Ahh, God Bless America. The aftermath of the 4th of July with children is perhaps even more exciting and unexpected than a large fireworks display. Our little people are probably scarred for life and cranky beyond all imagination!
We actually had a great 4th. Although last night as we tried to comfort the boys from the occasional booms of firecrackers and the general wickedness of over-fatigue, we asked ourselves if it was really all worth it. I’m sure we’ll be asking the same thing next year on July 5th, when we do it all again – get them sugared up, over-excited and keep them up late.
Yesterday started with an early morning wildlife sighting here at the Martin Natural Wildlife Preserve. I know, I know. You’ve not been all that impressed with our mating bunnies and the bizarre love-triangle of ducks that’s taken place in our yard, but hang in there; this was well worth the wait. I was getting ready for my 7 miler with Andrea, I took a break from Vaselining my toes (combating running blisters) when I saw something out the front, living room window. At first I thought it was a weird skinny dog, like maybe a Greyhound, but it only took me a moment to realize that there was a deer – yes, a real life DEER – crossing the street and walking up into our front yard. There were actually two! Now, I’m not much of an outdoorsy girl, nor do I know all the technical terms for wildlife, but I’m fairly certain that these were does and maybe one was youngish (therefore, most likely one was the mama deer). When I was telling my parents of the deer visitation in our yard, Mom suggested maybe one was a yearling since it didn’t look all that young but not old either. I think I’m going to start referring to Zach as a yearling. When people ask me at the grocery store how old he is (like when I’m pulling him off the top of the grocery cart that he’s been riding like a surfboard), I’ll smile sweetly and say, “He’s a yearling.” (For some reason, I feel that should be said with a soft Irish brogue).
Anyway, back to the actual yearling in our yard (hmm, so then would it be a yardling?! I don’t see why not). They munched my neighbor’s floral growies (again, I’m not one for technical terminology) long enough for me to sneak out the front door and get a picture. They had crossed the street into our neighbor’s yard by the time Andrea arrived for our run. We were quite concerned about them getting back to the woods on Cougar Mountain via the busy street – Coal Creek – without using the crosswalk. Our neighborhood is called “Newport Woods” – but there aren’t really any woods in our suburb that I’m aware of. I’d be fine with the deers making our yard their home but our resident wildlife – the bunnies and the threesome of ducks – might get a little upset.
So, we had a great run in the morning, a quiet-ish afternoon (only having to scrape Matthew off the ceiling once after a round of neighborhood firecrackers was set off and terrified him for life), and then we packed up and set out for Bellevue where we always spend the 4th. For the last several years, we’ve met up with friends in the downtown park for a picnic dinner, fun, festivities and fireworks display. Last year we, along with our childbirth class friends (Megan, husband Kelly and son Jack – who Matthew adores with every bit of his soul) stuck out the rain to watch the fireworks show, this year we survived the heat – it was 85, sunny, clear and beautiful. My parents – who just walk up from their place for the show at 10 – were willing to keep Zach with them. (So, we didn’t have to worry about chasing him around and he went to bed at a normal-ish time).
I took Matthew and Jack over to the fire truck where they got new firemen hats and stickers. They also got to see inside the back of an ambulance AND sit in the front seats. We only got in a little bit of a trouble. To Matthew it was, “Don’t close that door, son,” and to Jack it was, “Don’t climb over the seats, son.” Some good Kodak moments, I assure you. I’ll harass Mike to get our pictures up soon…we’re way overdue (no real shocker there).
Matthew was definitely nervous about the fireworks and has talked for days about how he’d get to hold Green Bear and that Green Bear would growl at the “thunderworks” and scare them away. He came up with a method of “self-talk” (that would be my therapy talking) that seemed to calm him down pre-show; he kept telling us that he was going to “poop out the fireworks.” We’re not sure where that came from, and I can’t imagine that that would be pleasant, but it did seem to help – for a while. Also, during the evening, he managed to bite into a glow stick. I won’t be surprised if he does have interesting, glowing post-4th-feces. I’ll keep you posted. (OK, no, I won’t).
In the end, the pooping out of fireworks technique didn’t work and he got pretty upset when the show started (despite Green Bear’s presence, Mike and I sandwiching him between us, Matthew’s hood up over his head AND his Matthew-Martin-ear-covering-technique – just fold ‘em over). Thankfully, sitting on Grandma’s lap eventually was the best idea, and we all got to listen to her running commentary, “Oooh, a John Deere green one! Those are my favorite. Ahhhh…Oh, that was a big boomer one, we don’t like those, huh? Wee! They look like rocket ships. Ooooh….Ahhhh…” Hey, whatever works.
Unfortunately, by the time we got the boys home at 11:30 there were still firecrackers going off in the neighborhood (thankfully, this is the last year they’re legal in Newcastle, WA !!!). Matthew was tired enough that they didn’t distress him too much. Zachary, however had a second wind, was wide awake and pretty freaked out. He came up with his own version of “soothing self-talk” – it involved the right combination and placement of comfort items: cuddling with mommy or daddy, holding blankie up to his nose, sucking his thumb, holding on to a bottle, and occasionally pointing at the picture of a dog in his favorite board book and growling. (All animals, according to Zachary growl. This includes: cats, dogs, ducks, rabbits, and deer in our front yard or that we’ve seen on runs. He seems to be taking after my knowledge of nature – which isn’t much). In the end, he gave up (OK, we gave up and just put him in his crib) and fell asleep.
It’s 10AM, July 5th – Matthew hasn’t even woken up yet, and Zach was up early and is already back in his crib asleep! We know how to wear these kids out!