Though it never really arrived, it's now unofficially over. Summer that is. We celebrated with a neighborhood block party yesterday that was a kids' wonderland complete with a ginormous bouncy slide, several motorized vehicles at their disposal, and 192 pounds of sugary treats with a side of hot dog.
We kicked our summer off with a similar walk through the neighborhood, pulling our otherwise unused gardening cart to the cul de sac piled high with BYOWhatnots and Nate cruising on his scooter, while I yelled across the neighborhood for him to slow down, that this is a busy street. Ahhh, motherhood.
We planted and tended our first garden this spring and summer. I thought our harvest was respectable for a first try. We were in tomatoes all summer long, and also had strawberries, beans, pumpkins, carrots and bell peppers. Two of my favorite sights in our little garden were Nathan picking the fruits and veggies right off the vine, popping them in his mouth and the exclamations that followed; and second, a bunny nibbling at our carrot greens! A bunny sighting is not a common occurrence in our urban setting. We also started composting with red wiggler worms this summer. I'm certain they have reproduced, so I'm thinking they're thriving, but Nate and I are both unsure of "which part of this is the compost?"
Shaun taught Nate to ride his bike without training wheels this summer. He is proficient enough now not to require someone running madly alongside him. That's arguable though since when he becomes fatigued he will invariably smash right into any obstacle in his path. Not a great thing when it's Labor Day at the bay.
Nate had his first root beer in Ventura and lost his first tooth at Grandma and Grandpa's house. Sentimental guy that he is, he didn't want to give it up to the tooth fairy.
Auntie Terry and Uncle Jeff are expecting their first baby in February. Just this morning, with no provocation whatsoever Nate asked, "How big is the baby now?" He loves the baby stories.
We played our first round of miniature golf together, rode our first big roller coasters (he thought he would get to sit in my lap), and stayed awake for his first Padre game. As I was explaining what was going on, not surprisingly, Mr. Literal questioned the running around the bases to home bit. "They aren't going to run to their actual homes are they?"
Nate's been interested in earning money in the past and has earned prizes this summer and previous Summers doing the library reading program, so he definitely understands the concept of it. Another first this summer is his detour away from PBS Kids television channel. Yes, now he wants to watch vile characters doing evil non-kid things and to top it off, these new channels have...commercials...so now there's a whole new world of things that he must have. "Actually, Mommy I don't want a Pillow Pet, I need a Pillow Pet."
"You need one, huh? And how much do they cost?"
"$19.95 plus shipping and handling. And, they are machine washable and guaranteed for 60 days."
"Do you have $19.95?"
"Well, if you want, we could probably work something out, but you may not want to and that's fine; you can just put the Pillow Pet on your birthday wish list."
From there he proceeded to make his own behavior/earning/Pillow Pet chart complete with the days of the week labeled on the left and a cutout of the advertisement he found in the Toys R Us circular taped to the top. He worked the majority of the summer for that damn pillow and let me tell you, it was a proud day when he earned the final mark and knew a trip to Toys R Us was in store that afternoon. I was pretty proud of us too.
I think maybe the best first of the summer is the full blown reading. It's been coming in bits and pieces for some time, but now, there's no denying it. While the accomplishment he feels is evident, it goes well beyond cracking the code. He reads aloud with expression, appropriate intonations, questions what he doesn't understand, and especially with any Mo Willems books, there is giggling.
There are other firsts that make a mother a tad less proud and more perplexed, infuriated, and triggered but this is not the time or place...
Tomorrow begins a new first, Kindergarten.
Between rounds of Scrabble, laundry and Candyland we asked Nate if he wanted to walk or drive to school tomorrow. "Walk, well--actually run, because the bell rings at 8:58am