We have been squeezing every last bit of daylight out of this summer, y'all.
The Summer of Three has been one for the books. We've gotten special treats almost every time we've left the house (Felicity has turned down ice cream-and-fudge-covered waffles from the fancy Belgian food cart in favor of fluorescent-hued "frozen confections" from the hot dog vendors every time; I guess since we try to keep mostly real food around the house, she has to binge on artificial colors and flavors whenever she has the chance), spent many hours roaming around every corner of the park (including a boat ride like we were a trio of tourists), ridden numerous carousels (Central Park, Bryant Park, Riverbank State Park) as many times as our inner ears could tolerate, swam in several pools, met up with various friends in multiple venues both with sprinklers and without, had family dinner in a restaurant almost every Sunday night, hit the amusement park more than once, and mooched off of friends with country homes (something we plan to continue well into the fall; we are shameless about stealing fresh air and silence).
We're going to squeeze in a final trip to the beach before Labor Day, and then we have an all-important buffer week before school starts. I am bereft at the thought of trading in our mellow mornings for a full-time school schedule (five half-days/week, oof) and all the bustle and rush that that entails. I'm not ready!
Felicity's been making an admirable effort to meet other kids lately; at playgrounds and the pool, she will start chatting up kids who are in her general airspace, making an opening salvo such as, "I love your sandals! I have white sandals. I have three ducks at home [I assume she means her bath toys]. I am three [fwee]! What's your name?" Sometimes the other child will engage with her ("I have a strawberry nightgown! My favorite color is red and all the colors.") but sometimes they are shy or uninterested, yet regardless of their receptivity, Felicity comes away thinking they are the best of friends. She struck up a one-sided conversation with a largely four-year old girl recently, and when the other girl noted that she was older so she was a bigger girl, Felicity climbed out of the pool, stood on the deck and exclaimed, "I'M a big girl, too! Look how tall I am!" The other girl mostly ignored her, but when it was time for her to go, Felicity called out, "I want to have a playdate with you! When I get home, I'm going to wrap up a present for you to show you how much I love you!" Then, as they walked away, she said under her breath, "I don't like it when they leave."
Another dad who had observed the sad scene came over to us and said, "Do you want to make another friend?" and Felicity said, "YES!" so she and his daughter, who was five-and-a-half and more than willing to show off her swimming skills to Felicity's delight, chattered away for a good while. When it was time for us to go, the other girl got out of the pool three times to hug Felicity good-bye. As Felicity is a HUGE hugger, this was so thrilling to me that I almost brought the child home with us. Finally, a hug-reciprocator! It was like winning the preschool social lottery.
Other recent bon mots from the lady F:
On our way back from dinner one Sunday evening, she swung between Joe and me and exclaimed, "We have the BEST family! I love this family!"
"Mama, I wish I could sleep with you. I miss you when I'm sleeping."
Making a card for a friend's new baby before we went to meet her, "I'm going to write 'Love, Felicity' on this card, because I'm going to love her." And after we met the little lady, "Baby G. is GREAT! I can't wait to see her again!"
Over breakfast, "I want to go pick out another cat and another dog. A she-dog that eats soup and a she-cat that has spots and stripes. I am also going to buy [our neighbor] a cat. Their dog is lonely." I asked her whether she thought we should move to a farm to accommodate all these pets and she looked at me like I had lost my mind. "No, Mom, I want to live in the city!"
On the way home from family dinner one Sunday, doing a tiptoe walk: "Look at the beautiful steps I'm doing, Mama!"
When I told her that a pigeon had, ahem, gone to the bathroom on my leg (true story! Oddly enough, that VERY DAY I was telling my friend about getting crapped on by a pigeon the first summer I was in NYC and how it hadn't happened to me since -- JINX MUCH?), I said, "Isn't that silly?" She responded (sagely), "It isn't silly; it's disgusting!"
On our way to a friend's country house for a pool party, "You're doing such a wonderful job driving, Mommy! I'm so proud of you!"
Playing I Spy on the way to said country house, I said, "I spy something up in the sky that's white and feathery and starts with /k/." She responded, "You forgot to say beautiful, Mama! Clouds are beautiful!"
She has also come out with some deep questions lately, such as "Was I far away before I was born? Could you see me?" and "What is God?" My response was about how God was everywhere, in everything, and I reminded her about how at church we talk about Jesus being God's son, and Christmas/Easter, etc. She listened and then summed it up thusly: "God wants us to be nice to each other and give lots of hugs."
Recently she found this spot in the park that she loves and calls "my spot" now. It's a couple of spindly trees on a scrubby patch of grass, by far not the prettiest place but shady and sweet in its own way. She played there for hours two days in a row, and each time when it was time to go, she spent at least five minutes "saying goodbye to my spot." She hugged the trees and spoke softly to them, promising that she would come back soon. "I don't want to leave my spot, Mom."
That's pretty much how I feel about the Summer of Three. Can't we make it last a little longer?