 1 movie + 2 Back Bay street-parking spots scored (+ 0 parking tickets!) + 1 cup of chowda at Legal’s + 1 roller derby bout + (tomorrow) 1 Aquarium visit and 1 whale watch = 13 days.
The reason we’re staying here for the better part of six weeks is not so The Who can sit on his Grandma’s lap and have his ears so lovingly covered as the fire trucks come screaming down the street during the parade.
And it’s not so I can dust off my old Boston accent and perfect my flat A while ordering hometown ice cream.
I think the extra “a” is unnecessary, but no one asked me.
Wattamellin sherbit with chocklit jimmies.
Nor is it for the history lessons The Who is getting about decades-long traditions and centuries-old freedom fights.
No. While these are all great perks of this trip, the way I see it, none of those is the real reason. The real reason is this:
From jumping to chatting and back to jumping again.
I could sit and watch my boy with his cousins play and talk and wrestle and love on one another forever.
I woke up this morning to the familiar rhythm of raindrops making their way through the trees, falling onto the dense blanket of pine needles and flattened grass. Drops rolling off the shingled overhang outside my childhood bedroom window. Wind and distant thunder. It will rain all day today, according to the weather app on my phone — a brief detour from days of sun and low humidity. I’ll take one day of this, the sound and smell of it immediately transporting me back 35 years to a rainy morning in 1980, lying in the same room, listening to the same sounds.
I explainedthe notion of ‘returning home’ to The Who as we rolled over the state line into Massachusetts on Monday. “When you leave the place where you grew up, if your time there was good, you will always have a warm place in your heart for your home. I could see him smiling in the rear view mirror as I waxed nostalgic about red, white, and blue license plates and plentiful Dunkin Donuts drive-thrus.
At The Who’s request, we spent the day in the city yesterday: the Public Garden, our favorite part. We took the train with my mother, meandered through the Common, rode the carousel, walked the perimeter of Frog Pond. We crossed Charles Street into the Public Garden, rode the swan boats, dropped dollars into the open guitar cases of musicians playing among the flowers, and called each one of the ducklings by name.
And then Copley, because The Who wanted to see the finish line, a landmark he learned about for the first time just a few months ago as we watched our friend cross it via live stream on Marathon Monday. He asked about the placement of the bomb while we made our way down Boylston and we had a philosophical conversation about the death penalty, as the sentence had just been handed down.
It was just the kind of day for our first full one here. The sun was plentiful and so was the shady respite. Today, though, it rains, which is just fine with me.