Wednesday, July 18, 2007


An ode to boys in the summer time

When I left the house at 6:30 this morning, the boys had already dressed themselves. This is memorable in itself; while Tristan is quite capable, I don't think Simon has ever fully dressed himself before, and certainly neither of them has done it without considerable prodding and harranguing on our part.

But the really cute part is what they dressed themselves in: their matching Superman pyjamas. You see, it's superhero day at their gymnastics day camp today, and they are supposed to dress as their favourite superhero. Conveniently, earlier in the summer I had picked up a couple of pairs of Superman shortie jammies, complete with velcro-attached cape, at WalMart. I have to tell you with a complete lack of bias that they are exquisitely adorable, running around in their identical Superman jammies with capes billowing out behind them.

I'm so pleased with the half-day gymnastics camp at Starr Gymnastics. I enrolled them back in the beginning of the summer, knowing Beloved would appreciate the break and that they were both old enough to start with this kind of thing. When I enrolled them, even though the session said it was for 3 to 5 year olds, I had the impression that they'd be in separate groups, and I thought it might be nice for them to get away from each other for a little while, too, but it turns out they're in the same group after all. Tristan confirmed Monday afternoon that he was very happy to have Simon on his "team" so maybe they're not so sick of each other after all. They spend the morning tumbling, bouncing on the trampoline, swinging from ropes and climbing on stuff.

Don't you wish they had fun stuff like day camp when you were a kid? I never even went to sleep-away camp when I was a kid; we spent our summers watching the Price is Right and Match Game in the mornings and then roaming the neighbourhood in the afternoon. Or curled up with a good book - some things never change!

The other thing that I'm doing to live vicariously through the boys is swimming lessons. I've got them both enrolled in the same time slot, Tristan with his preschool level C and Simon in a preschool level A class. Last night was the third week of lessons and I still can't help myself - I sit on the deck and positively beam at them as I watch them in the water. They're both fearless, Simon moreso than even Tristan was at the same age, and both obviously doing well in their groups. Tristan can swim across the pool with a noodle under him, or for at least a couple of feet without one. Where the other kids in Simon's class cling to the instructor or to the side, Simon bounces merrily on his own in the water, blowing bubbles or kicking vigourously at the teacher's suggestion.

They've grown up so much this summer. I remember when they were babies (you know, way back in the old days) and how intensely and fiercely I loved them. I would look at older boys with skeptical curiousity, and I couldn't imagine loving them any more than I did when they were taking their first toddling steps, wearing onsies and smiling toothless, drooly grins. And yet I look at these boys - no doubt, they are boys through and through, no trace of the baby remains - and see them thinking and absorbing and synthesizing, and it's breathtaking.

Over the course of the summer, Tristan's mission has been to conquer the monkey bars. Each time we stopped at a park, he would try to traverse the span of the monkey bars, and in a few months he's gone from being barely able to dangle himself to being able to cross even the ones for the big kids, the ones that arc up and down instead of simply going straight across. After watching the ease with which Tristan could do it, I tried it one day myself and nearly pulled my arms out of my sockets. I couldn't make it half way across and my armpits hurt for days. Those monkey bars aren't for wimps.

The best part of three hours of gymnastics camp in the morning, fresh air in the afternoon and swimming lessons in the evening? We finally found out that it is actually possible to wear them out. My perpetual motion machines, the ones that make me dizzy with their boundless energy, actually do have a finite energy reserve. For the first time in I don't know how long last night, they could barely stay awake long enough for a story, and there were no calls for an extra snuggle, a glass of water or an explanation as to why dogs have fur.

Ah, summertime...