15 June 2012

A Couple of Boys (and a girl) Have the Best Week(end) Ever

Summer is here. School is out.  The pool is open. Vacations are planned.  Let the lazy days begin!

I had Marla Frazee's book A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever on my mind this past weekend.  It is a celebration of summer and boyhood.  The title kept running through my head as we began our summer vacation with a weekend trip to the mountains.  School finished up (for the students) on Thursday and we scooted out of town on Friday to ride the Creeper Trail in Damascus, VA.

It was not an idyllic weekend (too many bumps and scrapes and stings for that), but it will live in my memory as one of my favorites.  We stopped in Boone for dinner Friday night on our way to Damascus, walked around the small town after we arrived while Isaac rode his bike, spend hours on bikes riding down the mountain on Saturday, relaxed on the porch while Isaac played in the river, played board games, window shopped, and did an impromptu tour of Yadkin Valley wineries on our way home Sunday afternoon.

Some moments will live because of the stress they caused -- Matt's head-over-handlebars tumble, Isaac's two  bee stings with accompanying blood-curdling screams, Isaac's face plant off his bike in the middle of the trail -- but they do not detract from the overall enjoyment of the weekend.

I am trying to build in more weekends like this, especially this summer when our weekends are not taken up with soccer and week nights are not devoured by homework.  We may not get away for an entire weekend, but a day or night here or there to escape the routine and enjoy each other's company is a reasonable goal.

Isaac is going to camps for a few weeks and may very well have "the best week ever" with one of his friends.  But I will remember our weekend away that started our summer off at a relaxing pace and look forward to a few more like it before the routine begins again in August.

Happy Trails.

07 June 2012

Time It Was and What A Time It Was

The school year is over.  Isaac made it through first grade and is now officially a "rising 2nd grader."  Where has the time gone?  I know it is horribly cliche to ask that, but I am really having trouble grasping that the boy I picked up from school today is the same one I brought home almost seven years ago.

Isaac has grown so much this year, not just physically -- though he is several inches taller now than he was last summer.  He is maturing into an honest-to-goodness KID and it won't be long before he is a YOUNG MAN.

When I was pregnant, I promised myself that I would not wish time away and would do my best to appreciate each stage of Isaac's development.  Some have been easier than others to be thankful for.  And at times it was hard to focus on what was "now" and not think about "soon" or "in a few months" or "next year."  I tell friends that while I do not want another child, especially not another baby, I would gladly relive those days and years with Isaac.  I miss HIM as a baby -- nursing him and cuddling him -- I miss HIM as toddler -- exploring and creating havoc -- I miss HIM discovering language and skills and learning about the world around him.  He is not my "baby."  He has become my "son."  And there are times that I am not sure how we have arrived at this place.

One thing Isaac loves to do is look through the albums I have of each year since his birth.  He will flip through them on his own or with Matt or I.  He is filled with curiosity about what he was like when he was a baby and toddler.  I like looking at the albums with him -- it's almost like reliving his early years, but without the lack of sleep.  I am not sure that Matt and I are doing this "parenting" thing correctly or even very well, but as we look at the photographs of the past six years and at the person Isaac is becoming I think that maybe we are at least adequate.

In a few years, when I am wondering again how we have gotten to where we are, I think I will look back on year seven as one of my favorites.  Seeing Isaac tackle more tasks on his own, watching him ride a bike for the first time, answering his questions and listening to his observations about the world -- all of these things converge in a kid that I enjoy spending time with and look forward to getting to know better.

Isaac's eighth year will bring with it many changes and plenty of challenges.  I look forward to watching him grow and have new experiences.  But for now I will enjoy where we are and remember where we have been.  And wonder where the time has gone.

03 June 2012

Let's Make Some Noise

Isaac's reading has improved exponentially this year.  I credit his teacher . . . everyone who knew her told us when they heard who Isaac would have for 1st grade that he would be reading by the end of the year . . . they were right.

He is more confident and much more willing to read at bedtime.  He will even try reading something new on his own.  The other weekend, Isaac took a book up to our bedroom to read while he waited for Matt to get ready for soccer.  He sat and read Calvin and Hobbes comics, even trying to sound out words like "salubrious."  This is not the same child who cried when I asked him to read last summer.

I have been bringing home books that are on his reading level to make sure he had plenty of books he could read independently.  One recent one was Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells.  This was one of my childhood favorites.  I remember reading about Nora and all the trouble she caused when I was Isaac's age.

Like me, he laughed when Nora's father yelled to be quiet after she dropped the marbles all over the floor and when her sister asked why she was so dumb after she flew the kite down the stairs.  Isaac liked the book so much that we read it two or three nights in a row.

I didn't laugh as much this time as I re-read the book, at least not at Nora's antics.  I laughed quite a bit with Isaac just because his laughter was contagious.  But, now that I am an adult, Nora seems like a much more sympathetic character.  She is a forgotten middle child who is vying for attention.  She makes noise and creates messes to get a reaction out of her parents who are consumed with the needs of her older sister and baby brother.

I was not a forgotten middle child and Isaac does not have any siblings with whom to vie for attention.  We are not Nora.  But children who feel forgotten by busy parents or supplanted by a new baby will empathize with Nora, though they will hopefully find less messy ways to get attention and also feel loved as Nora finally does in the story.