(I apologize from my delays between posts. Single parenthood is a busy life.)
June was a whirlwind for us. We typically go to the beach for a week during the month just before school lets out to beat the heat and crowds. This year, we had another trip, a long weekend in DC with my son's first ride on the train. We spent most of this past holiday weekend as slugs trying to recoup from all of the fun.
My son is officially three and a half years old. Some moments, he seems wild and unruly, but most days, he seems more grown up than he should. For instance, I went to pick him up on a hot day from preschool. He asked his teacher for a water, "to hydrate himself". Then, he got in our car and had a breakdown because I would not let him drive.
This age means lots of firsts for him, and I find myself more excited than him to help him experience new things. This summer so far has brought:
Being a parent means determining when it's the best time to let your child experience new things. You have to gauge your child's abilities with the risk and move forward. Some risks are small like letting him open and devour his first ice cream sandwich on a hot, summer day. Others are greater like putting a three year old on a train for six and a half hours and hope that he can behave himself.
It's exciting, but failure sometimes happens. Failure is one of the greatest lessons for anyone. How you handle yourself in the face of your child's failure can make or break the situation. To illustrate this, let me share our recent visit to the zoo. I decided at the last minute not to put my son in a stroller at a huge zoo. I wanted him to experience the tram ride between the two sides and our stroller is large and does not collapse to something small. About 20 minutes before lunch, my son announces that he is tired and wants to be carried. My sore hips bore his weight through two more exhibits, then we ate lunch. I reminded him throughout lunch that he needs to walk the rest of the afternoon with the reward of ice cream at the end of the day. That afternoon, we went at his pace and lingered a bit longer at exhibits to recover. By the end of the day, he had walked 95% of the day.
I knew that being a mother would mean watching my son experiencing his "firsts", but I never knew how much excitement I would feel watching him in these moments.