Trevor whooshing down the sidewalk on his tricycle. Tru laughing with delight while I struggle to “find my feet” after he buries them in the sand. Chris and I watching the sun set over the marsh while we eat lobster chowder from the local seafood shack. Trevor resting his head on my chest and folding his hand in mine while we watch Toy Story on the couch.
I could sob if I thought about how quickly our lighthearted, barefoot, breezy summer days passed us by.
But I’ve learned there’s a way to look at the precious memories of our time with our children without sadness. It’s with gratitude. So I try and say, “thank you, Life, for giving me the chance to live this once.”
Here are all of Trevor’s favorites (plus some of mine) from Summer 2019:
Tru developed a definite love for sports this summer. That wasn’t surprising. As I often tell Tru, “you love to be rough and tumble, and I don’t!” (He likes to randomly hurl himself into me, full-force. And he loves being thrown into the air, flipped upside-down, spun around, etc.)
We visited a lot of mini-golf courses this summer, which he loved. (He’d sometimes ask, “when can we play Mickey golf instead of Minnie golf?”) But he really understands the game and fully participates now. He’ll play a full 18 holes without losing his focus. (When Chris and I try to skip a crowded hole, he’ll notice. And he’ll insist that we have to play every hole!) He got a tiny set of starter golf clubs from Grampy and he loves the “dwivin’ wange” (driving range) too. He’ll hit a giant bucket of balls without ever wandering off or losing focus, which is amazing to me (I get bored after hitting just a few balls.)
He also loved playing with this T-ball set this summer. His goal: “hit the balls into the woods!” He did hit the ball into the woods beyond our backyard fence once (he hits the ball well, and he’s strong!) He came running into the house to let me know and had the biggest smile on his face; he was so proud.
He’s continued with swimming lessons this summer. He can now swim on his own while holding a foam noodle. The instructor also dips him under the water, and he’s able to jump into the pool. I feel so much anxiety at class, I can barely handle it. I’m absolutely terrified that he’ll accidentally sink underwater at the same moment the instructor is distracted and not noticing. But Tru loves it, and he has the broadest smile on his face when he’s swimming.
Tru also loves to run. He’ll run around the house and I’ll “time” him by counting to ten. Or we’ll race outside from one end of the fence to the other and we’ll “both win.”
Trevor is a car lover, now more than ever! After I park the car in the garage and turn off the ignition, he insists on crawling into the driver’s seat. He’ll ask about every gauge and button. I think he knows more about cars at age three than I did when I began driver’s ed at age sixteen. And he loves to drive his red Power Wheels Jeep (from Grammy) around the neighborhood. He can operate it by himself, and he’s actually excellent at steering! It’s still funny for me to watch my “baby” drive himself down the street and remember (wasn’t it two days ago?!) when he was so helpless, I had to push him in a stroller!
I love yoga, and Tru enjoys doing yoga with me. Sometimes he’ll randomly go into downward dog pose or do leg lifts. So we did a few family yoga classes, which was special for me. I always like to share something I enjoy with Tru.
We also went to a class at a local farm where we walked through raspberry fields and apple orchards and met chickens and goats. Tru’s favorite part of the class was visiting the farm store afterwards. They had tiny toddler-sized shopping carts, so he’d push the cart around and always insisted on buying a bag of “rainbow bagels” (plain bagels with swirled Technicolor food coloring).
Tru also loved to do “car wash” this summer. That involved covering his yellow Tonka truck with mud from the yard, then using the garden hose to wash it. He’d spend up to thirty minutes focused on this one activity. So I could sit on the porch and read while he played (this was new for me and, yes, the peace was wonderful!)
He also loved doing “water slide” with Chris: Chris would aim the garden hose on the swing set slide while Trevor rode down onto a padded mat at the bottom.
Other favorites: he liked searching for “fudderflies” (fireflies) in the yard, but I don’t think he ever found one. He LOVED riding all of the kiddie and family water slides at the nearby water park (Grammy got him a season pass). Going to all of the local playgrounds. And going to the indoor playgrounds when the weather was rainy or too hot.
A Special First
Tru went to his first movie this summer! Mimi and Grampy joined us, and we all went to see the new Toy Story movie. Tru liked it and sat through the entire thing (he did get antsy and switched seats a few times, since the theater was nearly empty.) Even more than the movie, I think he enjoyed the snacks (he chose popcorn and a giant move-theater-sized Kit-Kat).
A New Love
One new development this summer: Trevor is now in love with country music! Chris and I mostly listen to country music on the car radio, so I guess it isn’t surprising that this happened eventually. But Trevor has forgotten all of the old children’s music cds and, honestly, I’m not missing them in the least! (“Mary Had a Little Lamb,” sung by a chorus of toddlers, does get pretty grating on the nerves after the hundredth time!)
While we’re driving, a new country song will play and Trevor will say, “oh I like this one!” He likes most of them. There are just a few where he’ll say, “I don’t like this one. Change it!” Usually when songs play on the radio, he’ll say “I’m just listening,” and he won’t sing. But then at home (or out at stores or restaurants), he’ll randomly belt out all the lyrics he’s learned.
Here are some of the things I’ve heard from Trevor on a regular basis this summer (if you listen to country radio, this will all be very familiar. If you don’t, this will make no sense whatsoever!):
“Life is a highway! I wanna drive it all night long!” (Rascal Flatts, “Life Is A Highway,” from Cars)
“Hearts need fallin’ … Boots need knockin’ … Knockin’ Boots!” (Luke Bryan, “Knockin’ Boots”)
“Like diamond rings, and football teams, … and this guitar … Long neck, ice cold beer never broke my heart!” (Luke Combs, “Beer Never Broke My Heart”)
“The devil went down to Georgia but he didn’t stick around … This is God’s Country!” (Blake Shelton, “God’s Country”)
Tru still loves to build train tracks with his BRIO train set. We built a lot of really elaborate tracks this summer – tunnels and bridges and garages – and Tru can put together a fairly complex track on his own.
His favorite toy this summer was “Gope.” It’s a larger-sized toy monster truck with giant wheels. He would ask me to “tuck Gope in” next to his bed at night. So I’d lie Gope next to Tru’s bed and fold a pair of his shorts around Gope. But then after a few weeks Tru lost interest, and Gope is now buried at the bottom of his toy box. For whatever reason, Trevor’s never been attached to any particular toy.
Chris also bought Trevor a Lite-Brite (we both remembered loving this toy as kids). So that was a favorite this summer. Tru enjoyed putting the colored pegs in, but was pretty uninterested in seeing it light up!
This summer, Tru’s also become an expert with his tricycle! He’ll pedal all the way to the end of the neighborhood and most of the way back (nearly two miles). So walks have really improved from the baby days when he’d always start crying about half-way through every walk!
One thing he’s lost interest in: reading! Tru used to sit in my lap before his nap and flip through book after book after book… Now, it takes some persuading to flip through just one book before bed. I thought he might have the same strong love for reading that I have; now, I’m not so sure.
Tru moved from a crib to a “big boy bed” this summer. (Basically it’s still the crib, but with one side open.) I knock on wood as I type this but, to this day, he still rarely gets out of bed on his own. He’ll call to Chris or I if he wakes up or needs something. One sweet thing: he does get out of bed a few minutes after waking up in the morning. Sometime between 6:30 and 7:00am, Chris and I will hear the “thud” of his feet leaping to the floor. And then he’ll dive into our bed, crawl under the sheets, and cuddle up in between us. He normally wakes up happy and fully charged with energy and excitement. Again: what a change from the baby days when he’d wake me up at 5am, wailing! I love those early morning cuddles. And I wish I’d never have to lose them.
Tru is still napping for about 2 1/2 hours each day. He just needs the nap. He’ll become noticeably irritable and antsy if he misses a nap; he’ll easily melt down. So he naps from about 2:30-5pm each day. And then he sleeps from about 9pm to 7am each night. It’s a schedule that works for all of us (Chris and I appreciate that afternoon break more than Tru does, I think!)
Tru is still at a place where there are very few foods he’ll eat. But Chris and I have noticed tiny improvements. We grew a backyard garden this summer and Tru was willing to taste zucchini, tomatoes, and chives. He made a disgusted face when tasting these foods, but claimed to like them. For me, it still felt like a victory that he was willing to taste them at all. He’s willing to eat strawberries and watermelon on a regular basis now, so that’s something. He also still loves to bake muffins with me, and he’ll gobble through a ton of muffin batter along the way. He happily ate one of our homemade blueberry muffins this summer (blueberries included!), so that was another victory. Sometimes for lunch, I’ll heat up a frozen Lean Cuisine mac and cheese with frozen broccoli. And Tru will ask for some (including the broccoli). He’ll say he loves it and eat several bites. Maybe Lean Cuisine mac and cheese isn’t the healthiest food, but it’s an actual meal – a mixture of different food groups and flavors – so I count it as another victory!
What are his favorite foods? The same old things. Potato chips. Ice cream, especially “va-yi-ya” (vanilla) with chocolate chips. Sugar cookies. McDonald’s chicken nuggets. Smoothies (thank God for the fresh fruit smoothies! He has one nearly every other day.)
The Summer When Trevor Was Three…
I love age three so much! Trevor is old enough to hold conversations and tell stories, so I’m fascinated to learn about his view on the world. I love hearing the little stories he tells. He’s made up a whole fantasy place that he calls “Love to Laugh”: it’s far away (you need a plane to get there) and it has water slides and playgrounds and bakeries and toy stores.
Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I love so much about my time with Trevor, and here’s my conclusion:
After Trevor was born, I began noticing the frequent attention he attracted. Strangers would just beam at him, walk right up to him, and say hello. He was a magnet for endless positive attention! I grew to love being in the orbit of that limelight, if I’m being honest. Even now that Tru is three, it continues. At first I wondered: “what exactly is it that people love so much about babies and young children?” It’s not that they’re always happy. Because babies and toddlers will scream like no one else on earth! And it’s not that they’re always kind. Babies and toddlers pull hair and hit and throw giant tantrums the moment things don’t go their way. They’re loud. They’re messy. They’re walking disasters. So what is it, exactly, that people love so much?
Here’s my answer:
I think it’s their authenticity. A young child is fully himself; without blame, without resentment, without judgement, without shame. When Tru is mad, everybody is going to hear about it. And when he’s happy, he lights up the world. He wears what he wants just because he loves it, with no apologies. He’s 100 percent okay with who he is and he therefore gives everyone around him permission to do the same. That’s what I love most about my time with Tru. We’re okay with each other’s quirks and faults and mistakes and silliness. More than okay. We accept each other through it all. More than accept. We love each other through it all.