Monday, September 19, 2011

After A While, Crocodile

I love autumn.  I know it's pretty cliche, but every year I wait anxiously for the cool breeze of fall and the sound of leaves crunching underfoot.  I love how the smell of pumpkin spice candles mixes with burning leaves and takes me back to childhood and memories of jumping in leaf piles. 

But on days like the last few we've had, the dreary, rainy kind, I look back fondly on summer and the days spent sunning ourselves beneath a cloudless sky.

Yeah, right.

It has always been a battle to get my children to play outside and an even bigger battle to initiate physical activity.  It's not because they are lazy, however.  It's because they inherited my inability to function in the heat.  Just as I would, they spend a few short minutes running around before plopping down on a lawn chair and demanding my sunglasses and a cocktail.  So when the Gator joined our family, I was elated.  Not only did the boys have renewed interest in playing outdoors, but I was able to enjoy a few moments free from the constant soundtrack of my day.

"Mommy?  Mama?  Mom.  Mommy?  Hey mommy!  Mom?  Mommy!"

But I didn't realize just how important his "tractor" would become to Cael.  A Christmas gift, Cael received this larger-than-life present after all of the others were opened; one last Christmas surprise.  He and Graham sat on it for hours, utilizing it as a piece of furniture and not even realizing that it would, in a few short months, take them to far off places.

But not yet.

Luckily for us, Cael and Graham were young enough that they didn't see the torture in our poor timing with the Gator.  We presented it on Christmas morning and promptly put it in the basement storage closet until the weather warmed up enough that driving in the grass would be possible.  We've pulled this trick on them a few times, but with their birthdays in the fall and Christmas close behind there is no other gift-giving holiday that would allow time for them to enjoy their gifts.  So torture it is.

In early April, the ground still frozen but no longer covered in a layer of snow, we squeezed the Gator from the confines of the closet and Cael climbed on for his maiden voyage.  With no previous steering experience, he navigated the tractor like a drunk driver, complete with the incessant laughter and disregard for others' safety.  Graham stumbled onto the passenger seat and Joel and I took turns running alongside to make sure he wasn't accidentally (or intentionally) ejected from his seat and run over during a tight right turn. 

As he got more experience behind the driver's seat, Cael became much more reliable and less reckless.  (With his driving, that is.  Overall, he's still a maniac.)  Every time we set foot outside, he was off to retrieve his tractor and spent the next hour driving up and down the yard either pretending to mow the lawn or in a catatonic state.  There were accidents here and there, but it was clear he was in love with the Gator.

As the weather is cooling off and it takes an increasingly longer time for the grass to dry after a rain, Cael has driven his Gator less and less, and I know that the day is fast approaching when we must put it away for the winter.  And since I know no other way to honor something than to blog about it, I made a video with all of my favorite "tractor fun" photos and videos.  You know, because sick children + husband out of town + Graham's birthday on Friday + Cael's birthday in two weeks + family in town = copious amounts of free time. 

It's an illness. 


  1. Cute! We have a red jeep that was John's and mine when we were little and we have been saving it for Raya....but we have yet to put a new battery in it and show Raya that it actually moves :-P


  2. Shawna- That's the tough part... C & G enjoyed it so much as furniture that it was hard to put the battery in and unveil its other features! I bet she'll love it, though, and when Brielle is older she'll love it too!


Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.