One of the interesting things about being away from home for a month is that the weather can change quite a lot while you're gone. When we left Austin, we still had pleasant springlike weather, but now it's full-on summer: hot, humid, and it's only going to get worse.
Of course, in the mornings it's still reasonable enough to play outside. During our trip, Carter got used to being able to go inside and outside whenever he wanted, and so we decided to go ahead and let him go out the back door by himself at certain times of day. He has the whole yard to play in, but mostly wants to hang out on the deck and ride around on his various vehicles, or roll cars around.
It's so interesting to see him becoming more and more independent. I love to give him space to explore on his own, and so it's great to have this fenced-in back yard that he can safely roam around in.
He's right around 3 feet tall now, much to my amazement. He must have had a growth spurt during our trip, because toward the end, he'd outgrown all of his shoes! I had to go buy all new ones. He's now in a size 8!
I don't mind having a reason to shop for him though!
On Friday morning we went to one of our favorite parks, Brushy Creek Lake Park. It has a great splash zone in it that Carter's never been in before, and that was our purpose in going there. But of course, he wanted to do lots of other things first, like run around by the lake:
Climb on rocks:
Play in the ashes left in a grill:
And pick flowers. All of this in his swimsuit, of course.
After yet another stop at the playground, we finally headed over to the splash zone, where he had a lot of fun playing.
It was interesting that it wasn't the first thing he wanted to do, though. It's a good reminder that I need to step back and let him do his thing. Just because it's what *I* want him to play at doesn't mean it's what he needs to play at that moment. Play is about children learning to make their own choices in exploring their world, and we adults get in their way far too much as it is, IMO.
We bought a sandbox last May and it finally arrived this week. I put it together and Doug and I got it set up in the yard on Saturday. Carter really seems to like it!
It's nice and shady there, though the mosquitoes are pretty ferocious in the evenings. I prefer being in the pool that time of day, heh.
Doug had to travel to New York today, so we celebrated Father's Day yesterday. Carter drew all over a card and said, "Happy Father's Day!" when he gave it to Doug, which was really sweet. This morning Carter and I slept in and then hung around the house for a while. In the afternoon, we went to Lakeline Mall, which is absolutely the best mall in town to take children to.
After having Chinese food in the food court, we played for a while on the coin-operated rides.
Carter doesn't really like it when they move, which makes the whole experience a bit cheaper.
There's an inflatable playplace in the mall, and Carter really wanted to go in. But of course, once I paid and got us in there, all he wanted to do was run laps around the place while pushing the stroller.
He didn't go on any of the jumps, and protested when I tried to get him to go down a slide. Yet another example of how what I see as the play potential of a place is not what he sees at all!
This small carousel is new since we were here last, and Carter was very excited to ride it.
We watched it while we waited for our turn and talked about all the different animals that were on it. I asked him which one he wanted to ride, but he didn't answer. As soon as we got on the ride, he made a beeline for the only vehicle on the ride -- a covered wagon you sit in. He grinned and sang "John Deere" days the entire time. I then realized that he'd seen a covered wagon before on his John Deere video, where it's part of a parade to celebrate "John Deere Days". Again, not what I would have expected at all!
We spent a little time playing on a nearby playground.
He wanted to ride the covered wagon again, and so we did. Zero interest in the horses! We finished off our lovely mall visit by getting a smoothie in one of the yogurt shops. I noticed on the way out that the movie theater there is showing free family movies this summer at 10 am Tuesday-Thursday. We'll have to come back and try that. I've been wondering if Carter is ready to go to the movies, and that might be a good place to first try it out.
He's changing so much and so quickly that it's hard to keep track of it all. He speaks in complete sentences most of the time, though some of the words are semi-mumbled -- you still understand what he's trying to say. He sings ALL the time, too! He makes up songs sometimes (and will change known lyrics in humorous ways), but often he's singing something either I or Mimi have sung to him, or something from a TV show. Still not much of a tune going on, but it's better than it used to be. He doesn't care, though -- he'll sing off-key at the top of his lungs when someone else is singing on TV. It's really funny!
He's starting to show a little interest in the potty again, but still has yet to actually go in the potty. This morning he went naked around the house for more than an hour, and despite sitting on the potty every ten minutes or so, still managed to pee on the floor twice. He'll do it when he's ready, and honestly, I'm not in a hurry. ;-)
I start teaching a summer school class at the end of this week, but I'll still have mornings with Carter. It's only 2.5 weeks, so it'll go by fast. I'll try to post more regularly so I don't get behind again!