For kids, summer is all about discovery. Every year there are lots of activities that they haven’t tried yet because they just weren’t ready. Or their parents weren’t ready… because they were completely exhausted and forgot what real life was like. My two boys are now 4 and a half and 2 and a half (yes, the half matters), and with Memorial Day behind us, I’m getting excited for all the things they’re going to be able to participate in this year. And all the places we can go without having to drag a stroller along with us. Here are just a few of the things I’m excited to do with my preschooler this summer.
Have a proper beach day
I’m so excited to head out for a beach day without having to worry about strollers, diapers, and nap time. Okay I’m still a little worried about nap time, especially for my youngest. But here’s the comparison between beach days 2 years ago and beach days this year:
2 years ago: Wake up, feed the kids, feed ourselves, dress the kids, take a shower, dress ourselves, change a kid, clean up toys, pack lunches (it’s already 11am), change a kid, pack the car, a kid fell asleep, put them both down for naps because you know they won’t sleep in the car and everyone will be miserable, wake them up 2 hours later, change a diaper, get in the car at 2:30, go to the beach anyway, watch the infant eat the sand, change the 3 year old after he pees his pants, spend 45 minutes cleaning the sand off of them, go home.
This year: Wake up, feed everyone (because we all eat the same meals now!), change clothes, pack food, pack the the car, hit the road.
I know it still won’t compare to pre-kids beach days, but it’s a vast improvement over the past 4 years.
Go for a “late night” bike ride
By late night, I mean after 7pm. Which is really late considering last year at that time he was closing his eyes to fall asleep. Now that my oldest son is 4, he has an 8pm bed time, which opens up his world to after dinner activities. Riding my bike after dinner is one of my fondest memories. Sometimes we’d go out in our pajamas after bath time because it was still so bright out. I’m excited to share these moments with my preschooler this summer.
Again, with the whole bedtime-before-the-sun-goes-down thing, fireworks were never an option before. We saw fireworks once on new year’s eve because the sun was down at 4pm, but I’m not sure they saw anything over their scarves, hats and the blankets lining their stroller. This year we have plans to head into Boston for the 4th of July. We’ll get a blanket and watch the Pops and if all goes well, stay for the fireworks.
Go to a theme park
A few years from now I’ll probably regret I said this. This year my oldest is at an age where he can go on kiddie rides and enjoy himself at our local theme park. Maybe we’ll even try a water park this year. I can see us all having a great time now that the days of diaper bags are behind us.
See a movie on a rainy day
After out oldest was born, my husband and I pretty much forgot movie theaters were a thing, and we went 5 years without going. Our whole family went to our first movie together a few months back and both kids did great. I’ve already put a list together in my head of a few movies that I’d like to take them to this summer. Now we can rediscover the fun of trips to the movies while our kids discover them. It’s going to be pretty special.
I remember last year we had a fire at a campground one night and I spent the entire time clutching my 18 month old, scared out of my mind. It was one of those, probably (definitely), irrational fears that moms get from time-to-time (daily) and they know their response is totally silly, but they can’t help it. This year I’m already feeling a lot different about how close and how often I’m hovering over my kids. I let them play in the yard while I’m unloading the groceries. I’m a lot more confident having them follow behind me in a store instead of holding their hands. This will be the year that I’m ok with my 4 year old roasting his own marshmallow, and the 2 year old watching him from not too far away (he’s got a few years before I let him hold a stick near fire).
I know that these days will go by fast because they already are. I want to make sure we squeeze every last ounce of fun out of this summer. It will be the only summer we have with them at these ages. And I’ll do my best not to cry about it daily (yeah, right).