Today was the day I think of as the first day of summer---the first day of the first full week without school. I will be totally honest and say it's a day I dread. I've never, ever liked summer much. I don't like the heat or the lack of routine. With Janey, a summer day can feel endless. I am very grateful for summer school, which starts in two weeks. But today---it was a long day. Janey screamed a lot, cried a lot, just was very out of sorts. I felt out of ideas for the whole summer by nine in the morning.
Tonight, looking back on today, I realized something interesting. Janey knew what the day was. She knew it was the start of summer. I realized that because of what she asked for. First thing in the morning, she wanted to walk to the "ice cream store". That was our routine last summer, almost every day, to walk to the convenience store about 5 houses down and get something to eat. We did that. A bit later, she went into her bathing suit drawer and pulled out her suit, and said "want to go swimming?" She didn't really want to go, and resisted once I tried to put the suit on (I was going to do the backyard wading pool), but that's another summer routine. Later, near time for Tony to come home, she put on her shoes and said "Go see Daddy?" Again, something we did very often last summer---walked to the train station to meet Tony as he came home. We haven't done it since last summer. Lastly, she then asked "Get Chinese rice?' Yet another thing from last summer---having Tony bring home Chinese food often.
I don't know how it made me feel that Janey remembered all that. It made me feel sort of guilty, that her summer memories are of such mundane things. It made me realize how much she gets routines, and how often when she's upset, it might be that a routine that I didn't even know was in place was broken. It made me think about how much goes on in her head that I have no way to access, and how boring life might often seem for her.
I wish I could do more with Janey in the summer. But there are so few things she can actually tolerate and enjoy, more so now that she is older and bigger. There are splash parks around, but they are filled with toddlers and preschoolers. Janey is the size of an adult, and unpredictable around younger kids. There's all kinds of camps and programs---none of which are able or willing to take Janey, except for the ESY summer program at her school. Any store or museum or library or pretty much any public venue, I can't do alone with Janey, even if she did enjoy them for more than a minute or so, which she usually doesn't. The Thomas Land park was great, but I would not even do that alone, even if it wasn't an hour away and very costly. So, much of the time, we stay home.
With that being said, I am hugely looking forward to later this week. We are taking a trip! Tony and Janey and I are going on a road trip to see a friend I met through this blog and her family! (the boys are staying home to care for the house and cats and so on) I've arranged it so we don't drive more than 4 hours in a day, and we are staying at hotels with pools. We are going to keep everything as low key as possible. I still am not sure how it will go with Janey, but I hope well. She does like the car, and hotels. If it goes well, it's the kind of trip Tony and I both want to do a lot more of. Maybe someday we will visit more of you that read this blog, if you want us to! (We'd stay at a hotel, of course!) So wish us luck in making some new summer memories for Janey. I plan to blog the road trip, or at least post on the Facebook group each day, hopefully with good news of good times!