We ended up going to the geology club reunion on Saturday, and even though I was having social-anxiety second thoughts off and on the whole way there, it was fine. Better than fine, really. I had finally decided to approach it with the same mentality as I did my 10-year high school reunion: I'd go because if I didn't, I'd always wonder what I missed. Except this time I was left feeling regretful that we didn't opt in for the entire weekend. We'll definitely be doing that next time the reunion is held within driving distance. We were only there for about three hours total and didn't do a lot of mingling, but we did spend about an hour and a half fossil hunting on a road cut.
We didn't find anything spectacular but it was nice to be out under a perfect October sky, chatting with people who really get something I enjoy in the same way I get it. The fossil hunting is so easy there that you can literally just sit for a moment and you'll start seeing all these little bits and pieces lying on the ground in plain sight. I had forgotten the simple pleasure of sitting and waiting for the fossils to reveal themselves, and the first time I tried, there was this perfect tiny little blastoid lying right there at my feet. MB didn't know what it was, but he recognized the marvel of something that once was alive at the bottom of the sea being forever preserved in stone.
We also took Nico to the fall party that we were invited to, and that was almost a disaster but was more or less redeemed by the end. He fell asleep in the car on the way there and then woke up on the wrong side of the couch about half an hour after we arrived. He ended up staggering around crying for at least half an hour, and it was fairly awful. Nothing we tried to cheer him up worked in the least. He hated the glow bracelets that he loved last month on our camping trip. He didn't want a snack, didn't want to hold his flashlight, didn't want to look at trucks in the driveway. We skipped the hayride because I didn't want to ruin it for everyone by dragging my screaming toddler along for the trip. Eventually he acquiesced to a walk around the campfire and that calmed him down. By the end of the party he seemed to be having a good time, so I'm going to count the excursion as at least partially successful. Right before we left I was pointing out some constellations to MB and noticed that Nico was looking up at the stars, too. I don't know if he's ever noticed them before. I didn't take any pictures because by the time he stopped flipping out, it was dark. Believe me when I tell you that he was wearing a very cute hat.
On Sunday I took him to get his 21-month / Halloween photos done, and he had a ball running around in the photographer's backyard, kicking through leaves and running up a grassy incline while announcing "Nico walk uphill!" He's getting so big, you guys. So big. We're so lucky to know a great photographer who likes to take Nico's picture.
After our photo appointment, we picked up MB and went out to lunch. Nico spotted the boom of an excavator sticking up above the tops of the cars in the parking lot and was very keen to point it out to us. On our way out, MB told me to go pull the car around and walked with Nico over to the edge of the vacant lot next to the restaurant so that he could get a better look at the excavator. It was just a small, simple moment, but it was one of those moments where you think maybe we're doing this parenting thing right. We don't get to spend as much time with Nico as we'd like, but maybe the key is to always be willing to take ten minutes out of a busy day to go check out a dump truck.
Reading: State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Playing: the Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack