Tonight, we went to an engagement party for J’s high school girlfriend (which gave me an awesome response to “How do you know X?” – “I’m her ex-boyfriend’s wife.”) I really love weddings and wedding-like celebrations – it’s so fun to watch people who are in love and are about to make/just made a huge commitment to each other. I love the happiness, the caring, the gazing into each others’ eyes, the stolen kisses and other cute public displays of affection. And now that I’m married myself, it also brings me back to my own wedding and lets me relive it a little bit.
This celebration was particularly fun because a close friend of J’s was there with her toddler, who we haven’t seen in almost a year. It’s always amazing to me how fast kids grow and change. Last time we saw her, she was just learning to speak in single words, while tonight she was extremely articulate and asking her mother to let her go play with “the baby” – who was only a little over a year younger, but was in a drastically different place developmentally.
J has been taking a free online class in Python this spring through MIT’s OpenCourseWare program. He’s been mostly enjoying the learning, I think, but it’s been stressful because he has a long commute, so between that and the class, he hasn’t felt like he’s had a lot of free time. But today he took his final exam, and he passed the class. Which is super exciting for two reasons. One, he wasn’t sure that he was going to pass, since he’d stopped taking the class very seriously a couple of months ago. So it’s great that he still managed to pass it. And two, it’s really exciting for both of us that he’s going to have more free time. Hopefully that means we’ll be able to plan more fun things to do together this summer.
On Monday, J and I tagged along to a Memorial Day Barbecue being thrown by a friend of a friend, and found ourselves adrift in a sea of toddlers. Which was fantastic – I can’t imagine a better way to spend the day.
Toddlers may actually be my favorite age. They’re so curious about everything, and so easily excited and interested and fascinated by things, because everything is so new to them. Plus – bonus – they’re still small enough that you can easily pick them up and set them down someplace else when you need to. I know they also throw some pretty intense tantrums when they’re not happy, but watching them learn how to engage with the world around them more than makes up for those low points, in my opinion. Of course, I don’t have kids of my own yet, so my opinion may change when I’m spending more than a few hours at a time with a toddler. But I don’t think it will.
One of the fun things about the barbecue was that J and I had the chance to see a whole bunch of different parenting styles in action. There was one couple who scolded their child every time she picked anything up that she might even be considering putting in her mouth, and ran to catch her any time she neared a muddy area. On the other end of the spectrum, our hosts let their twin boys explore everything, and they spent most of the barbecue playing in the bucket of water and ice that held the drinks. By the end of the afternoon, they were soaked, muddy, and had put almost every can or bottle into their mouths at one point.
The high point of the afternoon (at least as far as the toddlers were concerned) seemed to be when J was conned into giving out wagon rides in one of these. What he didn’t know when he started was that the kids would never tire of being pulled around in it, no matter how many times they circled the very small front yard. Luckily, when he was ready to be done, an older sister stepped up to be the wagon driver. Sucker.