Family · Parenting · Twins

Next Summer is Now

I was feeling cocky last fall when I wrote my “Next Summer” post and gloated about our 70-degree weather in October signaling that summer in Texas was finally coming to an end.

There is a flip side of course to all that, and it looks like this:

image1

Alas, summer has fully descended on us and it’s once again time for my seasonal dilemma since having children: I pretty much hate everything about summer that kids love. The list includes but is not limited to: pools, splash parks, shorts and the outside. Add in my husband’s distaste for fireworks and we are a couple of pathetic summer party poopers. Our lucky boys!

So back in October when I wrote my “Next Summer” post, I made a deal with myself and, unknowingly to them, with my kids. There were three things we were going to do more of (or at all) when summer rolled around again: more swimming (or any kind of water “fun”), more zoo visits and more fireworks.

It appears that time is now.

I am proud to announce we have already visited our neighborhood splash park. It was not as dreadful as I thought it would be and we had a 50% approval rating from the boys. True to his personality, I held the other one the entire time, but we’ll go back.

Because that is what you do when you have children and it’s already almost 100 degrees in mid-June. And we will go to the zoo (which I have come to enjoy) and might even watch fireworks because that is also what you do — put aside your preferences so your children can experience as much as possible and form their own favorite (or despised) activities.

And to be fair, I do not hate everything about summer. I love ice cream. I love long hours of daylight. I love the Fourth of July. And I love less traffic during my work commute, meaning less time rushing out the door, meaning more time to get extra hugs before leaving. I hope these preferences are the ones my boys pick up on — not just the swearing under my breath as we lather on sunscreen. Again.

I’ve re-posted my original blog below, more as a reminder to myself that “next summer” is here and it’s time to make good on my deal.

Happy Splashing!

splash park


Next Summer

Yes, I know summer officially ended over a month ago, but here in Texas, this is the first full week it has actually felt like fall, at least temperature-wise. Of course we have had the same pumpkin patch photos, seasonal-flavored lattes and gourd-decorated front porches as everyone else. But until now, most summer activities were still a go.

{To be clear, temps are still in the mid-high 70s, but in Texas, that means it’s time to break out the boots.}

Despite the extra time, there are still 142 things I wish I could have done this summer, but didn’t. Luckily, summer rolls around once a year and in Texas, that means April. To make sure I’m ready, I’m starting a list.

Next summer, we will swim more. Like more than two times. I proclaimed that Summer 2015 would be the season of the swim. The twins were just a few months old and too young the summer before, I said. Summer 2015 will be different. And then we got ready to swim for the first time. We put on swim diapers (after several minutes of trying to figure out what was the front). We put on sunscreen. We put on the bathing suits and hats. And then we did the same for ourselves, sans swim diapers (though it’s not a bad idea). We loaded the floats, the towels, the extra everything, the dry clothes for later and the babies in the car. We arrived at my sister’s pool exhausted and overheated because it was probably 102 degrees. And we swam for 10 minutes.

The truth is I hate swimming. Always have. But I don’t want my boys to feel the same way. I want them to enjoy and feel safe in the water.

So yes, next summer, we will commit to lessons and swimming on our own more. I might even fill the inflatable pool we bought with water instead of balls (assuming it makes its way out of the dining room of course). Begrudgingly, this applies to splash parks too.

Next summer, we will go to the zoo. We made a lot of excuses about the heat and the distance. And it’s true that spending time outside in Dallas in the middle of the summer (outside of a pool) is not enjoyable and, at times, even unsafe. But there are always early mornings and considering the only sound that comes out of our boys are animal ones, we need to make this a priority.

Taking babies anywhere more than 20 minutes away, especially twins, when two naps are still happening, is overwhelming. By the time you get in the car, you have to head home (while screaming music class songs at the top of your lungs to keep them awake). Our boys are currently transitioning to one afternoon nap, and while I will miss that morning snooze where I could get ready for the day or clean up breakfast, I’m excited for the freedom we gain to get out and about.

In case you are catching on to a theme, I don’t possess a natural inclination for the outdoors. I don’t let JB sleep with the windows open because it “smells like outside.” I love a good walk, eating al fresco, and soaking in some Vitamin D at the Arboretum, but prolonged outdoor activity makes me fidgety.

So we bought a zoo membership to ensure, if nothing else, we would feel so guilty about wasting money that we would have to use it. To be fair, our kids aren’t complete victims of our laziness and we did go once toward the end of the summer. I promise that most of the time we had their stroller actually facing the animals.

zoo

Next summer, we will watch fireworks. Now this one is about my husband’s lack of interest. Similar to his disdain for watching movies in a theater (unless I can produce sound evidence the movie will be nominated for an Academy Award), JB is just not a fan of the Fourth of July and its accompanying bursts of lights and sound.

I haven’t pushed on this because I don’t think the boys would particularly care for the loud noises. Next summer will likely be a better time for Independence Day festivities anyway. But it’s still helpful to put it out in the universe as I could easily see us coming up with an excuse to wait another summer.

This post isn’t meant to, as they say in psychology, “should all over myself.” I have no doubt our boys had a fulfilling summer doing what they love best — playing with their family and friends and throwing books at my face while they giggle with delight. It’s more about not letting my own preferences and pet peeves (don’t even get me started on Halloween) get in the way of exposing my boys to the many joys — big and small — in life.

As parents we can come up with plenty of excuses to avoid something: crowds, weather, schedules, etc. And I know soon enough our kids will develop their own eye rolls and annoyances. In the meantime, while I am the biggest influence in their lives, I’m searching for the right balance between maximizing their learning opportunities and not being absolutely miserable.

Because we the parents still count a little bit, right? (right?)

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10 thoughts on “Next Summer is Now

  1. I have a new appreciation for your post. Here in San Diego, I always love and look forward to summer because I can do those activities and it’s not deathly hot outside. But I know once we move to Indiana and experience 90-degree humid summers, it’s going to be really different! So I’m sure my definition of summer fun is going to change dramatically over the years. Luckily I have one more summer in San Diego to soak up the fun! πŸ™‚

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Leah. Yes, San Diego probably sets a pretty high bar weather-wise! But every city has its own hidden gems to discover — indoor activities can be fun too! I know you and Sophie will be living it up this summer.

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  2. I will be driving through Texas last Summer (and New Mexico and Arizona) and I cannot believe the weather reports I am seeing. God bless you. I LOVE the heat, but even I cannot imagine enduring those temperature consistently.

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    1. Yes, you will get a chance to experience some of the heat. It can be pretty brutal, especially with little people who only want to be outside! But when I lived in Chicago, I couldn’t imagine living forever in a place where I had to endure winter consistently. It’s pretty much why I want to move to Napa where the weather is perfect all year (and the wine)! If you need any suggestions for your Texas roadtrip, let me know!

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      1. I’m heading to Sonoma in a few days for my husband’s birthday! And as for Texas, we’ve already “road tripped” there twice – Hit the sites in Dallas (the Kennedy sites, GWB Library), Austin (capitol, LBJ), College Station (TA&M, GW Library), and San Antonio (the Alamo, Riverwalk, Sea World) and Houston (NASA). I love Texas! Unfortunately this trip we’ll be Eastbound and down, heading home fast, after exploring CO, UT, Vegas, and Phoenix!

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      2. Oh well you have hit the Texas spots for sure! Have an amazing time in Sonoma, such a wonderful place. We are actually going for my husband’s birthday in Sept!

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    1. Thanks so much! I am trying to re-shape the way I look at things through two pairs of fresh eyes πŸ™‚ I hope you have a great summer as well — looks like it is off to a wonderful start in Quebec City. Oh, and also this summer we will be enjoying some wines from NakedWines.com thanks to your recommendation!

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