We won’t be summer shut-ins

One year olds can be a tough crowd. They’re discovering independence and yet don’t have the words to express what they want and when they want it. On top of that, they have small attention spans.

So with that in mind, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to spend my downtime with the little guys this summer. We HAVE to get out of the house more than last summer. I swear our neighbors probably though we were animal-hoarding shut-ins or with the Witness Protection Program or something. I was just too terrified to leave the house with newborns.

This summer, I’m still terrified but for different reason. They’re just a whole lot more difficult to manage now and a whole lot more likely to have a tantrum – or two – in public. (I thought they had to be at least 18 months before toddler behavior kicked in. Not so. Their favorite thing right now is to scream and launch their bodies backwards, often slamming their heads against the floor. Yep. Happens daily.) And yet, they’re also at the age where they are starting to find wonderment in the outside world. And as a parent, that’s what makes it all worthwhile, right?

A trip to the Red River Zoo this past weekend gave us a glimpse of that. The boys were smiling, pointing at everything, and babbling the whole way. I have no clue what they were saying, but I imagine it was something along these lines:

Graham: “Hey, Gray, did you see that llama? Remember when mommy read us that book about llamas and red pajamas? ”

Grayson: “Cool, bro. I wonder what his fur tastes like?”

At any rate, they seemed to be enjoying their time.

We also bought some baby/ toddler swings this past weekend for our backyard play set. This, too, was a big hit with the boys and a good way for mom and dad to have an excuse to be outside on Sunday.

But that’s where I run out of ideas.

This was on my mind again today after reading a blog post from my co-worker, Sherri Richards. She was relating how when her daughter was 14 months – the age of my boys now – she feared she and her husband would never be able to enjoy the ballpark again. Turns out that wasn’t the case. Now they’re enjoying baseball games in a whole new way – through the eyes of a 3 year-old girl. I couldn’t help but think … I can’t wait until my boys are three!

I know I shouldn’t say that and don’t really even mean it. I never want to wish time away. But I am eager to be able to experience more things with them and to be able to take real family outings again to places other than to the store to get diapers. The day will come, and it will be wonderful.

In the meantime, I’m curious what other local activities and events are suitable – and manageable … if it’s too stressful, it’s not fun – for a 14 month old. Make that two 14-month olds. I’m determined to make the most of the next three months.

8 thoughts on “We won’t be summer shut-ins

  1. Picnics, going to the park, burley (sp?) bike rides (as long as you keep blankets in there to keep them safe). My favorite part of that age for my twins was putting them in the grass and seeing their expression when you make them lay down on the grass. Restaurants – hard one because our kids are loud but to get all the priceless comments from others makes you proud as a parent.

  2. Minivan Mom,
    I feel your dilemma. I have a 9-month old and am about to begin my summer vacation with her in a couple of days (I teach). While I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to stay home with her (I did not get to do this with my older kids), I foresee many exhausting hours of attempting to entertain her followed by the endless hours of picking up toys and cleaning up the dirt we will drag in from the backyard. The daily walks and bike rides will happen, but I can only make that last so long. And what do we do on the rainy days? We’ll put up the pool and hopefully have some sort of backyard play-thingy to keep her occupied, but seriously…is that enough? I guess we will play it by ear and keep in touch with your blog to see if you have found any new adventures to share! Good luck to you!

  3. I have 3 boys ages 4 years, 21 months, and 7 months, we go to the park every day that its above 60 in the afternoon. We go to parks that are less busy then the bigger parks and we have a bag of goodies we bring with us. We bring soccer balls and baseballs and bats and all sorts of stuff to keep them entertained. I bring the 7 month old in a stroller and park him right next to the play equipment and chase the other 2 around the play equipment…its great for them and just as good for me. Once they start getting bored with the slides and climbers we move on to playing soccer or whatever they feel like doing from our bag. When the 7 month old gets a lil fussy or needs to eat, we have a big blanket we sit on and have our snacks or whatever we have packed for the day. We could easily be outside all day if possible. The best part..by 8:30 they are sooooo tired I dont even have to tell them to go to bed…they are usually sound asleep!

  4. i have a blast letting my 1.5 year old stumble around in the grass and explore everything. I love being outside and so does he. there’s nothing like exploring for a little boy, and lucky me, I get to too! :) They help us old big people to enjoy the very small things that we no take for granted! Thanks for your story minivanmom!! Made me smile :D

  5. My twin boys will be 2 in June and they have a 5 year old brother which prompted me to really wanna get out of the house last summer (and this coming summer, too!). Our favorites have been the zoo, beaches, hikes, picnics, the I94 walkover bridge… activities that didn’t have a lot of structure. With my 2 little ones any park with a play structure is a nightmare without two adults supervising… one of them is a much better climber than the other and it is so hard to contain them!

    Bubbles, sidewalk chalk, puddle jumping, wagon rides… all of these are great for the yard or at any park. I made a “Summer Adventure List” that would give me reminders of stuff to do because I have a tendency to just wanna stay home and not bother getting them ready to go out and that helped A LOT. It included things like the zoo… and also things like running through the sprinkler.

    Hope this helps… and I’m anxious to see what other ideas are posted!!

  6. I’m with Chris. Get a trailer for your bike and take them about town. They should both fit into one trailer and most of them roll pretty easily. Also, try taking them to like a Babe Ruth baseball game if you want to see how they’ll react but don’t want to spend a bunch of money and only watch part of the game. Their are little league games going on every day!
    What about swimming at Buffalo River state park by Glyndon? They have a nice beach!
    The opportunities are endless!

  7. Take them to storytime at the Library. Every child’s having a tantrum there at some point, so it doesn’t matter when yours does!! I used to take my kids to various school playgrounds; they loved the variety. Pack a lunch. Invite a friend and her kids.

  8. It is such a fun age of awe! They love everything – try bubbles, a baby pool and riding toys (little scoots). We also have a whole set of “outside” toys like a plastic train set that we only play with outside. Have fun with them! The hard part is if they run different directions when you are in a public place.

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