As it always does, the weather around here has gone back and forth this month between cool, dry, fall-like air and warm, humid summer air. On on of those warm days a few weeks ago, we snuck in one last beach outing after school.
I hesitated for a moment on whether or not to do it - it would mean a car full of sand, and sandy children who'd need a lot of washing up when we got home - but it would also mean a few more hours at one of our favorite places - so we went for it. And it was lovely. Scott stopped and got some sandwiches and joined us for dinner, and we had a wonderful night. Well worth the cleanup afterward.
And one of the reasons we were able to just pack up and head to the beach on a weekday afternoon is because the boys are not signed up for ANY activities for the next two months! I debated this for a while, and came so close to signing them up for something, but I'm so, so glad I didn't.
They'll both start up with sports again in November - Gabe in basketball, and Dante in karate - but for the time being, I'm really enjoying not having to rush them out the door when they get home from school. And I'm definitely enjoying not having our Saturday mornings occupied by sports practice.
I know it's good for them to be busy with stuff, and I'm happy to spend my time taking them to all of their activities, because I know they enjoy them. But I think they're enjoying the break, too. They come home from school, have a snack, do their homework, and either play outside or run up to their room and construct elaborate Lego universes.
So I think it was a good decision, especially at this time of year, when they're still getting used to being back in school - and especially for Dante, who's getting used to being in school all day, and is completely exhausted every night. Extreme exhaustion seems to be the main trigger for his night terrors, and he's been having more of them lately, so I know having a little less on his plate right now is a very good thing.
Gabe, on the other hand, is becoming more and more of a night owl, and we have a lot of trouble getting him to go to sleep at night. I don't mind if he stays up and reads quietly, but he had been getting out of bed a lot, and coming downstairs a lot, so we instituted a new system whereby if he goes to sleep after reading quietly for a little while (i.e., he stays in bed and doesn't get up and play with toys, or come downstairs), he gets 15 minutes of computer time the next day.
Two days in, and this seems to be one of the best motivators we've ever found! So we'll be sticking with this system for the foreseeable future. He was getting just as frustrated with the situation as we were, though - he complained to me one day last week that he "just wants to stay up late at night, but.... but.... but..... you just keep catching me!"
He and Dante are both getting so big, it seems unbelievable to me. They went on their first real bike ride with Scott a few weeks ago, and it was amazing to watch the three of them ride off down the sidewalk.
We're so lucky to live so close to a fabulous bike path - they were able to ride out of our neighborhood, down a hill, and straight onto the path, where they proceeded to ride 7 and a half miles! He said they had a blast, and he can't wait to do it again. Next order of business is for us to get a seat or trailer for Carmine, so we can all go for a ride together - maybe even down to the ice cream shop next spring!
Gabe in particular seems to have grown up a lot over the past year. Don't get me wrong - he's still an immature little boy who does plenty of things that are decidedly NOT grown-up - but he's changed an awful lot. And it's not just me who thinks so - when I was picking them up at school last week, the principal came over to tell me that he noticed that Gabe seems to have matured a lot, and to let me know how impressed he was with how well Gabe's doing so far this year. Music to my ears : )
Carmine is also growing up, and is getting a jump-start on the terrible twos. He's a rough-and-tumble little kid, and is constantly yelling and throwing things, and I'm doing everything I can to put an end to it, but it's very difficult when his big brothers sit there laughing hysterically at his antics.
I've even started giving him occasional time-outs if he throws something, and I warned him the other day that if he threw a toy, he'd have to sit in the chair for a time-out. So what did he do? He threw the toy, climbed up and sat in the chair for a minute, climbed down, threw the toy again, then climbed up in the chair again.
We really have our work cut out for us.
In addition to the attitude, Carmine is also going through a horrible bout of separation anxiety, and he's also going through a "all Daddy all the time" phase, which is especially tough since Scott works from home, and every time he pops in and out of his office for something, we have a whole drama with trying to get Carmine detached from him. It's exhausting.
He's also decided that he doesn't like going to the gym daycare, and screams bloody murder when I drop him off. Sometimes they're able to calm him down and I can stay and workout, but other times he doesn't last more than 10 minutes before they have to come get me.
It's incredibly frustrating, since that gym time is the way I structure my days and weeks, and it was also my guaranteed 'alone time' every weekday, and I'm really missing it. I had planned to just keep at it, and keep bringing him most days, figuring that consistency was key, and the more he goes, the sooner he'll get over it. But that doesn't seem to be working, so now I'm wondering if I should take a break and not bring him for a week or two, and hope that when we go back, he's past this phase.
I know he'll get over it eventually, but I hope it's sooner rather than later, because working out every day is really key to maintaining my sanity. Thankfully I've been able to go for my runs early in the morning, so that I'm able to get that training in (especially important now that I'm only a few weeks out from the marathon!), and I have been able to get in a few other workouts each week, but it'll be nice when we can get back to a more regular schedule with it - that's one of the things I was looking forward to most with the start of school. I love summer, but I do much better with a plan and a routine.
The boys are pretty well settled into their school routine now, though, and we're having much less chaos leaving the house in the morning, which is nice. And we have a fun time out at the bus stop. Carmine LOVES waiting for the bus. When he spots it, he points and screams "BUS! BUS! BUS!!"
There have been a few mornings, though, when he got very sad after the boys left. I think he finally realized that when they get on the bus, it means they're going to be gone all day. It broke my heart watching him run down the sidewalk after them.
Luckily he's easily distracted, and a few minutes later I had him laughing and giggling. It seems impossible to imagine, but before I know it, he'll be climbing up those steps himself.....