We were there for around two hours, playing in the water and hiking and picnicking and socializing.
Three or so hours after leaving, we were back home, where Adelaide, Caedmon, and I immediately retreated to our respective corners to read and recuperate from all that togetherness. I mean, we liked the togetherness, but three hours of time with others will always end in a need for recovery time for both Adelaide and I and, I'm beginning to suspect, Caedmon.
Atticus, however, changed his clothes and grabbed a snack and proceeded to ricochet between his two siblings, begging someone to play with him. Bless his heart, he was trying his best to pick activities and games the other two would enjoy, but they were done, with zero interest in further interaction with human beings.
"Hey, Caedmon, wanna play superheroes? You can be Batman. Or Captain America. Or any of the good guys."
"Hey, Adelaide, wanna play ninjas? I can go get your ninja clothes for you- you don't even have to go upstairs!"
"Not right now."
"Hey, Caedmon, wanna play soccer? I'll get your water ready, and you can start two points ahead. No, three points ahead!"
I felt so bad for that poor kid, our extroverted, people-loving, utterly baffling middle child. If it were up to me and the other two children, our summers would be nothing but day after day of staying at home, with occasional forays into the world to stock up on food and library books. Basically, like this:
But that is not what Atticus needs. He needs things to do and outside stimulation and people. Atticus actually seems to believe that adage "The more the merrier"; it has always made me shudder.
So I've been dragging the kids and myself out of the house more this summer than any other. And yes, Atticus has loved it, but it's also benefited Caedmon and Adelaide who, like me, need the company of other people and often thrive in varied situations, even if we have to force ourselves into it.
We've been going to Lego Club. (Please excuse Atticus's new camera smile; I am aware that it is creepy in the extreme, but he does not. We're working on it.)
We attended the water fight with the fire department.
We've visited a couple different historical societies, because it's free and the older two kids and I love that sort of thing. This is a cross-section of a giant cottonwood that stood in a nearby town for over a hundred years. Our boys are fascinated by this thing and never miss a chance to run their hands over it when we walk past.
Is all this activity exhausting? Heck, yes. But I've also seen the value of having an Atticus in our family, someone who forces the rest of us out into the world, making us have fun and experience things half against our collective introverted will. He's like his dad in this, and thank God for it.