I learned a lot about my family. Most of which I already knew but I saw it with clearer eyes. Spending a week wrapped up in each other will do that to you. I thought a lot about my hopes and dreams for my kids. I thought a lot about all of the recent evaluations and therapists that have been figuring out Mr. Pants. I also learned a lot about myself and how I need to slow down and chill. Yeah, my kid has sensory input difficulties and yeah, he doesn't talk like other kids his age (read: in English) and yeah, I think he has OCD. But so what? We'll figure it out. He had the time of his life running amok on that campus. Just ask the squirrels. Poor little squirrels. They never saw Mr. Pants coming. I'm positive that by day 3 they had all networked to avoid the crazed tiny human who had terrorized them so. His eyes like saucers as he sprinted after them, "dog? dog? dog?". But I digress. I learned some things and decided to share them here.
1. Daddy Pants gets Mr. Pants on a level that mystifies me. He understands his needs for input. He plays with him in a way I have never seen anyone play with a 2 year old. And Mr. Pants eats it up. Loves it. Needs it. It occured to me that 2 yr old Daddy = present day Mr. Pants. They are cut from the same cloth. And as I watched my boys play, I fell in love all over again with both of them.
2. When babies poop loudly during a church service it is super funny.
3. Family naptime is essential and delicious. It feels amazing to fall into a deep sleep holding your babies in front of a wind tunnel fan. Even when they and you smell like an armpit.
4. Taking a toddler and an infant to a week long summer camp is a little bit crazy, a lot a bit exhausting and worth every meltdown.
5. Speaking of meltdowns, It is absolutely possible to over stimulate a stimulis seeking toddler. Who knew? I certainly didn't until last week. Note: the empty basement of a recital hall makes for a nice hideaway to regain one's composure. Add goldfish crackers and a rousing chorus of "I'm Bringing Home a Baby Bumble Bee" to be sure the worst is over. Repeat as needed.
6. When your kid doesn't eat in public, cafeteria dining can be rough. I was so proud that he did better than I expected and ate several of his meals right there in the dining hall. But most of the time he couldn't and that's ok too. Ziplocks and to go cups come in handy. And there is no shame in shoveling food into a ziplock and leaving.
7. Oh man. I am a hippie. I have long held the belief that I could not possibly be a hippie but it turns out I am. It seems I've been a hippie all along.
8.Drum circles are pretty sweet. Especially when your little boy is embraced and welcomed into them by people eager to share their drums and love of music with him.
9. Guess what? Infants don't give a crap if your volunteer workshift is mandatory. They especially could care less if that shift happens to fall over naptime. They could care still even less if they are also hungry. And for good measure, God bless America if they also need a diaper change.
10. True comedy lies in showering your toddler, infant and yourself in a one stall college dorm shower. Bits flying everywhere. Soap in the eyes. Screaming and yelling and laughing and slipping and butt sliding. Total and utter insanity.
And finally, I believe in magic. I even believed in it before hippie summer camp. But now I really believe. There are stories told that this summer camp is filled with it. Kids are learning to ride their bikes, people are falling in love, babies are standing up to walk for the first time, long lost friends are finding each other and this year we even got a private screening of the new Harry Potter movie. Well, on the last day while sitting with Grandma Pants on a bench under a beautiful oak tree, some magic dust fell. Grandma said, "I love you Mr. Pants". He looked at her for a moment. "Huh?", he said. "I love you Mr. Pants", she repeated. "uff ooo too", he told his grandma. And his mama's mama looked at her daughter and cried. "Did you hear that?". I nodded and tried to swallow the lump rising in my throat. Oh yeah, I heard it. I just needed a minute for my heart to allow me to speak and the tears that filled my eyes to quell. My lil dude is a boy of very few words. But on that day, at that time, he told his grandma he loved her. And it was magic.