Tomorrow, Noah turns 3. We did a little party for him this evening. (Very little, one of Ching's army buddies came over.) Not having family in town makes it hard to be motivated to do a bigger party. Also, Noah still doesn't understand what a birthday is.
So, we got him some little bongos, because he likes watching Curious George play them. And we got him a Mickey Mouse stuffed figure because he saw one at a friend's house and loved it and loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse these days.
We got a couple of balloons and an ice cream cake. He would have simply preferred getting a cone and McDonalds.
One thing we've consistently said is that we can make our plans for Noah, right up until those plans come in touch with the reality of who Noah becomes.
I don't think it's any secret I'm not a big fan of public schools, especially when it comes to boys, and then even more so when it comes to our boy. When Noah started noticing other kids at the park and playing chase and such with them, well, my thoughts started to change. He really, really likes being with other kids.
Yesterday, at the park, a school bus pulled up with about 25 kids who were going to play on the playground before going to the water park. He stood there mesmerized as they all walked over to the playground and eventually found three or four boys to hang out with. Today, there were two kids playing when we got to the playground, but they soon left. Then, a lady with four kids came and when he saw them get out of their car he stood there and waved and said hello before they even saw him on the playground.
I had put in an application at one pre-school that Noah's speech people had recommended. It's through a Methodist church, doesn't require potty training, and works with kids like Noah who might be a little delayed in speech or other areas. I got a call about two weeks ago saying there was a wait list for the morning sessions, and said that was fine. They have two day a week and three day a week options from 9 to 12.
I got a call this morning saying he could start in the three day a week classes. I'm still hopeful the two day a week will open up, but three is fine.
I'm already sad about how much I'm going to miss him.
I know this will be good for him for so many reasons other than just letting him hang out with other kids and make friends. And those things will be good, but they don't matter as much to me.
Noah is the sweetest kid I know, and out going. He's easy going and happy. I'm all on board with this pre school thing, unless it starts to change our boy.
At slightly different times, and for slightly different reasons, Nerdstar and I both decided we'll be staying put here in our little house in Northern Virginia for the foreseeable future.
It had been a long time since we'd been in Texas in the summer months. It's not that you ever really forget the Texas heat, but those memories can be a little dulled. Experiencing it again, with Noah, really made me re-think moving back.
Weather permitting, Noah and I go to the park six, if not seven, days a week. On weekends, we sometimes go twice a day. He loves to be outside, running and playing. I'm really enjoying all this outdoor time, but that's because the weather here is much more moderate more of the year. Yes, we've finally gotten hot and humid here, but it's still ten degrees cooler than Texas, and it cools off some when the sun goes down. If you've never lived in Texas from June to September, you cannot know just how oppressive that heat is. I lived there over 30 years and never got used to it.
Now, the biggest factor with the heat is how it affects Noah. His skin really doesn't like it. He gets sweaty and his head gets itchy. Poor boy ends up scratching his head a lot while he's outside playing. His face also reacts badly to sun screen. (We're still trying to find one that works for him.)
Noah's going to spend a LOT of his time outdoors over the next many, many years. So will we. I just don't think Texas is the best climate for that!
The second big factor is jobs. The reality is that Nerdstar's current line of work is only available in this small little part of the country. And changing careers is possible, but not easy. It's something we'll keep looking into, but for now, the money is here. And it's good money - we're just going to put as much in savings as we can and see what we can do in the future.
We talked a little bit about moving slightly north, closer to where most of her jobs are. (We're sad her gig at Quatntico ended and now she's back to over an hour drive each way.) There just aren't any suitable houses in our price range in that area. We got really lucky with the price of our current house.
So, we're taking a look at what we can do to enjoy living where we do. The good things: We like our house. It's not super nice, but the rooms are huge and aesthetics can always be changed. We can always add a little counter space/cabinet in the kitchen if we need to. And if we get really ambitious, there's a huge space downstairs that can be converted to an upscale bathroom and walk-in closet!
We love being on a cul-de-sac for Noah, it's just safer for his run-around self. We love the park that's a mile from the house. It has lovely shade trees and is on a hill so it gets a nice breeze all summer. There are also a lot of other nice parks in the area.
One other downside is we find it hard to make friends in this area. We're not sure how to remedy that, but we'll see. So many people are military and only here a year or two. Or they live ten miles away which is forty minutes in traffic.
We're very fortunate to have a really nice park about a mile from the house. There's actually a decent water park, a playground, two baseball fields, and a nice through the woods walking trail. The two best things about the playground are the shade trees and that it's on a hill and gets a nice breeze. (Well, the breeze isn't so nice in winter.)
We've been going there since Noah started walking. I love the mornings because the other people there tend to be SAHMs with kids around Noah's age. Then, in the evenings, it's more of a free for all UN situation with people from different countries and kids of all ages. Seriously, there are eastern Europeans, Asians, Hispanics, Blacks, everyone. It's cool.
What's been the neatest thing in the past month is seeing Noah really starting to interact with other kids, not just so his own thing all the time. I think it started when we met some friends of ours there and Noah had a blast playing with the boy who's about a year older than him. Then the next time it was just Noah and I until a neighborhood mom showed up with her little boy, just about Noah's age. They spent a lot of time running around and around after each other. Noah still has a limited vocabulary, but he's really sweet and tries to play with kids. It's still so funny to watch little girls try to boss him. He has no idea what they're trying to tell him to do and it makes me laugh.
Today a big family showed up - seven kids of all ages. At first Noah was happy to see a bunch of kids. Then even more happy when he found some little toy dump trucks of theirs to play with. But they just weren't into letting him "in" to play with him. They were in no ways mean or rude, just not inclusive. I'm glad that so far Noah has no concept of people be "nice" or "mean". He's a sweet, sweet boy and I it's going to be hard for me when he realizes people aren't always nice to him.