Back to the beach.

Having grown up in a seaside town the beach was always just there.  You could smell the ocean in the breeze.  Life just seemed to naturally revolve around it.  When I was little I spent day after day with my siblings, our mom and friends in the sun, running up and down the beach, searching tidal pools for crabs, jumping from stone to stone along the breakwater and, after an unfortunate encounter which ended with me soaking a very swollen foot in a bucket of saltwater, hunting down jelly fish along the shore and burying them in the sand.  In the evenings, after dad had returned from work we would go for ice cream and then (back in the days of gas that cost less than a dollar per gallon) we’d go for a drive.  We always either started or ended with a tour of the beach.

When I was old enough to venture off on my own by bike and then, terrifyingly to my parents, in a car our nights always ended at the beach.  No matter where we had gone it always ended on the same wall, feet dangling over the sand 6 feet below while the tide rolled in and out.  There is one spot on the beach that is “Our” beach.  Unlike the rest of the beaches in town, this one was covered in pebbles.  People who were walking barefoot along the beach avoided it and it was not a place to put down a towel to catch some sun so it was always empty regardless of the time of day we arrived.  It had a very special attribute though, because of the pebbles, it had a very distinct sound.  The waves were gentle since it was tucked in behind a point and when each wave receded the pebbles rolled against each other.  It sounded like thousands of marbles rolling against each other.  I can still hear it in my head though erosion has all but destroyed that beach now.

Because of all that, it is shocking to me that I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve taken Monkey to the beach!  We live 4 miles from the ocean but that’s 4 city miles which translates to at least 30 minutes of driving.  Well, sitting in traffic, sitting at stoplights, trying not to run over suicidal pedestrians and a little bit of driving.  Going to the beach is a CHORE.

Duhdee lamented, the time before last, that all Monkey wanted to do was throw rocks in the water.  It does get tedious after more than a few minutes.  Monkey didn’t care if another kid ran in front of him or not, he was all about throwing that rock so we had to stay on high alert and keep him from hurting anyone by mistake.

At the beginning of August, when we went again, Monkey spent much more time running around and playing and much less time throwing rocks.  He was most enamored of a large hole someone had dug along the waterline as the tide had receded.  He splashed in the puddle for a very long time.  We would pursuade him to venture down the beach a ways but he still kept returning to the hole to splash.

On Friday we made the trek to the beach once again and it was, by far, the best time we’ve had so far at the beach.  Monkey played in the water with Duhdee (he went out to his WAIST!), dug in the sand, stomped on the sand towers we built for him, splashed a bit in the puddle we made for him and even ventured down to the surf line alone to squat in the water and let the waves roll across his knees.  When we told him we were going to take a walk we pointed out some tire tracks from one of the maintenance vehicles and he raced along switching from one track to the next.  He made us run along on them too and steered us back if we wandered off.  He was giggling and really enjoying himself.  We found a hermit crab and Monkey was interested but then moved on.  When we turned around he raced back along the tire tracks but moved away from them when we told him it was time to go back to our towels.

The only fly in the ointment was that, at some point, he cut his foot on something.  It is a beach in the city so you do have to be careful of broken bottles.  The cut is right on his heel and is a decent size.  He never let on that he was hurt so we have no idea when it happened or what was responsible.  The lifeguards had a first aid kit so we were able to clean it up and bandage it but it did not last long.  By the time we got home it needed to be cleaned again and re-bandaged.  That bandage survived the night but was removed in the morning.  We keep cleaning it and bandaging it but he will NOT keep the Bandaids on.  Earlier he had two Bandaids on, one on his hand because he asked for it and one on his foot because he needed it.  Can you guess which one he left on for hours and which one he took off within minutes?  The goober.  This cut cannot heal (ha!) fast enough.

One of our neighbors tipped us off to another beach just a bit further down the road from the one we went to that is a bit cleaner.  I think we’ll try that one next time and hope to avoid a repeat of this incident.  See that?  NEXT TIME.  We’re looking forward to the next time already.

You know what else we’re going to try again?  A fair…that’s tomorrow.  I’m hoping that this time will be a good warm up for the big fair I want to go to next month.  Let’s hope the cows are as interesting as last year and, just maybe, he’ll be able to at least walk through the midway?  If not tomorrow then next month and if not next month then next year or the year after that…

Stay-cation, now with more STAY!

Ugh, car repairs are expensive, stressful and put a serious crimp in vacation plans.  The only good news about this is that we’ve narrowed the repairs down to 1/4 of what the dealer told us had to be done (thank goodness for dads and BFFs who know cars and know when someone is trying to rip you off!) but we are without wheels and our destination is a 5 hour drive.  And 1/4 of hella expensive is still really expensive.  *sigh*

We have food and access to public transport so we’re not stranded…I just need to figure out what kind of (cheap) fun we can find for the next few days.

For a little cuteness…last night I was talking to my dad about the car issues (OK, he was talking me down from the ledge, lol) and Monkey wanted the phone.  I held it down for him, after warning my dad that he might get hung up on, and asked him to say “Hi” to Grampa.  He did, loud enough for Grampa to hear even.  He also tried to say “Grampa”!

In happier news…

we planned  a trip with Cupcake and her mom today.  We all went to Davis’ Farmland which was a ton of fun.  Monkey was a huge fan of all the different goats.  The farm specializes in endangered and heritage farm animals so there were some very unique animals there.  Umma wanted to bring home one of the baby Scottish Highland cows, it would totally have fit in the car.  Too bad they grow up, lol.

There was just the coolest splash park also.  Monkey and Cupcake were both running around and playing.  Monkey watched the other kids and imitated them (laying down in a shallow puddle on his belly, putting his foot over the nozzle, etc.) and he even engaged a little girl in a game.  I’m not sure what the rules were but they both seemed too.  It involved running toward a spray structure shaped like a Jeep and then running away.  I think the goal was to get their bellies but not their faces, lol.

Then the coolest thing???? BOTH kids fell asleep in the car on the way home! Monkey never does that!  It was a good day!

My favorite photo from today.  Monkey, Cupcake and that adorable litte calf I wanted to bring home.

Party = failure

We were invited to the 5th birthday party of one of Monkey’s former classmates yesterday.  Most of the kids at the party were former classmates.  Monkey’s teacher was there as well.  It all started promising.  Monkey was excited to see his friends and he ran around and played with them.  His teacher commented on all the great progress Monkey has made this summer.

Then the music started and he began to toss a fit.  He refused to be in the backyard.  The best I could do was keep him in the alley along the side of the house and block his escape into the street.  He kept signing and saying “home.”

I felt like an absolute ass having to leave the party after a half hour.  I tried to excuse us graciously but I was on the verge of tears after having watched all the other kids dancing, laughing and enjoying themselves while Monkey panicked.  I needed to leave as well.  It was a crappy, crappy day.  Monkey was fine by the time we got home but it took a stiff drink and some sleep for me to shake off the funk.

*Sigh*  I should write the little girl’s mom to let her know why we left.  I tried to explain but I don’t think I did a very good job yesterday.

Our first ever staycation.

I’ve taken the next week off from work so that Monkey, Duhdee and I can just *relax.*  Duhdee and I enjoyed out weekend to vegetate so much we decided it was a fine way to spend a week with Monkey.  We have plans to visit a local farm one day and I think we’ll take the train into the city one day as well…we’ll otherwise just have a nice long relaxed period to do just as we please.  We are going to go to Maine again for the last 4 days to spend some time with my parents and my nieces which should be fun.

Ahhhh, I’m relaxed just thinking about it!

How quickly things can change.

It’s a gorgeous morning in the metro Boston area, sunny, 65 degrees, perfect.  I had a wonderful commute in, pondered the potential/pending commercial real estate crisis and how it might affect my job.  I enjoyed the sunshine, people were smiling…I was smiling.

I bumped into a colleague in the hall, as she returned to her office with her  morning coffee, and made small talk.  She asked if that was my little boy on the door of my office (I have two photos up along with a page about Fragile X and the Road Race) and I said it was.  She asked after him and I told her how much I’m loving four, how lovable and huggy he is.  She told me, over her shoulder as she walked into her office, “Nurture that so he’ll make a great husband some day.” 

Immediately tears came to my eyes and it’s taken me a while to recover.  My son, a husband?  I hope he will be.  I fear he won’t be.  I ache for what that loss could mean in regards to grandchildren and, more importantly, his happiness. 

I have to shake off the tears and the fears that lie buried so closely to the surface in my life with Fragile X.  I have to move forward and find that hope that keeps us all going.  I just wish it didn’t have to happen at 9 AM.

True love’s first kiss?

Our neighbors have an adorable little girl, let’s call her Cupcake since she’s so dang sweet.  She is almost 14 months old and she is very fond of Monkey.  She watches him, she follows him and she steals his toys.  Monkey smiles at her, laughs when she tackles him and when she steals his toys, he just finds something else to play with.  Obviously it’s love, right? 

Last night, Monkey was visiting with Cupcake and her mom.  I had to work a bit late and when I got home I stopped by to bring Monkey back home to start the bedtime routine.  Monkey volunteered a “high five*” to Cupcake’s mom.  Normally he only does this when asked so I was excited so I decided to up the ante.  I asked Monkey to give Cupcake a kiss goodnight.   He did!  It was Cupcake’s first kiss from a boy (Daddies don’t count) and it was also Monkey’s first kiss from a boy or girl (Ummas and Duhdees don’t count)  lol.