As a parent, and by definition, someone who is chained to their kids, or at least must sleep in the same house (most nights), it can be difficult to see and appreciate the changes in your children. Sure, you’ll notice if they take the steak knife to their hair or lose a few finger nubs in the blender, but when people visit and exclaim, “Wow, she’s getting so big.” or “She looks just like her great-grandfather” we are mostly left in the position to just shrug and carry on. It’s like trying to see, really see, your own toenails grow. The changes are just too fine or too imperceptible to notice during daily tantrums over what flavor of bath bubbles to use or the exact geographical cheese region necessary to make the ‘good’ mac and cheese.
So, back in December when Michelle was home with Allison, it fell to me to take Cecilia to swim lessons. Now it’s been several months since summer beach days and longer than that since I was able to go to a swim lesson. My previous few visits to the tot swim lessons were living examples of what an ant colony must look like after being doused with a hose. A lot of screaming, a lot of kicking and flailing, a lot of big, terrified eyes.
This time was very similar in many ways, but very different in others. Cecilia and her buddy Jackson were wily veterans by now. They were the calm, majestic king and queen ants in this colony. The frantic worker ants didn’t bother them. Something had clicked. They had conquered their fear. They had discovered buoyancy and a whole new wet, slippery world was open to them (at least the shallow end).
It was startling to watch. This must be why so many people put up with raging hormones and the general unpleasantness of adolescents to become high school and middle school teachers. Witnessing someone finally put all those little fragile pieces together is quite a rush.
Or maybe this is just what it feels like to be a proud Dad. Either way, I’ll take it.
There are many litmus tests for discovering a native Southern New Englander, like a Masonic password, you just need to whisper the word and you have an instant connection with a stranger. Del’s, coffee milk, Rocky Point, the lingering memories of white knuckle crossings of the old Jamestown Bridge. Take your pick. I’m sure every part of the country has similar nooks and crannies of curious Americana that interstates mostly bypass these days.
Well, who are we to deny Cecilia a chance at experiencing a railroad themed amusement park carved out of a working cranberry bog located in the backwoods of suburban Carver, Massachusetts. We’re not! So, in late October, during the cranberry harvest we headed south for an afternoon of Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds and bumper cars at Edaville Railroad. Check it:
In all seriousness, this is a great little place to kill a Saturday afternoon. Small enough to tire them out, but not so big that you can’t cover it all in three hours. Reasonable prices with one of the (abundant) coupons, too. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a trip. I’d recommend packing your own food. They have ample food kiosks, but none that I’d like to risk my colon on again.
A few weeks ago, before Sandy, before the snow, back when we were only being assaulted by by Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren ads, we decided we needed to renew our New England membership card before winter hit. On a crisp Saturday, with carpet of yellow and red leaves waiting to be raked, we headed out to pick some apples.
We met some friends at Honey Pot Hill in Stow and had ourselves a nice, little Norman Rockwell day. We ate cider donuts, we picked way too many apples, we decided on a pumpkin and we successfully kept the kids from climbing into the pig pens. A successful day any way you look at it!
One time might be coincidence. Twice, puppy exuberance. Three times is a full blown love affair. It’s been a good month now and if he could, Dash would marry the playground (this is Massachusetts so maybe that’s legal). It’s quite possible he loves the playground even more than Cecilia does. His agility genetics come out in spades when we hit the park. Slides, tunnels, stairs, sandbox, all at 100 miles per hour on his springy puppy legs pausing only to lap up some puppy Gatorade (water) or consider how to break into the tennis courts and get his teeth on all those bouncing balls. I’m pretty sure he’s going to figure out the swings pretty soon. Take a look:
When the tide goes out in the tidal flats on the bay side of Cape Cod, it really goes out. Like Cecilia backpedaling from an afternoon nap, the water seemingly recedes backward over the horizon for miles (that’s only a small exaggeration). Walking out on the exposed sandbars early in the morning can often make you feel like an apocalypse survivor. Just you and the horseshoe crabs. All that empty space is heaven for a toddler with energy to burn.
There is a famous childhood story (it’s like catnip for my parents around this time of year) about me dying Easter eggs at my grandparents and ending up covered in purple dye. Cecilia is far too deliberate for that to happen, but she does like a good egg dying session. Look how far she’s come in two years, from Tupperware to glitter eggs.
If you’re feeling a little down, I dare you to watch the 0:50 second mark and not smile. Go ahead, try.
Happy Easter, everyone. If you see us on the turnpike feel free to wave!