In seven days, summer will be over. Seven weeks ago, the time seemed unlimited. At that time, we made a summer wish list. It went like this:
- Plant a garden.
- Read 50 new books (the kids, not us).
- Go to aquarium.
- Go to Santa Cruz.
- Grow flowers.
- Go to a National Park.
- See the redwoods or sequoias.
- Go camping.
- Ride horses.
- Go swimming.
- Go to a beach.
- See a Ports game.
- Go fishing.
- Go to Exploratorium.
- Learn 20 new sight words (again: the kids, not us)
- Go to Oakland Zoo.
- See fireworks.
With seven days to go, the only items not crossed off are: Go to a National Park, Go fishing, and Go to Exploratorium.
Tom (our 4-year-old) and I are planning to fish this weekend when we go camping (for the second time—the first time having been a trial run in the backyard), so, wish-list-wise, we’ve done pretty well.
Here are some highlights:
- We planted a garden. I made an eight-cinder-block by four-cinder-block garden and we planted seeds for carrots and peppers and green onions and transplanted a tomato plant. None of the seeds grew. Too much shade. But the tomato plant, in one corner, is doing fine.
- Tom “read” well over 50 new books this summer. He doesn’t actually read read. We read to him, mostly. But then he can read some of his books, or can read them back to us, in part via memorization and in part because he knows a lot of sight words, twenty new of which he learned this summer.
[Note: I can claim no credit for all of the sight words that Tom knows. That is all thanks to Liz, who is a wonderful mother who diligently does homework with him, makes flashcards, games, etc. Our sliding glass door, for example, is currently covered with taped-up words which Tom can move around to make sentences.]
I bought him a box set of Shakespeare stories for kids at Costco. It was on sale. Now he’s into Shakespeare. He likes the comedies, but his favorite is Macbeth. He recites the opening lines. He asked for a Macbeth birthday party. Asked several times, actually, but he’s since settled on a superhero birthday party and a Macbeth Halloween party. By the way, there’s less stuff on Pinterest for a Macbeth birthday party than there is for a superhero birthday party (which isn’t to say there’s nothing).
[Note: I don’t actually know anything about Pinterest. But Liz does, and for the past four years she has thrown one amazing birthday after another.]
- Our aquarium trip was to the California Academy of Science. The California Academy of Science was awesome; the kids loved it. The problem was that we went to said academy on the day of the Warriors’ victory parade, which we thought would be okay if we avoided Oakland, which we did, but despite avoiding Oakland all veins (in the morning) to the Bay Area and (in the afternoon) all arteries out of it were clogged such that a trip that was meant to start after breakfast and end at naptime actually ended around dinner time.
- We went to Santa Cruz—specifically the boardwalk—this past weekend. The boardwalk is sort of an interesting experiment—especially in contrast to, say, somewhere like Disneyland—of an amusement park at which there really isn’t much security—anyone can walk in and out as they please—and the park is seemingly operated by a band of high school students on their summer break (go ahead: go there and see how long it takes you to find an employee that can vote).
But the result of the experiment is that it all works out just fine. The place is tons of fun. Tom especially liked the log ride. And our kids are too young to notice the pot smell blended into the ocean air.
Here’s a fun story: Near the end of our trip, Sam (the two-year-old) got into one of those moods in which he demanded to be held. Around the same time, he pooped, and the essence of said poop sort of seeped through his swim diaper and through his shorts—both wet from the salty brine—and onto my arm. I’m not saying I had poop on my arm. More like water that smelled like poop. Added to which Sam is now too big to carry on one arm for too long, so by the time we vacated the boardwalk and made our way back to the truck, where awaited the diaper bag—I having earlier been sent ahead to load all of our stuff before one more trip up and down the boardwalk—each of my forearms smelled like a septic tank. Hashtag parenting.