All posts by bertandorduke

In Praise of Villages

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and thank God, the universe, and nachos for mine. Last week, my parents watched the kids while we went to Paris, and today, we invited ourselves over to Grammy’s for a day of fun. It was action-packed with all kinds of awesomeness, and Grammy (and Auntie Dita, Uncle Matt, RyRy, and Sean-O) kept them occupied and happy all day.

Beatz's new thing is uncontrollable panting in the air conditioned car on long trips. Yay!
Beatz’s new thing is uncontrollable panting in the (air-conditioned) car on long trips. Yay!

After a few threats of “I will turn this car around!”, which I’ll admit, I got a small thrill out of it, we made it to New Hampshire. Side note: if you’ve never been stuck in bumpah to bumpah traffic with an anxiety ridden dog and two kids singing, “Down By The Bay” at high decibels, while suffering from carcolepsy, well, you aren’t missing much. Be grateful for the things you have in your life.

First, we went to the splash pad. The splash pad is zero times the cost of Disney World, and gives my kids approximately an equal, if not greater, amount of joy. It’s in Derry NH if you ever want to save $2,000.

DSC_0197
Joy!
More Joy!
More Joy!
Even more joy further compounded by having both your cousins with you!
Even more joy further compounded by having both your cousins with you!
Harassing parks employee/cousin
Harassing parks employee/cousin
Harassing innocent bystander/cousin
Harassing innocent bystander/cousin
Fun fact (nun fact?): there are 558 nunneries in the Boston area!
Fun fact (nun fact?): there are 558 nunneries in the Boston area!

After exhausting ourselves at the splash pad, we headed to Grammy’s house for some quiet time.

I feel very fortunate that Grammy is a crafts master, as I am a crafts opposite-of-master (slave seems inappropriate).
I feel very fortunate that Grammy is a crafts master, as I am a crafts opposite-of-master (slave seems inappropriate).

As George skipped his much-needed nap, I decided the best thing to do was put the pedal to the medal and go for complete exhaustion.

Read: laps (this is the furthest they have ever "swam" - one width)
Laps! (this is the furthest they have ever “swam” – one width)
Smile! Look at Mama! Fine, look at each other! But smile! Good enough.
Smile! Look at Mama! Fine, look at each other! But smile! Good enough.
Two little otters
Two tired little otters
Chillin' poolside with water wings
Chillin’ poolside with water wings

You’d think they’d be exhausted by now, but turns out they’re never too exhausted to abuse Uncle Matt.

Even Beatz mustered up her daily 5 minutes of energy to participate in this attack.
Even Beatz mustered up her daily 5 minutes of energy to participate in this attack.
Poor, poor pony.
Poor, poor pony.

Can’t stop, won’t stop. Went to dinner with Grammy, Auntie Dita, and Sean-O. Finished the night with ice cream.

For safety, always keep your fingers away from George's mouth when he's eating.
For safety, always keep your fingers away from George’s mouth when he’s eating.
Grammy: Can I have a little bite? George: Okay, but only a very tiny one.
Grammy: Can I have a little bite?
George: Okay, but only a very tiny one.

We were going to go to Free Fun Friday at the Children’s Museum tomorrow, until I put down my crack pipe and realized that was a completely insane idea. So, who knows what we’ll do? But it’s a holiday, so I have some back up, thank God/the universe/nachos.

Quick poll – if you end up getting home late (over an hour and a half past bedtime), and your kids are dead asleep in their car seats, do you:

a) carry them to their rooms, take off their shoes, and put them to bed

b) wake them up gently, have them brush (and floss, for bonus points) their teeth, change into jammies, and then put them to bed

c) carry them inside, attempt to brush their teeth while they sleep, put them to bed

d) some other option I haven’t thought of

I got this.

Just kidding, I’m barely hanging on. But we had 100% fewer time outs today, so that’s a start. The kids slept in until 8 (whining takes a lot out of you), and then we went to Michael’s to get some of Hazy’s art framed. The great thing about Michael’s is that there are 300 things that kids love there; the bad thing about is that they want you to buy them all 300 things.

Michael’s, the free amusement park!
$1 apiece, went into the Prize Box
$1 apiece, went into the Prize Box

After Michael’s (and after my free birthday burger from B. Good – shout out, Westside!), it was nap time for George and crafts time for Hazy and me. Crafts are, how do you say, not my specialty, so we usually default to multimedia collages using my old US Weeklys. [Hazy’s thoughts on Kim & Kanye: “I like them, but I don’t like their names. Let’s call them Rose & Brady.”]

A peek at our
A peek at our “process”
You're welcome, Ajit.
You’re welcome, Ajit.

After naps, we went to the JP library for Superhero costume making. The description said ages 6+, but I figured George was old enough. Who says a 3 1/2 year old can’t cut out eye holes for a mask, glue on tiny jewels, and cut out stars? I do. I say that. The librarian was very impressed with Hazy’s superhero name, Rainbow Dash, and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that it came from a My Little Pony coloring book.

Arts & crafts at the library is like The Hunger Games for mothers. Don't worry, I'm totally Katniss.
Arts & crafts at the library is like The Hunger Games for mothers. Don’t worry, I’m totally Katniss.
Aliases:
Aliases: “Rainbow Dash” & “George”
Missions: “Save the world”, “Make a mask”
Selfie difficulty level: one bajillion
Selfie difficulty level: one bajillion
Rainbow Dash & George, ready for action
Rainbow Dash & George, ready for action

We capped off the night with special guest star, Ajit, who got treated to a hip hop show. We use the term hip hop very, very loosely.

Dancing to
Dancing to “hip hop” jam, Roar.
Rainbow Dash's alter ego, Hipster Girl.
Rainbow Dash’s alter ego, Hipster Girl.

If you have any ideas for what to do on future rainy days, or what to do on future sunny days for that matter, or how to make the whining stop. Please share.

It has begun.

It’s never good when someone’s already been in two time outs by 10 am (cough, cough, George), but we got back on course by the afternoon. Today, we: • wrote apology notes to Oma and Opa for being turds (Sample content: “Sorry we were bad to you.”). • had a picnic on our front lawn (PB&Js for the kids, Wegman’s sushi for me, and shockingly, no wine was consumed). • took Beatz to the dog park, where she promptly lay down in the shade. • went to the Franklin Park Zoo where we saw gorillas, a mandrill, tigers, butterflies, and a bunny (see if you can spot it in the flower photo). We spent the bulk of our zoo time at our favorite exhibit, the playground. • built a Magnatile hotel and fought over the trains DSC_0584 IMG_6456 IMG_6459 IMG_6460 DSC_0586 DSC_0591 DSC_0592 IMG_6469 IMG_6471 IMG_6472 DSC_0597 IMG_6474 Pending the status of Double Secret Probation, we will do some more fun stuff tomorrow.

“Entry, Day #1” & “Entry, Day #2”

Exactly.
Exactly.

Okay, I haven’t actually started my leave yet, but I’d like to share this hopefully-not-prophetic imagined entry by my buddy/Words with Friends frenemy, Brian Heidebrecht:

entry, day #1:
i am the luckiest mom ever! this summer is going to be incredible. i have so many things planned and the children will be thrilled to have me home and available to fill their days with love & activities!!!!!!!

entry, day #2:
oh. my. god. what on EARTH was i thinking????? how can it not be time for school to start up again? it feels like it’s been 3 months already! it’s SO HOT and they are SO NEEDY. how many popsicles do i need to give them just to get TWO SECONDS of quiet time? and where the hell is matty? he said he’d be home by now. where’s the margarita mix? this is going to be a long ass summer…

Note to self: Stock up on popsicles and tequila.

The Plan So Far

Let's do this!
Let’s do this!

The Official Summer Off hasn’t started yet (it’ll start June 30th), but here’s what’s on the agenda so far:

  1. Harborfest (first week July)
  2. One World program, Tuesdays 10-12, starting July 7th (http://www.marybakereddylibrary.org/programs-events/one-world-event-information-registration/)
  3. Puppet Showplace Theatre – Pinnochio (July 8-11); The Pirate, The Princess & The Pea (Aug 29-30)
  4. July 9-12 giant inflatables on lawn on D (http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2015/06/08/lawn-on-d-events-boston-intrude-art-installation-thursday-july-9/)
  5. Elephant & Piggie’s “We Are In a Play”, Brewster, July
  6. Revere Beach Sand Sculptures July 24th weekend
  7. Hokusai at the MFA
  8. Harbor Islands cruise
  9. Whale Watch
  10. Castle Island
  11. Canobie Lake Park
  12. Blue Hills Reservation – hiking?
  13. Crane Beach
  14. Discovery Pack Arnold Arboretum (http://www.arboretum.harvard.edu/visit/family-activities/discovery-packs/)
  15. Letterboxing http://www.atlasquest.com/about/wiki/browse.html?gCatId=28
  16. Park Pool
  17. Kimball’s
  18. Swim lessons!
  19. Swan Boats/Make Way for Ducklings/Public Garden
  20. Duck Boats

Thank you for all the suggestions so far. Keep ’em coming!

What are you doing?

People ask me this question all the time: when I’m going back for seconds, when I’m grabbing the karaoke microphone, when I’m picking a fight with a large angry woman in line for the bus at Atlantic City at 1 am, and now, when I’m taking the summer off of work.

The short answer is, I’m taking two months off from being a working mom to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s like a maternity leave, but without a newborn.

The long answer is, I’m giving my kids an old-fashioned summer. I’m taking them to the beach, teaching them to swim, letting them splash around in the pool with their cousins, giving them a weekly date with their grandparents, taking them to puppet shows and museums, going letterboxing with them, taking them to the Acton Town Fair and getting them (me) fried dough, and doing whatever else I can think of.

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Here’s where I’ll keep track of all the fun. If you can think of anything that should be on our must-do list, please leave me a comment.

Natasha