Well folks, the rest of our Camp Mom week was lovely. Parker and I had so much fun planning each day’s adventure and he was soaking up each and every moment of uninterrupted togetherness. What’s amazing is that it feels like he grew up right before my eyes. Within the solitude of our time together and with some gentle encouragement, he mastered a couple of skills that he’d been struggling with.
First and foremost, he finally went more than 1/4 mile on his bike without stopping. He can ride without training wheels, but he has a very cautious personality so he’s easily spooked if his balance wavers or if he comes across other people at the park. The good news is that he’s motivated by competition so I challenged him to complete 10 laps around the park without stopping (combined with the 2 he had already done, that totaled 5 miles).
He nailed it! Not only did he complete it, he did it fast, too. I have a bike computer that tracks my speed and once Parker saw that I could tell how fast he was going, he kept asking me for updates. My big boy averaged 10 mph on his little bike. I couldn’t help but think that in about 5 years or so, he’d be able to hang in there with me on some big road rides. Let’s just hope that he still wants to hang out with me when he’s capable of it…and that he doesn’t drop me in his wake when he gets bigger and faster than me!
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. For now, I’m happy to ride along behind him being his cheerleader. Oh and on a related note, I probably need to get my hands on a mountain bike or a hybrid bike. As you can probably tell from the above picture, I have a road bike. A very serious road bike with very small road tires. I mentioned to Parker that I can’t ride on gravel, but I don’t think he realized that I meant it in a very technical way. I’m capable – my bike is not. He veered off of the pavement when he was a bit ahead of me and my yell of, “Parker, don’t go that way!” was lost on the wind. He was still on a safe path, but I didn’t want him to pull away from me entirely because the path intersected with a road to a school. I tried to hurry up to get him to stop, but literally the second that my front tire hit the wet gravel, my entire bike slid out from under me and I slammed into the ground on my right hip.
Thankfully, Parker heard my bike hit the ground followed by a very loud, “Oooof” as I connected with the gravel. As I stood up, he said three things. (1) Are you okay mom? (2) Are you mad at me? I’m sorry. (3) I didn’t think it was possible for you to get hurt.
All in all, it was a very minor crash (if you can even call it that) and trust me, I’ve been in much worse. But the good news is that Parker got a very literal lesson for making sure that he listens AND understands when I tell him not to do something. The fist size bruise on my hip and shin are worth that life lesson for him. I hid my pain, though I probably shouldn’t have, because I like the idea of him thinking that I’m invincible. I’m allowed to have super hero status for at least a few more years, right? He’s learn that I’m fallible and human soon enough.
A second major skill that he got better at was swimming. You all know my love/hate relationship with half a lifetime spent in the water, so I’m careful not to push Parker in the pool with regard to getting better at technical swimming. I am, however, adamant that he become a strong and competent swimmer for safety reasons. Both sets of grandparents have pools, we live in a town filled with lakes and streams and we vacation at the beach every summer. Being a strong swimmer is a life saving skill. I don’t want Parker to fear the water, but I do want him to master it.
For the longest time, he hated going completely under the water. This past week (and with the help of an underwater camera) he finally got the hang of playing beneath the water’s surface. I’m going to try to get him to the pool during all four seasons this upcoming year because I don’t want him to have to relearn this confidence every year.
The one outing that I had high hopes for that didn’t exactly pan out was our paddle boarding adventure. The lake is a 30 minute drive and Lexi was only in school for 3 hours that day, so we were short on time at the lake. What that meant was that we spent all of the time paddling (we were trying to reach a waterfall that was a 4.4 mile round trip paddle) and didn’t have time to splash and goof around.
It was a beautiful day on the lake – clear and flat – but Parker got bored. I underestimated the time it would take to find the waterfall (and we didn’t end up making it all the way there, but we did see a different one on the way back) and that meant that we didn’t have time to stop alone the shoreline so that Parker could go swimming. A chorus of “Mom, can I swim?” “My legs hurt.” “How much farther?” punctuated the calm morning. Combine that with Parker sticking his hands and feet in the water, which effectively stopped the board and made me have to paddle harder, and I realized that this was not the energy-burning outing – well, not for Parker – that biking and swimming were. Usually when we go to the lake, the Irishman and Lexi are there in the kayak so there is a lot more activity going on than just Parker having to sit still and me paddling my tail off.
It wasn’t a complete failure, but his complaints made me irritable and it affected the rest of our day – especially since I was tired after a 90 minute, 4 mile paddle. Lesson learned. The good news is that now I know where all of the waterfalls are so paddle boarding will be a great solitary activity for me in the fall when the kids are in school. By next summer, I’m sure that Parker will be big enough for his own paddle board and then things will be far more interesting for him when it’s just the two of us.
This week, we only have 2 days of Camp Mom before I head out on my road trip. I’m curious to see what adventures Parker will come up with….stay tuned!