Tuesday, July 27, 2010

GG Visits

IMG_0192 Our summer excitement continued this month with a visit from GG (great-grandmom; my father’s mother who lives, and has lived her entire life, in Philly). She actually partially came up to VT to think about moving here (?!!!!!???!) .  We had a super busy fun time enjoying this beautiful summer with her.  We had a lot of outings with “the boys and their mommies.” 

IMG_0193

We went out to eat lots. Read books and did some “work.”

IMG_0194 IMG_0200

Found some beautiful new places to explore

 IMG_0205

Left Joseph at home to enjoy an evening cruise on Lake Champlain.

IMG_0210

I was so happy to finally get a ride on Shoreham’s historic Carillion.  The event was put on by the Henry Sheldon Museum and included a historical lecture.  We left from Shoreham and traveled north up through the new ferry crossing, where the bridge was demolished early this year. 

 IMG_0219 IMG_0223

I really loved the old maps and pictures included in the presentation.  Above is a map showing the ownership of our land in the 1700s and a picture of the bustling port in Shoreham.  It is just amazing to think of Shoreham being that busy and all the important history that took place here!

 IMG_0233IMG_0228 

The same week GG visited the Festival-on-the-Green was taking place in Middlebury.  This is a wonderful (free) community event that includes children’s performances every day at lunchtime and then music ever evening for a week.  I went with Joseph’s school a couple of days and Bob and GG joined us to watch Tom Verner (a Lincoln magician who I enjoyed countless times as a youngster).  Joseph and I also went by ourselves one evening (spur of the moment after a dinner at Flatbread) and had a BLAST.  Since it was spontaneous I grabbed my keys and that was all (meaning no camera).  But Joseph was adorable boogying right by the stage with the (probably tipsy) very exuberant crowd and some of his kiddo buddies.  For the next two days he was a “singer-man” instead of a pirate!

IMG_0245

The two singer men.

 IMG_0262 IMG_0270 IMG_0274 IMG_0283

And we had a great visit to the cabin.  Family I don’t often see joined us for an afternoon of fun.   This is one of my favorite places.  Ever.

 IMG_0291

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

“Spirited”

Shopping at the hardware store a while back Brad and I somehow began talking with another couple.  They had an adorable child in their cart, about a year, and they were calmly analyzing some purchase while the child played happily with a single toy.  Brad and I were of course trying to take turns shopping while the other chased Joseph around and attempted to prevent him from causing serious damage.  At some point in the conversation the father said something to the effect of, “yeah, she’s usually happy; it’s been pretty easy so far.  I expected having a child to be a lot harder!”  I really had no interest in talking to them any longer.  This pretty much pissed me off.  How could a thought like that even cross a parents mind?? 

I would never, ever refer to parenting as easy.  It is wonderful and amazing and I am so happy to be able to be a parent, but it is not easy.  Lately I have been starting to think that Joseph may actually be on the energetic, opinionated, and determined end of the spectrum.  Not better or worse than any other child, just his own little guy, bringing with him some parenting challenges.  I’ve probably made clear that J never had a particular talent for sleeping (he didn’t sleep through the night until 22 months, was at 1 nap a day by 11 months, has already stopping napping all together, and still comes into our bed at night).  Yuck.  He also has always seemed to me to have a strong drive and determination.   Brad’s favorite story from Joseph’s birth is how J effectively swatted the suction thingy away several times.  He started having full-out tantrums at nine months.  He makes his needs known.  His daycare provider has commented that “this is good because we wont ever have to worry about him letting someone push him around.”  He has always worked extremely diligently at motor achievements (doing the commando crawl at six months, walking at 11 months, climbing everything, now jumping fearlessly, headstands and somersaults, riding his bike all over, etc . . .) From about 9 months he has clearly been drawn to older children and tries to do whatever they are doing.  When he is disciplined he tries to give it right back to you (“no YOU need a timeout mommy!!).   He has an idea and opinion about E-VER-Y thing (remember this list a while back?).   He notices things and remembers things that I don’t even see or remember.  He really seems to love people.  He wants to be around someone all the time; he climbs all over me all day.  When he wakes he needs lots of love right away; waking from nap he used to scream for ten to twenty minutes.  Change is hard.  If you move a picture he gets upset.  If you try and take a different way home you will never hear the end of it.  He still has not really accepted the idea of short-sleeves and shorts.  He has about three outfits, of “long-sleeved shirts and long-sleeved pants” that are all he wants to wear.  He insists on wearing his underwear backwards.  After he has been screaming and crying for awhile he forgets what initially got him upset and starts freaking out because of the tears on his face.  I could go on . . . and on . . . ;-)

This is the Joseph I know and love.  These aspects of his personality are so amazing to me and they can also drive me crazy.  Sometimes they make just finishing the simplest tasks seemingly impossible.  Perhaps I also fostered this in him?  Self-sufficiency and having your own ideas are things I value highly and I know I have encouraged this.  But, sometimes it would be sooo much easier if he would just let me dress him . . .

Around J’s third birthday (this May) I started to think that he actually might be a child that can be more difficult than others to parent.   As you probably know, I now work with children birth to five, and so I have spent a lot of time with other kiddos (I had pretty much no experience with youngsters prior to having my own).  Very, very often at work I am just so shocked at how much other children sleep, infants that let you put them down, kids that accept change calmly and quietly, that don’t climb and jump and run all the time, etc . . . I recently purchased a book entitled, “Raising You Spirited Child: A Guide for Parents Whose Child Is More Intense, Sensitive, Perceptive, Persistent, Energetic”  I knew it was the book for me when I saw that it had a whole chapter about getting dressed (!!!!!!!!!!!).  It has hit home in so many ways.  The kids described seem so much my little guy and the parents like me.  Sometimes it can feel very alienating when my experiences with Joseph don’t match those I hear from others; sometimes it can feel like I am not doing the right things.  The book also has made me see that I am really all these things as well (well except for the energetic part) and sometimes this exacerbates the friction between Joseph and I.  Plus, the book includes tons of very practical tips and ideas and fun stories.  It is comforting.    J and I go through phases and I think we are settling into three now.  We are both learning a lot about ourselves.  It’s a whole new world for me realizing that I am responsible for trying to help him become a GOOD person.  When he was first born parenting was about making sure he was fed and clothed and loved, then it was about making sure he didn’t hurt himself or fall from too far; now I need to try to teach him to care for people and be kind.  For me parenting has moments of bliss, love, elation, and fun and moments of exhaustion, frustration, doubt and fatigue.  It is an extreme lesson in acceptance.  It is learning to do your best, whatever that is, and let the rest go.  And then help your child do the same. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

CAMPING 2010!!!!

We had a BLAST camping this year!  Amy, our wonderful organizer ;-) decided to try a bit earlier in the summer and I decided to try adding an extra day, and it all worked out great—mostly because the weather was perfect and there were hardly any mosquitoes!!!  We loved playing with cousins (most of the time at least), lots of yummy food, no TV or computer, lots and lots of time at the beach, some new friends, family visits . . .

IMG_0054 IMG_0056

Setting up camp (well I was setting up camp at least)

 IMG_0060 IMG_0066

Campfire and s’mores!\

 IMG_0068

Pancakes for breakfast!

 IMG_0070

To the BEACH!

 IMG_0073 IMG_0083

IMG_0087

On the pedal boats, right before an epic tantrum.  But that is part of camping with a three-year-old!

 IMG_0094

All better and taking a rest in the tent.  Bree is such a special, special cousin.  Her reading and telling stories around the fire entertained Joseph for hours!

 IMG_0096

Brad visited and the kids all got a ride in the new car

IMG_0097

Grandma and Grandpa came to play

IMG_0109 IMG_0117

We also left Branbury on Saturday to attend the Bristol 4th of July parade which we always enjoy:

 IMG_0118 IMG_0120 IMG_0123 IMG_0126 IMG_0128

Zeno Mountain’s most amazing float ever.  For a full minute I felt transported to the 60s!!!

 IMG_0130

Chasing down some candy.  Can you see the bulging pockets?

 IMG_0131 IMG_0134 IMG_0138 IMG_0142

Joseph’s first time on a horse!!!  I told him he could chose one activity from all that was available on the green and this was his choice ;-)

 

IMG_0155 IMG_0156

We returned to the beach after a nap (for both of us).  Each day we hung out at the beach in the morning and then again  from late afternoon well into the evening.  This worked out great and the sunset hours are some of my favorite memories.  Above was an epic water gun fight with cousin Jacob and some new friends.

IMG_0162 

On the fourth we went to Grandma and Grandpa’s for a BBQ/Jacob’s bday party (lots of fun, but no pics) and then returned to the beach.  Joseph even got to watch his first fireworks, which were actually being set off at a number of different places around the lake, making for a wonderful and very long show.

IMG_0164

Our last day of camping, we hung out at the beach (of course!!).   Joseph even joined a class about the watershed, and was very involved, for some reason.

IMG_0167

And a creemee of course

 IMG_0299

Oh, and, today I came home to another new toy!!! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010