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Mini-vacation (but not for me)

September 7, 2013

The three older boys have been staying at Grandma and Poppa’s house this week.  Normally I teach cello lessons on Thursdays at their house, but we were all invited to a wedding this Thursday.  We were also invited to Poppa’s city  employee pool party the same day.  We’d already committed to attending the wedding, but the boys were so sad about missing the pool party ( a highlight of every summer) that I said I’d be willing to drive them down earlier in the day just for that and come back to pick them up (60 miles each direction.)

Then Poppa suggested why not let them stay all week since we’d be down for Labor Day anyway.  For a split second, I thought, “But they just started school.”  But in the next instant, I considered that we really didn’t have much of a summer.  Sure, we hardly did anything schoolish, but between morning sickness absolutely wiping me out and DH working a good 60-70 hours a week through most of July and August due to the new building completion, Summer 2013 wasn’t exactly Fun!  We didn’t really go anywhere or do anything.  So they went on a mini-vacation this week.  (Mini, because I did send along a minimal amount of school work to be done each morning!)

We didn’t think Grandma and Poppa were up to taking E as well, so he came back home with us . . .

It’s a whole different life with only a 3-year-old to hang out with all day!  I had great plans to do things around the house and get some more school prep work done.  We would do lots of preschool together too!  It didn’t happen.  Normally, E stays entertained, or at least occupied, by flitting from brother to brother throughout the day.  When they were gone, guess who was the only entertainment around??  Yep, me.  Well, me and Netflix.  Why yes, we did watch a few too many movies on Tuesday.

And before there was Tuesday, there was Monday night.  This child does not know how to go to sleep when he’s the only one in his room!  We finally let him stay up to watch Secretariat with us since he really likes horses.  Then he was tired enough to sleep, but still had issues with being all by himself in his room.  Some cuddles with Daddy worked wonders.   And he slept in Tuesday morning, so I lounged in bed too until he came in.  First thing he asked–“Where are A, C, and D?”  and then, “But why?” after I repeated that they were at Grandma and Poppa’s house.

He then proceeded to cling to me all day, even more so than usual.  I’ve had a really bad case of hay fever lately (Isn’t ragweed season so lovely?) so I was happy to let our day include a bit more media than was probably healthy. E had a bit of a meltdown Tuesday afternoon before realizing he was capable of entertaining himself.  I think he’s just used to having so many people around that keep him busy and play with him, that he honestly didn’t know what to do when they were all gone.  And I think I found another plus for homeschooling.  I don’t know what I’d do all day if I sent the older children to school and only had preschoolers, toddlers, and babies at home all day.  I think I might go nuts!  Not that I don’t love my 3-year-old, but it was exhausting keeping him busy and entertained all day.  I’m usually exhausted by the end of any day, but it’s a different kind of exhausted after a day with all four boys.  I really like having the older boys around and enjoy our interactions maybe a wee bit more than conversing with a 3-year-old all day.  (Can I admit that?)

Wednesday went much better although E still stopped to ask several times where everybody else went.  He’s not used to being the only one here as much as I’m not used to only having him here.  I had planned to make blueberry muffins as we’re on the letter B, but he didn’t want to do that.  Instead we made a Bumble “B” and watched a few honey bee clips on YouTube.

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I mentioned something about going to the library to see the honey beehives that are kept in the rooftop garden and the next thing I knew, E had his shoes on and was practically out the door.  Normally I’d say that we couldn’t go yet because his brothers had to finish their work or something, but there was literally nothing else going on, so we hopped in the car and went to the library!  There are advantages to being the only!

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a very bad picture of a beehive taken through the glass

We watched the bees for a while, but had to get home for lunch and then doctor appointments.   E knew that we were out by one of our favorite pizza places and kept asking for pizza after a long afternoon of doctors and ultrasounds.  We said ok, then he said he wanted to go visit Great-Grandma J.  Since it was a little early for dinner, we decided to call her first.  She was home and would love to see us, so we drove out there.  I think E really just wanted to go there so he could play with her toy cars and trucks (ours are in storage) without having to share with his brothers.  But we had a nice visit and finally convinced him it was time to go.  He still wanted pizza though and to indulge him, we ended up back on the other side of the valley once again for what was by now, a late dinner.

On the way home DH wondered aloud how we were going to wear him out enough for sleep since he’d had a nap in the car on the way to Grandma’s.  We were just passing Liberty Park, so I suggested we go there.  We had to drive all the way around it to get to the right entrance and then E remembered there was a pond, with ducks.  “I want to see the ducks,” he said.  “OK,” we said.  So we got out to see the ducks.  And (mostly) catch a beautiful sunset.

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Then he noticed a bridge crossing to one of the islands in the lake.  “I want to cross that bridge,” he said.  “OK,” we said.  So we walked halfway around the lake and crossed the bridge. ( I’m sorry, slightly blurry iphone photos will have to do.)
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When we came back across, he suddenly remembered the park had a playground.  “I want to go play on the playground,” he said.  “OK,” we said.  Nothing like letting the 3-year-old call the shots.  I walked back to the car to drive down to the playground while DH and E started on the long walk.  It was practically dark by the time they got there, but E still had a fantastic time giggling and being chased by Daddy around the playground.  Thoroughly exhausted (me especially and I didn’t even run) we finally headed for home.  It worked, E was so tired, he went right to sleep.

Every year about this time, I wonder why we didn’t spend more time at this park over the summer.  It’s really a great park to have in the middle of the city.  DH said (this year anyway) it was because I hate summer, it’s too hot, and I’ve been too sick to do anything anyway.  True, every last word.  So just like every other September, I vow to come to the park more often while I still can.  We’ll see how that goes now that orchestra, cello lessons, and scouts (on two different nights) are back on the calendar.

Thursday morning we went to a different park because E requested it.  He’s really going to miss being the one to plan our days!  But by Thursday night, he was ready for his brothers to come home.  All through the wedding reception (after he ate dinner anyway)  he kept bugging us to “go get mine brothers now.”  (Although it sounded more like “ho het mine brovers now.”  And it was a happy reunion, although he was miffed that we were going to turn right around and go home to sleep in our own beds rather than stay at Grandma and Poppa’s house.

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And so ends our little “vacation.” This is already too long, so I’ll have to write about what the other three boys did while they were gone later.  And I’m looking forward to a real vacation next month.  Mini though that will be as well . . .
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