Mr. Cynic has been riding the bus to high school for the past couple of years, though we live .4 mile from the school. That’s closer than I lived to my high school, to which I walked – up hill both ways in the snow. Seriously, I did. It was hilly where I lived growing up in Connecticut. Not here though, and only the occasional appearance of snow.
But back to yesterday, Mr. Cynic and the first day of school. He had the same bus driver for his first two years of high school. She could probably drive her route with her eyes closed. She retired and there was a new bus driver, who drove rather like a lab mouse introduced to a new maze. She had no idea where she was going in the morning. And again in the afternoon. At every intersection she turned the wrong way, according to Mr. Cynic. When his bus was significantly late on the way home, I received a text message: going to be late. bus driver doesn’t know what she’s doing.
When he finally arrived home, he declared he was never taking the bus again. I smiled. The boy who eschews exercise will be getting some. Every day.
Captain Comic’s bus involved less drama but more nerves on my part. He has been riding the SPED bus since we moved here five years ago. He stands at the end of the driveway in full sight of his peers at the corner bus stop to get on a different bus. Last Halloween, I found out that they all knew him, but he didn’t really know them. As we walked around the neighborhood, the common cry was “I see him at the bus stop.” Last spring, his IEP team and I decided it was time he ride with his neurotypical peers. And when I had an IEP team meeting last week, they all told me, “Mom, you cannot walk him to the bus stop. You cannot ask his friends if it’s okay for him to sit with them. He needs to do this himself. He’s thirteen.”
And while my instincts know this is true for any other kid, I still want to protect him, manage his interactions. So I stood at the window with the camera and watched him. He did alright.
I have a lot on my mind.
So this morning, Toots and I took a breather, and just played in the sunshine. I think it helped me to not obsess quite so much, sort things out a bit.
It’s also our last day of Toots only. Tomorrow, we retrieve Mr. Cynic and Captain Comic. Mayhem will return to its usual full capacity.
So for now, some quiet girl time.
Toots had a haircut on Friday, but with the humidity, you would never know. Many women in the salon pleaded for a head of hair with her natural caramel highlights and those curls. Of course, they don’t have to comb them out three times a day. I do, or dreadlocks.
It was too hot to even blow bubbles, but we did.
“”But I done wanna yook at you, Mommy. I’m busy here.”
I walked Lucy, also known as The Goo, Goose, Goosie, Lucy Goose. We sat by the lake for a bit. It was cooler than it has been, a few clouds rolled in and spit on us today. I wouldn’t exactly call it rain, but it made things about fifteen degrees cooler. Again, poor cellphone camera capture, but that lump on that branch on the tree across the inlet? That’s a great blue heron. He was magnificent in person. I know, bad tease. I’ll try to remember a better camera next time.
They waited pretty patiently for my friend to blow it up. In the oppressive heat, it eventually dawned on us to use the bike pump, but it didn’t work so well.
Then we discovered, by the two older girls’ turns that playing SlipnSlide the way it was intended could be very painful.
And that’s where toddler and dog innovation came in.
And then the school aged girls figured out the physics of squeezing the tube on the side, making a sprinkler.
Pardon the Adirondack block. Come on now, it was hawt! Cut me some slack. I’d already done a bit of yard work and all I wanted to do was sleep right about when I took this shot.
Something else proved much more fun, as the toddler and preschooler initiated a new game.
I was just happy to be sitting in in the shady yard. Shady was nice, but I still melted into a my very own puddle.
I arrived home with West Virginia mountain soil ground into my skin, everything smelling slightly musky and very smokey from rain and campfire and feeling more alive than I’ve felt in a long time. Hot, sore, soaked, dirty, smelly and utterly alive.
Honey and I have this little thing. When we’re in sync about something, any little thing, we have kind of a slide-five, confirmation of everything right between us. We did that a lot more this trip than we have for a long time.
I had dreams, amazing dreams of people far away but near to my heart, as I slept with my head in a Civil War trench on a hilltop, in a damp tent, surrounded by RV city. One friend currently working, far from his family and friends, in Argentina. Others in a far off land…I think it’s called Wisconsin. 😉
This is who I am. I am of the land, mountains, rivers, sea and sky and night fires. This is where I am happiest, most content, completely myself.
And I haven’t been camping in over 20 years. Now, I know why I feel such discontent. It’s not the suburbs. It’s not my family circumstances, or other minute aggravations of the day in day out or the lack of writing time to myself.
It’s that I haven’t fed my soul the way it loves to be fed most in such a long long time. A lifetime. A roasted marshmallow soul under the moon and stars soul. A sun on my skin, rain on my hat, kid in a backpack on my back soul. A dog leash carabiner’ed to the backpack soul.
This is the seven year old Cathy, who when my family couldn’t call me in from dinner so easily, my mother sent my brothers out to look up the nearest tree for me.
But I seem to be starting at the end here, rather than the beginning. and this is probably going to be a very long blog with lots of pictures. So maybe I will leave the end here, at the beginning, and give you the beginning to the end tomorrow, and maybe the day after, and again, after that.
I am happy, my family is safe. I love my spouse, and my daughter camped for the first time. Her favorite part was ‘camping’. Parental translation: sleeping in the tent with Mommy and Daddy and Lucy.
And Captain Comic stops talking when he hits the water, for hours at a stretch, or when he’s buried in the sand. His synapses reset from the sensory input he gets from being wholly contained over most of the surface of his skin, whether sand or water. Sensory ReIntegration. I think he and I are alike in that manner, he’s just more so, to the nth degree. Other than when he sleeps, the beach is the one environment in which he does not talk endlessly.
I loved the beach for a lifetime before he was born, but for him, I love it even more. At one point, he and I took a walk on the pier to see the fishermen’s catch. Toward the end of the pier, one young man had caught a skate! That was really cool for us to see. As we talked with him, he said in the past week, a couple of sharks had been caught at this pier. You should have seen Capt. Comic’s eyes bug out when I said, “Right where you were swimming in the same waters!”
It is a struggle to get him to put on sunscreen before he hits the surf. In front of the woman in the white top from right to left is Captain Comic, Mr. Cynic and Mr. Cynic’s new gf. She’s cute and very nice, also very blonde, hence she is now known as Goldilocks. They had to move away from the pier zone by 200 feet, partly due to riptide, partly the fisherman’s lost hooks. We kept the encampment by the pier, so it was a little walk to the swim zone. Toots decided she didn’t like the ocean after it hit her in the face when she was with Honey. But I got her there a couple times later to rinse a ton of sand off and to cool down. We got hit with a good sized wave, too, But when I laughed about it, she laughed about it, too. She still would rather go to Water Country.
Here is the gang of youngins all helping out to bury Capt. Comic in the sand. Goldilocks was a good sport in entertaining him, and Toots, who is completely enamored with her.
Honey, soaking up the sun. looking up the pier. It’s nice to see him relax. It’s not nice to see how easily he sunburns, even with 45SPF.
After a couple of hours, and Captain Comic and my walk on the pier, we discovered a playground near the parking lot.
Play is very serious business for a three year old.
All in all, it was a perfect beach day. Life is good. Wear sunscreen.
In the meantime, Memorial Day weekend was a blur, and only two events did I have the kids involved. Otherwise, Mr. Cynic pretty much spent the long weekend babysitting. I already mentioned Friday night in the my last post, and Sunday night included two seatings for a Lynda Carter show at the Virginia Arts Festival. She had a great band filled with Hall of Fame musicians, including Blue Lou Marini, the sax player who has played with everyone and who Jim Henson modeled his Muppet sax player after. Wonder Woman can sing, but to be honest, while the show was enjoyable, she took a lot of old favorite songs of a generation or three and turned them all into mid-tempo cabaret numbers. Not quite my cup of tea for an entire show. I need more variance. But, I will say, she is still absofrigginlutely gorgeous. and you can tell she hasn’t had a ton of outside help with it. She was also very down to earth, even while on stage.
Mr. Cynic would have babysat for one more event, but I decided to risk Captain Comic’s ability to cope with a crowd and a live orchestra. It didn’t go particularly well and we skipped the orchestra in the end.
Here is some photographic excerpts from a couple of things this weekend, camera battery died, so it’s all via cell shots:
The neighborhood pool opened for the season! Sorry about my finger. just think Kids in the Hall – “I’m crushing your head!” It also looks like I sunscreened the lens.
I only saw Captain Comic at this lifeguard break, for three solid hours of pool time. Mr. Cynic invited his latest girlfriend. He’s turned into a teen serial monogamist, four girlfriends in three years. At least he’s not a playah. To be fair, these past nine months or so of dating his prior gf, it was difficult for them to see each other outside of school.
When I had a chance to water the gardens and yard at some point, I discovered a few things growing, some intentional, some not, like this birch under the wisteria covered slide platform.
And this oak sprig under the trampoline.
I discovered my first snap pea pods, and Toots and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Pea pods barely make it to mouth by way of table. usually, I just eat them straight from the plant.
Watermelon from seeds I planted earlier this week!
And squash, too! It must be that good dirt I planted them in.
We made it to the pool again briefly between things on Monday.
Then we headed to the Arts Festival Picnic for the Volunteers in Norfolk, which was too hot and crowded, and Captain Comic coped by chowing down multiple hot dogs and sodas and bags of chips. I couldn’t stop him for anything. There’s a little issue with impulse control with our aspergian brethren. Captain Comic has particular difficulty in this aspect of Asperger’s Syndrome.
The great thing about the event is that the local PBS station’s tent was next to ours, so Toots got to meet Buddy from Dinosaur Train! And I rode home with a pocketful of excavated little dinosaurs. This was the better picture until the invasion of the elbow.
This one was very off-kilter because the glare off the water behind them made it impossible to see where they were in the frame of the shot.
The Virginia Symphony Orchestra played, but not until after we left. We were so overheated, the crowd was unbearable for Captain Comic and me, some people have no concept of personal space or basic common courtesy aand I was hurting, and tired of trying to keep tabs on two of my kids running in opposite directions while the eldest kept whining about when we would leave.
As much as he can be extremely trying at times ( a large portion of this weekend he was non-stop and confrontational noise), how can anyone, let alone me, not love this boy? Here he is watching the Youtube video Kitten vs Scary Thing for the about the 412th time in about 2 days. I caught him giggling away during a little downtime on Monday morning.
I wish I could tap into joy so easily, so unreservedly, so utterly and so often. With Captain Comic’s help, I will learn one day to just completely let go in laughter over something as simple as a kitten encountering a tennis ball. (Yes that is my messy desk and crammed bookshelves.)
So my weekend was crammed with mayhem, once again, and with an extra day of it added. How was yours?
So while all three adults of the house were in Williamsburg, Mr. Cynic babysat. Babysitting largely comprised of viewings of Kung Fu Panda, expected, and apparently Captain Comic added Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.
This morning, after our late night arrival home, Toots wanted to wake us – twice. The second time, she climbed into our bed with the Jimmy Neutron DVD case in hand.
Toots (points to the picture on the cover): Das Jimmy Neutron.
Toots: And das Carl.
Toots: And das Jimmy Neutron’s dog, Tonnor.
Mom: I don’t think Jimmy Neutron’s dog’s name is Connor. Daddy, isn’t it something like Einstein?
Honey (slowly rouses from sleep): …………………………………………Goddard.
Mom: Oh yea, the dog is named after a famous scientist, Goddard.
Toots: We sing dat in pweschool.
Toots: We sing Goddard in pweschool, before we eat.
Mom (light slowly dawns): OH!
Toots (sings): Goddard fadder, Goddard fadder, we thank you, we thank you…..
Mom (chuckles): That’s God our Father, not Goddard, silly!