This has been a delicious summer.
Absolutely delicious. I have loved every moment of the languid, happy days that I’ve been able to spend with my almost-two year old. On Monday, we walk to the park. On Tuesday, we meet for playgroup with 6 bright, dedicated moms and their toddlers. On Wednesday, Daddy telecommutes, and the day is broken up with surprise visits from the home office when Daddy takes a break. Thursday is laundry day, and Widget just adores doing laundry with me. He stands on his little stepstool, scoops the detergent into a cup, dumps it in the washer, and puts the laundry that I hand him into the washer. Or behind the washer. And typically there’s an extra baby sock or two that jumps in there with the dark loads, but on the scale of things, who cares? Thursday afternoon we go to the children’s library. Friday there’s often another playdate or a special outing to a museum.
Every day we play trucks, trains, climb on the furniture, look for pictures of dogs and trucks as mommy reads the paper, swing and slide out back, have a snack, color or waterpaint, eat lunch together, read, nap, and generally enjoy ourselves. I try to make most of our activities educational in some way, either by pointing out colors and numbers, or asking questions when we read like “what do you think is going to happen next?” or “what do you think is in her basket?” When we go outside, we look for little animals, insects, or new flowers, and talk about them too. “Where do you think the ants are going? Let’s follow them!” You know, the minutae of life with a toddler. Nothing stands out as unusual or unusually inspired, but for me, it’s been an amazing time.
For years, I’ve been on the fast track, working harder, working smarter, studying or doing research, trying to save the world through my volunteer work or my government job. Or both. Or all at once. This summer, though, I spent pregnant and mommy to an active (no, REALLY active) toddler, and it forced me to stop all the rest of it and to really be there for him. And myself. And it was good.
I was on bed rest for weeks. An unexplained pain has lingered for nearly 3 months now, and the time that I haven’t been going to this or that doctor I’ve spent trying to manage the pain and to conserve all my energy for time with Widget. When we play trains, I’m on the couch. When we cook, it’s something that doesn’t require me standing at the stove for long times. When we play outside, I’m often lying down on a towel. It has been harder than I ever imagined.
BUT it’s been a success. Widget (and I) have emerged from this summer happy, healthy, well-fed, entertained, a little taller (him), a little wider (me), and full of wonderful memories of the time that we’ve spent together. Me and my kid. And Daddy, who has been wonderful in taking care of us when I just couldn’t go up and down the stairs one more time. We’re a team, the three of us, and we’ve had a wonderful summer.
And every night, just before dusk, we’ve gone outside to blow bubbles in the summer breeze.