I think back to some of the best times of my childhood and interestingly, they were with one of my parents, respectively. My Mom, my sister and I would take our Nannie (my great-grandmother) grocery shopping every week and then we'd all go to lunch. My Dad and I would spend hours throwing a ball back and forth to each other in the yard. The time that they took with us made us feel valued and important. It made us feel like they wanted us around. Since, both of my parents worked, they tried hard to instill quality into the short time they had with us. Obviously, if I’m remembering this 100 years later, they did a good job. And now as a parent, I can see what it gave them. It gave them the opportunity to impart their own little wisdoms onto us. To observe us as children with their eyes only. And to take those experiences back to each other, after we were all tucked in for the night, and share what the other had missed; what we had said or did, how we had behaved, their thoughts and concerns about us, their secret wishes for our futures.
The above, all came together in my mind after this past weekend as Mark and I, both, got to spend some one-on-one time with Mercer.
Mark took Mercer to the zoo for the first time. Mercer has been learning animals and animals noises at daycare, so we thought it was high time he saw these things in person. I was excited for him…but I maintained low expectations, because I didn’t know if and how a 15-month old would grasp the zoo concept. So, when I picked up my two warm, sweaty men after a morning at the zoo, I was estatic to hear Mark’s full detailed report of all the things that he and Mercer had seen together…as father and son. They had seen the gorillas, bears, hippos, elephants, tigers, zebras, giraffes, wild asses (where I’m sure Mark pointed out, “There’s your mother, son”), penguins, catfish, turtles, flamingos, ostriches and more. Mark made sure that Mercer saw each animal and Mercer made sure that he pointed, acted completely interested and made the appropriate animal noises when he saw an animal that he recognized. When they got to the African Cattle, Mark held Mercer up to the railing and said, “Mercer…these are like cows”. And Mercer said, “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. Mark was beaming as he shared the story of their morning together and ended it with, “Mermie had a great time, and you know, I did, too”.
(It is here that I would inset pictures of their experience together – but Mark hates taking pictures and being photographed, so the sketch below if my rendition of their experience together in stick figure form).
|Mercer, what does a bear say? "ROAAAAAAAAAAAAr"|
1. After Mark left, I was putting the dogs out and Mercer said, “Lula”…which is how Mark and I refer to our dog Lu. Mark was almost teary when he heard this.
2. Mercer and I packed up and went to the park. We took a long walk and ended up at the baby swings. Mercer just loved swinging back and forth. He was laughing and babbling the whole time. I was quizzing him on his colors, body parts and animal sounds and he was firing off answers like a Jeopardy contestant in training.
a. Also to Note:
i. Mercer is also a total “man” as he stared at the 20-year old girls next to us working out. He was smiling so big at them that they stopped exercising to comment on how absolutely “Cute and Smiley” he is. So, he continued to stare (and drool).
ii. I didn’t bring bottled water for myself…just Mercer’s sippy cup full of ice water. So, I’m sure people were staring at me as I was openly drank from his sippy cup while pushing him in the swings. They probably thought the cup was full of MommyJuice (Vodka).
iii. He actually kept his hat on for an extended period of time. THIS IS HUGE. Since he's super fair (and a borderline Ginger) we had three choices: hat, dunk him in sunscreen head-first or coercing him into become an agoraphobic. Let's just say that the hat was the best overall solution.
Scenes from the Swings, taken by me:
3. I took Mercer to McDonalds for his first Happy Meal. I was a little unsure as to how to manage a toddler in a place where you have to carry your own tray to the table. So, as soon as I got there, I plopped him in a high chair and wheeled him up to the counter to order with me. I think he enjoyed the attention. He had a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal with Apples and Milk. A far more healthy choice of lunches than what his Mother used to eat there when she was a child…”Chicken McNuggets, BBQ Sauce, French Fries and a Coke”. I will report that Mercer loved his meal and especially enjoyed trying BBQ sauce and ketchup for the first time. He was more interested in the condiments than in the actual food.
a. Note: McDonalds doesn’t put out plastic ware, so I had to use my teeth to cut Mercer’s food. Classy.
|He's thinking, "Where's that toy that everyone's talking about?|
Love - Me