On our trip, I had the rather unusual opportunity to spend time one-on-one with each of the kids. Typically, if I am "paying more attention" to one, the other budges in for some love and attention, too. So, unfortunately, my one-on-one time with B was due to his misbehavior and being grounded to the room on Monday morning. So H and Dad went to the Aquarium and B and I stayed in the room with him sitting for 20 minutes. At first, he tested every limit possible - wheeling the chair around the room; keeping his feet on the chair but the rest of his body across the bed...not successful. By the end, he was sitting quietly, talking quietly and being very well mannered. And this good behavior actually lasted (most of) the rest of the day. Yay for Mom!
Anyway, as I was saying, I learned something about each of my kids over the weekend which makes me marvel at how children's personalities develop so early and solidly. Here is what I learned: my daughter, H, who is 6, is completely self-sustaining. She can create fun out of thin air and is perfectly content playing alone. On Monday night at the water park, when most other kids were gone and the place was pretty deserted, I watched her dance around in the sprinkles for about 30 minutes. She was all alone, jumping up and down, spinning around and either singing or talking to herself. It was so cute and endearing I just wanted to go over and give her a hug!
The other thing I learned (should say confirmed) about her is that she is one tough little chick! On Tuesday, before heading home, we tried to find the Julien Dubuque Monument. We ended up at the Mines of Spain and Haley saw a path, which she immediately took off down. She just kept going, so long as there was a trail to follow, she was going to follow it. We found some wild blackberry bushes on the path. Instead of letting me pick the berries for her so she wouldn't get pricked, she dove right in! I suppose they tasted sweeter that way. Sitting on the ground after the hike, watching her eat the berries she'd picked, I was overwhelmed with how much I love her - not just my daughter - but HER. She rocks.
What I learned about my son is that he and his sister are complete opposites. She is mild-mannered; he is always, ALWAYS testing the limits. In this, he is just like his Dad. When Steve and I were younger, he had a thing - if I asked him not to do something, he always had to do it "One More Time." That is my son, in Three Words. He is much more cerebral than his sister and will read voraciously if he is left alone to do it. He likes to run and play but he does not like any activity that requires more exertion than he is willing to give. On our hike, he was ready to turn back about 1/3 of the way in. He saw little purpose in it once we realized the trail was not going to take us where we wanted to go; had no interest in the berries, and just wanted to go back to the car. He was peevish and grumpy until he got to the Visitor's Center and had something to read and learn about. There, he was happy as a lark and would've stayed to read every single display if left to his own devices. I love his thirst for knowledge, which is something he and I share. In all other ways, he is his father's son.
I learned something about myself over this Independence Day weekend, too... I LOVE technology! We would not have had such an easy, low-stress trip if not for our new Smart Phones! Thank you, DROID!