This was the summer of my daughter being two and a half. She's not quite old enough to tell me HER favorites of the summer, but these are mine.
#3 - Staying Up Late Reading
We discovered that as the light in the evening lasted longer, AJ was staying awake in her room longer, looking at the books in her bookshelf. She can't read yet, of course, but she'll quietly flip the pages and sometime babble to herself about what she sees.
And we'd find stacks of books in her bed with her come morning.
Until she found a better solution.
Her bed is a converted crib - one bought for the ability to turn it into the toddler bed, and we left her cushioned animal pictures bumper on when we did that. And the day came when we discovered books tucked between the bumper and the railing at the back side in little groups of three. All neatly put away where she couldn't roll on the sharp corners.
#2 - The Night of Fireworks and Nets
On July 4th she took a good nap, so we asked her if she'd like to see fireworks. No reaction. Then we found her a YouTube clip. Her eyes got big and she turned around to our visitors "Grandad! Go see that with me."
Our best option ended up being the show at Sesame Place, a child's amusement park to which we already had season tickets. We got there a little early so first we went to go on a couple rides with her. But this time she decided she was going to climb right into the nets. (This pic isn't of my little girl, but you'll get the idea.)
So AJ's delightedly walking around waaaay up and I'm crawling after her, my purse still on my shoulder, frantically trying to keep up. I could have done without the intersection point with three exits where I didn't realize where she'd gone at first. Or the little bruises that popped up right below my knees later.
But she had a HUGE grin on her face the entire time and frequently punctuated the trip with "Mommy, come on!"
After draining a couple water bottles the five of us (me, my husband, both his parents, and AJ) went to find a spot to sit and wait for fireworks.
She was RIVETED. There was no crying or startling at the loud noises, just an intense stare while she snacked on some little crackers. She sat on my lap. She sat on her Daddy's lap, occasionally commenting with an "ooo, daddy look" as the lights exploded to the tune of various Sesame Street songs.
Afterwards we asked her if she liked them. "Yes, I liked the fireworks. I want to see more fireworks. Except the green ones. I don't like the green ones. They hurt my eyes." For the full effect, think about a 10 second pause between each sentence while she put the words together.
As we waited to get out of the parking lot and were driving home we'd catch glimpses of other community displays and she'd point excitedly and want to go see.
#1 - Swimming All By Myself
The absolute best was the first weekend AJ discovered floaties. You, know, those inflatable things you slide on the child's upper arms. We'd been at the pool for half the summer, mostly holding her, occasionally trying various flotation devices like swimsuits, kick boards, and vests. She enjoyed them well enough, but usually wanted to go play in the kiddie pool in short order.
The floaties, though, she LOVED the floaties.
We showed her how they worked and within ten minutes she pushed off of us and discovered that she could stay up! And she could lean forward and kick and move herself from place to place. And she even leaned back and floated without freaking out for the very first time.
AJ was so happy that weekend that we stayed in the big pool for an hour both days. The novelty has worn off a bit since then, but we're still swimming and having fun. At least for one more week.
And then summer will be over.