Friday, July 29, 2011

For the Bug and the Monster

Sometimes throughout the year, I sit back and think, "what was I doing at this time last year?" I daydream and compare where I am in life, things I was doing then compared to things I am doing now, that sort of thing. A few weeks ago, I was reminiscing about last summer. This time last summer I was playing mommy to my amazing niece and nephew. All summer I told myself I was going to write them a letter at the end of our time together and tell them all the things they did, places we went together, adventures we had, adorable things they did or said. Daily, I would think to myself "oh, there's something I'll put in the letter" after Freddie smiled for the camera or Ainsley said something ridiculously funny (which is definitely not rare:) But as the summer came to a close, I had written nothing. Shocker. So, this year as I am thinking back, I have decided to write that letter. Things are not as fresh in my mind but it is a summer I will never forget. So here it goes:

Dear Ainsley and Freddie,

Last summer Daddy stayed with Nanny and Poppa during the week so he could work at his new job and while Mommy was still working in Richmond, I was the one to get to take care of you! Since I am a teacher and have summers off, I was lucky enough to spend the whole summer with you two!

Bug, you were not even three yet, because I came to stay with you guys in June, but you were the most amazing, chatty, witty almost-three-year-old I have ever known. And Fredders, you were just a wee three month old baby boy. The chubbiest, cutest, most amazing little baby boy I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

We settled into a routine where I woke up right before Mommy had to leave for work, most days you were awake, Bug, and Freddie was either still sleeping or laying in his swing. For a little while, you were very sad to see Mommy go. It broke my heart (and Mommy's) to see you cry when she left, but you were fine less than 5 minutes after she was out of the driveway. Then, I would make you breakfast and sometimes even set up your chair in the living room so we could watch something fun while we ate our breakfast. Otherwise, we would sit at the table together and eat our breakfast of cereal, waffles, or the chocolate cream of wheat stuff that you loved.

You were such a good helper with Freddie, always wanting to follow me up when we had to do a diaper change, or hold his bottle when I was feeding him. Freddie, you kept us on schedule. I had to make sure you had everything you needed when you needed it. You had bad reflux so you took Mylanta (Ainsley, you used to ask me in the morning if Freddie had taken "your lanta" yet because when you asked what I was giving him, I said "Mylanta." It made me giggle every time.) I even had an app on my phone that tracked when you took your medicine, when you ate, when you were changed, when you slept, when you woke up, everything. You had your bottle every three hours and you took your longer naps in the morning. So every morning we would lounge until around 10:30 when I would start to get Ainsley ready before you woke up around 11:00 and we all went out together.

Some days we went grocery shopping, sometimes to Target, we played soccer in the front yard, blew bubbles in the backyard and always went to a park somewhere. There was the park with the fountain where we threw some goldfish to the geese, then there was your favorite park with the castle! Now, that was a cool playground. You went on the see-saw, the swings, the tire swing, and we played princess games in the castle where you would tell me stories about how I was in the dungeon and the princes Brinkley and Gatsby would come save me from the "Mean Teen."

Bug, your imagination is like nothing I've ever seen. You can play make-believe for hours and never get tired, you can tell stories with the most creative action sequences I've ever heard. You also did love your movies. As much as we played outside, we watched movies. One of your favorites last summer was All Dogs Go To Heaven (although I am sure it is hard to believe there was anything before Tangled.) The credits would roll and you would instantly look at me and say "again?" Sometimes I said yes:)

We went to the pool with Margie one day and you had such a blast! Freddie kinda just chilled then passed out, but we had fun!
We had a little blow up pool on the deck and we'd play for hours in there too. You had hundreds of toys in there and I would sing you a song "I see a tiger, tiger, tiger, I see a tiger in the pool!" and you would search for the tiger and bring it to me. That game never got old! Then, after your birthday party you had a lot more toys and even a new play sink for outside. You always wanted to crawl in the sink, I even gave you a bath in there once, ha. Crazy Auntie Keek:) Or was it Crazy Ainsley? It was your idea!

One big thing we accomplished together that summer was potty training!! Mommy and Daddy had been working with you for a bit before Freddie came along, but once he was born you regressed a little (totally normal when a new baby is in the house and Mommy and Daddy are super busy.) So I thought it was the perfect time for you to try again. You did such a great job!! You got a prize every time and soon enough you were fully trained and I was so proud of you!

Fredders, the things about that time that I will never forget are swaddling you up and rocking you to sleep. It was one of my favorite things to do, even when my back ached from holding your chubby little self and swaying back and forth. You fought sleep like you were in a boxing ring and nap time was your toughest competitor. Your little eyes would flutter and flutter and you would try so hard to keep them open. Until finally, they would stay closed, your breathing would slow, you would get a bit heavier and ultimately lose out on that fight. I loved how warm and snuggly you were and how you would instantly stop squirming and fussing when you were swaddled. Swaddling is my favorite thing. You looked so snuggled up and comfy and I would just pat, pat, pat your little baby back until you succumbed to sleep.

We all took a trip to Longwood one day too. Ainsley, you got to play in the Brock Commons fountains while Freddie watched from his stroller. We visited all the Longwood sites while I told you stories about how Mommy, Daddy and Keek went to school there. I showed you the Founding Four clock in front of the library and asked you which you liked better, "Delta Zeta or Zeta Tau Alpha" you said "Delta yayda" I asked one more time just to be sure and got the same response. Maybe I didn't tell you about the CROWN part of ZTA...I think that'd be a big seller these days for my little princess:)

All in all we had an amazing summer together, I wish I had written down some of your quotes, Bug, because you are one hilarious little lady. Fredders, you didn't say much so no regrets there:) I was sad to leave you guys, every time I say goodbye to you both I leave a little piece of myself with you. You are the first niece and nephew I ever had and I love you both with all my heart and soul. I am the luckiest aunt to have gotten to spend that precious time with you, and now you have some account of it also:)

Auntie Keek

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