Thursday, September 10, 2015

how we spent our summer vacation.

:: This post contains affiliate links.

Summer is my favorite. Always has been. I love the sun, the heat, the freedom to walk outside without the air biting my cheeks. The weather has made a huge impact on my days, both working with other people's kids and as a stay-at-home mom. Everything's so much more manageable when you can just throw your hands up and say, "Everyone outside! Now!"

After a long winter in southeast Michigan where it was often too cold to even go outside to play (negative wind chills, anyone?), I was so, so looking forward to warm breezes and blue skies. And this summer didn't disappoint. The universe may have delivered some of the worst of times this year, but make no mistake, there were some best of times, too. We didn't travel or sleep in or execute any huge house projects. We just summered. Took it easy. Relaxed. Drank each other in.

So...here's how we spent our summer vacation:

:: It was the summer of the backyard. We took full advantage of our backyard - on the new slide mound, in the sandbox, on the swings (usually with a "friend" - a stroller, a dinosaur, etc. - in the adjacent swing), in the little pool, at the music wall, and in the "Daddy garden." She'd eat anything from the garden as long as we called it a "Daddy" vegetable - Daddy tomatoes, Daddy peppers, etc. She learned to swing on the big-kid swing. She, like us, called the pathway to the park "mosquito alley." She explored and dug and fell down and made it hers.

:: It was the summer of language explosions. Rowan learned to speak in full sentences, to use language idioms ("Umm..." when she was pondering), and to play with language to make jokes. For some reason, she started calling me "Momany" (pronounced "mama-nee") and herself "Rowalee." She commands us: "Come see!" "Look at my tower!" She still clarifies with sign language from time to time - most recently, when we were at a restaurant and she was eating salad. She was asking for more dressing and did the sign for "get dressed," which I thought was clever and hilarious. She loves making us laugh and telling us, "Dat funny!"

:: It was the summer of lounging. We had some morning commitments - music class, a Parent & Child class, our regular library story times - but mostly, we could take our time. Rowan loved having picnic breakfasts on the front porch while we waited for the garbage trucks to come by:

:: It was the summer of numbers and letters. They're everywhere, and Rowan notices them everywhere. We started assigning favorite people to letters, and now she yells whenever she sees a familiar one - A for Anna, C for Carrie, D for Daddy, E for Emmett, F for Finny, G for Gramma and Grandpa, M for Momany, O for Obee, R for Rowan, S for Scarlet, and T for Tatum. She also discovered when standing at the edge of the pool that the number 3 turns into an M if it's sideways, a W if you're the other sideways, and an E if you're upside-down. As for numbers, she loves counting, and if you ask her how old she is? "One and a half! Almost two on Rowie's happy birthday!"

:: It was the summer of growing. Her pigtails are long. Her clothes are too small. (Except her shoes...her feet are a full two to three sizes smaller than her same-age friends' feet.) She now loves to pee in the potty when I change her diaper, although I wouldn't guess that she's anywhere near being potty-trained. (That's fine, I'm not ready for that quite yet, either.) And, telltale sign of toddlerhood, she adores pretending to be a baby...like, all the time. She actually distinguishes between real and pretend, and did NOT enjoy when I pretended to be her, sitting on Daddy's lap in the big chair and drinking her milk: "Rowie saaad. Mama just pretend. Rowie all better, drink milk."

:: It was the summer of swimming swimming swimming, and then swimming some more. We spent a ridiculous number of afternoons between naptime and dinnertime at my mother-in-law's neighborhood pool, and I'd say it was Rowan's favorite thing about summertime. Whenever I'd go into her room to get her from her nap, she'd sit straight up and say, "Gramma's biiiig pool?!" I loved being able to say yes. I thought she'd be nervous in the water, given her shyness in new situations, but she took to it like a natural. It didn't take long before she was going all the way under the water ("Jumping under," she called it) and splashing around like a fish.

:: It was the summer of evolving tastes and preferences. Her current favorite things in the world: Elsa, Anna, Elmo, Cookie Monster, jumping, swimming, letters, pickles, baby dolls, birthdays, Elmo oatmeal, and books (especially Pete the Cat, Chicka Chicka Boom BoomCurious GeorgeThe Paper Bag Princess, Frozen, Big Pumpkin, Pickle Things - any book that she gets to recite parts of). She'll tell us when she likes something, too - "I like dat song!" "I love dat pizza!"

:: It was the summer of singing. I remember wondering, in the spring, how and when kids start singing. It seemed like such a weird, far-off milestone. But now? Rowan loves singing full songs: Itsy-Bitsy Spider, It's Raining It's Pouring, The Wheels on the Bus, Happy Birthday, Twinkle Twinkle, songs from music class, Sesame Street record songs, etc. I might be the only person who can distinguish which song she's singing 95% of the time, but hey. The effort counts.

:: It was the summer of being messy. For sure. Pretty much every day. But, true to her Gorga heritage, my girl loved the clean-up just as much as the mess-making. Here she is trying to wipe up her driveway paintings with a wet paper towel:

:: It was the summer I learned that Rowan has a secret talent: pole dancing. She found poles everywhere we went and executed some fancy moves. Hey, someone's got to make the money around here. 

:: It was the summer of exploring our city. We made sure to hit up some of the best summertime (and just general) destinations that Ann Arbor has to offer: Nichols Arboretum, the Farmers Market, the U of M Matthei Botanical Gardens, the splash pad at Buhr Pool, the U of M Museum of Natural History, the Hands-On Museum, a million parks and playgrounds, the Huron River, Washtenaw Dairy, neighborhood ice cream trucks...

The Arb

Washtenaw Dairy

Botanical Gardens

The Arb, again

A Marilyn moment at one of the U of M Hospital courtyards
(with a dinosaur in hand, natch)

Ran through the woods to hunt down the ice cream truck

:: It was the summer of identifying emotions. And, for me, letting her feel them, even though sometimes I want to tamp down on the negative ones. Since Rowan processes so much through language, it helped give her names for her big feelings. Now she can tell me when she feels sad, angry, happy, scared, and (my favorite) frustrated (by stomping her feet and yelling, "I'm frustrated!"). 

Adult Swim sucks. I agree, Rowan.

All in all? It was a good summer. We flourished outside. We thrived in the water. We danced in the rain and laughed in the sunshine. Rowan's pigtails grew long. All these wonderful things happened, and my daughter grew and learned and love. And. And we also said good-bye to my mom. 

And now it's September. Rowan turns two in two weeks. There are some things I'm fine with taking a break from - sunscreen, loads of swimming laundry, and bedrooms that are sunny for hours past toddler bedtime - and it feels like a relief to let go of the season in which I lost my mom. 

So. Moving forward, welcoming autumn, and - as always - enjoying my sweet girl.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...