Brian's family has a reunion each year on the 4th of July, so we packed up the girls and headed for the farm. We grew the reunion this year with the addition of Jane, who amazed me with her good-natured attitude toward an outdoor event with bugs and humidity. She smiled at all the new faces and loved being held by new people. Three and a half months old is still an age that can be difficult to handle away from home. She was a real trooper.
Meanwhile, Helen and Alice ran themselves into the ground for 2 straight days. They play outside regularly at home, but they don't have access to dozens of acres or half a dozen cousins. I've got to remember to build up their stamina for next year.
Here's one picture of Helen I managed to get as she flew past with a very popular toy, a water pistol:
The first day, around 3:30 in the afternoon (4 hours past normal nap start time), Alice was walking around the tables while the family played Bingo, and she had a little bottle with a rock inside it that she was using as a homemade rattle. She was shaking it to her heart's content as she walked around and grinned at everyone. Eventually, she went to her Nana and asked to be held. And that is where, approximately 13 seconds later, she passed out cold.
Helen and Alice both slept like rocks that night. Neither of them made a peep about sleeping in a new spot - it just needed to be a horizontal spot, and they were soon snoring away. They also slept super late the next day.
The girls ran nonstop the entire second day. There wasn't even an accidental nap when either one of them sat down too long. Do the math on the tipping point, and you have kids who probably won't be in the best mood by the time the fireworks are ready to launch.
What I hadn't counted on was Jane's reaction to the fireworks. I should have remembered that Brian & his brother would make the fireworks show pretty loud. She had dozed off, and awoke with a start at the first mortar shell. From that point on, each firework that exploded made her squirm and cry. So I took her inside the house during all of the oohs and ahhs.
Once the girls hit the house for bedtime, they wanted to stay up. Heck no, says I. It's bedtime. Less than a minute later, there wasn't any protesting. And they slept even later the next morning.
I'm guessing when they're older and not needing naps, this reunion may be less exhausting for them. When we got home from the farm, they both took 4 hour naps. Mine was only 3 hours.
Two videos from the farm to share with you all!
1. Helen shows off a new skill while the family plays croquet. Be sure to listen for her to give her pre-judged and completely unsolicited opinion on the video at the end.
2. Alice says hello to all the cows. I'll go ahead and translate: "Hay-yo, Neigh!" Like Helen, she calls all animals by the sound they make, rather than their names. Unlike Helen, that's what she thinks a cow says, instead of "Moo" - they're all "Neighs." Yes, like a horse. Go ahead, mock away. I'm sure all of your parents suspected you were a little confused at some point during your childhood, too.
I got a new cellphone for my birthday that will take minute-long videos. Turns out to be the perfect opportunity to brag about my newest child, Jane, right? Because she talks. No, really. She just chatters. Seriously.
A month later, she was two months old, babbling like mad at her first doctor appointment, and the doctor walked in and said, "Huh. Normally that's a 4-month old skill." And I said, "(something unprintable in a blog read by Brian's grandmother)."
If this was my first kid, I'd actually *be* bragging. But folks, this is not my first rodeo. I've already got one child who never shuts up. And when I say never, I mean, I put her to bed and I'm walking to the bedroom door and I'm literally shutting the door on a stream of gibberish. "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy! I love you! Um, what are we having for breakfast in the morning?"
Jennie: "Good night, Helen."
Helen: "Mommy, is tomorrow a stay-home day?"
Jennie: "Good night, Helen." (shutting door)
Helen: (through the door) "Mommy! How many days until it's a stay-home day?"
Jennie: (walking down the stairs) "Good NIGHT!"
Anyway, this video demonstrates Jane's talking skills. You may think it's cute or adorable or precious. And it is. But I also see it for what it really is, and it strikes fear into my very soul.
It's Helen, The Sequel.