It took me two long weeks of serious thinking, self-discussion, and going back and forth, but finally I made the decision last week to volunteer to babysit for Mr. B for the summer.
Mr. B. is 7 years old and, honestly, a wonderful, funny, thought-provoking and curious child. His questions rarely stop. His energy level is ten times mine. But oh my, I adore this child, and he's growing up too fast. I want us to have a summer of fun and leisure, of learning and exploring, and of just enjoying each other's company.
I have several things on my "agenda" that I want to share with him. I want to teach him to cook, and I want to teach him about healthy eating. I've mentioned before he is a "fussy eater" but lately I've seen him trying on his own to work through it. It seems to time is ripe to get him to explore new foods. By doing some menu planning and grocery shopping with him, and then having him help me cook the food, I'm hoping it might open him up to new food. I have to keep his "quirks" in mind, however. He does not like the thought of meat. So we'll work on discovering new proteins he might like. He does not like his foods all mixed up. So separate servings of fruits, vegetables and proteins will be the name of the game. He wants to like what other kids like - peanut butter and jelly, pizza, etc. We'll look at the healthier way to serve these -- whole grain breads, make our own pizza with whole grain crust and fresh veggies, etc.
I also want to work with him on playing by himself. We have discussed a "schedule" of sorts for the summer, and when we are not out and about, we will have a planned one hour of "quiet time" each day. He can read, build with Legos or blocks, paint, play with PlayDoh - whatever he wants, but on his own.
I also want to teach him about doing chores and receiving an allowance for his work. The allowance will lend itself to discussing money, starting a savings account and putting away part of his allowance. Saving money to buy what he wants (and he always wants something!) rather than expect it to be bought for him automatically.
And we've been talking about finding him a hobby. It used to be Lego's, but he's losing interest in those lately. He talked about wanting to do photography, which would be fun. I was thinking of setting up some type of blog for him to post his photos and write about his summer.
And of course, we're going to do some crafts! We both love crafts! Today when he arrives, we're headed to the woods to collect large 3 to 4 foot sticks. I want to do a Painted Garden Stick garden, which you can see here. And we'll make some small God's Eyes and other natural bobbles to hang in our stick garden. I'm looking forward to this one!
I have been collecting ideas to do with him for awhile. You can see them on my "Ideas to Do With My Grandson" Pinterest board.
Day trips include the Cincinnati Zoo (tomorrow, in fact - before it gets too hot), the Aquarium (probably several times), the John Glenn Space Museum, making cookies to take to our local firehouse and police department, trips to Fresh Market to buy fresh fruits and veggies for our cooking, a trip down to park by the Ohio River, at least one art museum, and more. Jeff will be taking every other Friday off to do "boy things" with Mr. B. His list includes fishing, the National Air Force Museum, and Dave & Buster's for some serious game playing.
I have signed him up for three sessions of day camps. He already takes Karate, and his Karate school offers two three-day Karate camps, from 9am to 3pm. I also signed him up for a full week of day camp at a local church. Hopefully we can also track down some of his friends from first grade to join us for a picnic or trip to the playground. I'm not forgetting that he needs to be around kids his own age -- but there's none on our street.
So wish me luck. No, wish me fun and adventure. I know Mr. B can learn a lot from me, and I certainly know I can learn a lot from him! It's going to be a wonderful summer, and I hope some day he will look back and say, "I remember that summer that Umma and I......"