Photo: This was a year ago. This picture was taken a year ago… sippy cups, stroller.. old apartment (that we were packing).. and central air, but that’s another story for another time. One year ago, dear reader. So much can change in 365 days…

The boys, oh the boys… so exhausting. So full of energy. But Lord are they growing and changing.

I wanted to report that we are, after a month of working at it, finally seeing some consistent success with the potty. Ursa Major has figured out that it’s easier, cleaner, and faster to just do his dang thang in the potty instead of in his diaper. It still requires negotiation, especially when he is in the middle of something, like playing with his cars and trucks, but if you can set him up for success (Lord if those windows aren’t tiny!) he’ll go. And then he’s proud of it! It’s wonderful!

Potty training is still a time suck, and I am not sure that we’ll be fully where we’d like to be by the start of school, but we’ll certainly somewhere. Maybe he’ll be totally trained by his 4th birthday… maybe?

My eldest is doing other really impressive things, too. We went into town to the baby lab yesterday to do a study in sharing and Ursa Major performed beautifully. By “performed” I don’t mean that he did anything right or wrong… the studies aren’t designed like that. I mean that he was really game for everything. He listened to instructions, he didn’t shed a tear, he played really nicely, he said “please” and “thank you” without need of being cued… it was amazing. And, though I don’t want to write about the study itself because I’m pretty sure I’m not supposed to, he behaved in a way that both surprised me and confirmed for me his internal moral compass.

If your local university has a baby lab, you should totally sign up your kids. The studies they do are interesting to watch, the data that they get is important (you have no idea how many teachers have benefited from studies conducted at baby labs), and you get a little special insight into your own baby’s brain.

So anyway, we get in the car to leave Cambridge and go to mom’s for a quick shopping outing, and Ursa Major decides that he wants to play a game. First, he wanted to identify all of the octagons that he could find on the way. (Yes, he said octagons. and yes, he initiated the game!) We quickly got onto a highway so that got boring pretty fast. I suggested rectangles and he decided that was a boring shape. “What about cylinders? I think I want to look for cylinders,” he decided. So he spent a good 15 minutes identifying everything he could think of on the way that could possibly be a cylinder: telephone poles, pipes, the poles that signs are on… it was phenomenal. Three really is amazing. If Four is all of this thinking power and curiosity without the tantrums, then I think we might just be at the tipping point for awesome.

And no, I take no credit for any of my son’s awesome shape vocabulary. I credit PBS’s Peg + Cat which is, without a doubt, the best children’s show on television.  It’s actually great to watch together, the songs get stuck in your head, and whoever is the director of music for the show is a for serious music nerd. There are two episodes featuring Beethoven as a character and they are both out-of-this-world amazing.

I’m really pleased with the way that the boys are rolling along. We’ve already talked about Ursa Minor’s talking (We’re at 7-word sentences now) and Ursa Major’s vocabulary is rich even beyond his shapes. While there are areas where I could engage them more (art or music) I cannot really complain at all. I have had my moments of wondering if I’m doing this right sometimes, but then they have their ways of reminding me that we’re all on the right track. Even when they have their behavior moments, which there are many, it’s normal. As my mother said yesterday, “ain’t nothin’ wrong with these boys. Only thing wrong with them is that they are two and three. They’ll grow out of this.” It’s true, so true.

It’s high summer. Late July, can you believe it? We’re seeing back-to-school commercials already! Massachusetts is having a tax-free weekend in a few weeks and I’m already starting my list. The boys need backpacks. Ursa Major has out-grown most of his stuff. I think Ursa Major is gonna need shoes… I never really cared about tax-free weekend before, but now that I’m seeing what the boys need (and calculating the cost in my head), I’m already strategizing which stores, which sales, and the best routes to get it all. And The Husband and I are trying to figure out what DIYs we can tackle before the Fall comes. Like, for example, painting the living room and dining room…

But in the meantime, all I can do is keep this hot farmhouse clean and prepare myself to entertain while keeping little bears engaged and happy. We’re hosting gatherings on both Saturday and Sunday, and while I’m dreading getting this house together, I’m excited to have people over and do a little cooking. It’s going to be great.

And did I mention that mom is giving me her grill? And that it will be here this weekend? I mean, I bake brioche because it’s cute. I live to grill. My soul is about to sing.

and I just got awesome news! Ursa Minor’s lead level actually went down. We still have to go to the city to see the doctor in September, but, I think we may have actually solved this problem!

I’m pretty sure that my Quiet Thoughts will start with, “ow, my back hurts from all the cleaning” but we’ll see. See you then!

Remember this? August 2013:

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3 thoughts on “Letters from Camp Mama

  1. I drove my teenage boys to a music exam last week. They go do the exam while I sit and wait to take them home. The adjudicator told me after that I had really polite boys. I was just so chuffed. Your little toddler boys sound awesome, but I feel your pain over the non stop exhaustion at that age.

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