The summer affords us the opportunity to spend quality time individually with our kids, and it’s amazing how different they are when not together.
Pam and I were off last Friday and day care was closed for Carson. Beckett was in camp all week and we gave him the option of attending the last day of camp or spending the day with us. He without hesitation said he wanted to go to camp, so we obliged. Although it was a little bit of a stinger to hear him express his choice so emphatically, it was a lot of fun to be just with Carson.
The kids are so much easier to be around when separated. At their ages of 7 and 5, respectively, they tend to feed off each other and their energies often clash for a variety of reasons.
Since Beckett made his choice to abandon his family for camp (tongue in cheek, sort of), we gave Carson the option of what he wanted to do — pool or beach? He surprised me a bit with wanting to stay home at the pool, but I’m so glad he made the choice because for about six hours we had a nice, relaxing afternoon.
Unlike his brother’s demands for a play mate, who is typically me and involves throws across the pool and impromptu tae kwon do sparring matches, Carson is great at self-play. It’s not that he doesn’t want the comradery, but if you tell Carson to play by himself for a couple minutes he will do it and have a ball at it. More often than not, if you leave him uninterrupted, he will find something to keep himself entertained. On this day, it was just swimming around the pool.
Now there are unquestionably times when being idle causes problems, but most of the time he knows what he can and can’t do. When the bad judgment starts to show up, that’s when a change of scenery is needed for everyone.
I kept waiting for him to start acting up but on this particular day he seemed to enjoy having his parents to himself. On several occasions, he patted his chest, then my chest and pointed to his mom. Before I could say something about it just being the three of us, he signed “where’s crazy?” and giggled before diving back under the water after a diving ring. He was, of course, referring to his big brother.
It’s these rare days that provide a glimpse of what it’s like to just have one child and it’s amazing how easy and simple it is with only one. It was actually relaxing for all three of us.
We are planning a similar day with just Beckett today at a local water park. Something tells me this will not be quite as relaxing but a lot of fun.
Separation anxiety used to be a big deal with our kids.
I clearly remember the heartache and panic associated with leaving our kids at daycare when they were younger. It was such a dramatic situation oftentimes that Pam would be in tears after drop-off time. As for me, I was tough. I could handle the emotional tugs that came with prying the screaming 2-year-old off my leg (so long as I had my dark sunglasses on).
It’s amazing to reflect on those days now and I couldn’t help but think about it when I dropped off Beckett at soccer camp at Northside Park this week. Before I had a chance to say goodbye or even tell him where I was putting his bag with his lunch, he was gone. I was actually a little concerned for a few minutes before I saw him doing cartwheels among a group of fellow campers.
I tried to call him over to say bye and let him know who was picking him up. He either didn’t hear me or ignored me. It was probably the latter. When I was able to get his attention and let him know where his stuff was, he gave me the thumbs up and ran off.
I think he was still thinking about a few months ago when I intentionally embarrassed him by blowing him a kiss at school drop-off in front of his friends. He wasn’t about to let that happen again.
Independence is a good thing, but it comes with some stinging moments as well for the parents.
Although it’s not even half over yet, I think one of my lasting memories for this summer will be the daily outdoor showers with my boys.
A recently completed home improvement project at our place was the addition of an outdoor shower. I have wanted this for a long time and almost immediately the entire family was hooked. The boys and I haven’t showered inside since. The same goes for Pam more often than not.
I have been surprised by the kids’ infatuation with it. Every time we go outside both kids start shedding their clothes to take a shower, no matter the time of day.
While I think they like the fact they can hear birds chirping and feel the breeze, most of their fascination is rooted in the removable wand feature of the shower. Consequently, like just about everything else, a set of rules — some more bendable than others — is in effect.
I know the day we have to winterize the shower will be a sad one for me, but I think my kids may take it even harder.