What I Learned Over Summer Break

Let’s pretend I were going back to school this week. Here’s what I’d tell my teacher I learned over summer break:

1. My children are cows. They eat all the time. Nothing reminds you more of this reality than summer break. The constant grazing drives me NUTS. Yet I can’t win this battle. I threatened at each meal if they didn’t finish what was on their plates, they would get nothing until the next meal. I am full of shit. My only option was to give-up feeding them on weekends and let their dad do it.

The constant grazing drives me nuts.My children are cows.

2. When sunscreen is concerned, every day is ground hog day. From Memorial Day to the present day, sunscreen must be applied on my extremely fair and red headed children EVERY DAY. Yet it is a daily battle, the whining, the complaining, the running away when they see the bottles come out of the drawer. Why? Why? Why is this still happening?



3. I’m Not a Tiger Mom. We had big goals and dreams for what we were going to accomplish academically this summer. We didn’t. They are 7 and 4. It falls on me. Morning work time and word wall words happened in late June. By the time we were through July 4, forget it.

Haven’t read quite this many yet this summer

Practicing letters and numbers for my preschooler, again, we were hot to trot in June. By July, who needs numbers and letters, let’s turn on a show!!


4. Summer Bucket Lists are Super Annoying.  Back to hopes, dreams, unicorns and wishes, we had BIG PLANS for this summer, I tell you. BIG PLANS. Does getting organized to hit the pool by 3pm count for anything?

5. Bike rides are happy-ish experiences for which even the most prepared are, apparently, never prepared.   My oldest started riding without training wheels in the spring. I had big ambitions for our summer days spent biking because we are steps from Rock Creek Park.

Even a vacation bike ride on the beach turned into an epic drama.

Even a vacation bike ride on the beach turned into an epic drama.

The world was our oyster. Until one day when we were heading out for a 3 mile round trip escapade and about 6/10ths of a mile from home, my youngest pointed out some deer, my oldest looked, swerved and had an epic wipe out. I swear there is still gravel in her shins. After safely getting off my bike, ensuring my youngest was stable in the bikeseat on the back of my bike, I went to tend to the gushing blood pouring from my oldest’s knees as she screamed bloody murder. Had there been any sharks or wolves lurking, we would have been screwed.

But see – I had no supplies with me. No band aids, no neosporin, no nothing. We had only the grass to wipe her blood all over.  And then, as luck would have it, my bike went tumbling down, bringing my youngest crashing to the ground, scraping up her elbow with blood now gushing from her arm.


Next bike ride, I was PREPARED. My backpack was filled with bandages, neosporin, band aids, water, I was a mobile CVS clinic.

Except when my eldest got stung by a hornet 4 miles from our house – think I was prepared for that?

Happy-ish Trails……..

The year I took back vacation. Or my kids gave it back.

The year I took back vacation. Or my kids gave it back.

6. Summer vacation can be reclaimed.  This one was a real surprise to me friends. Many of you know I’ve spent several summers writing about how vacation is actually “vacation.” I loathed those cruel parents on the beach who had the audacity to bring a MAGAZINE. Or could have conversations with their spouses. WHAT THE HELL were they doing, I scowled, while I chased, ran, scrambled, negotiated and wiped tears. Indeed, my friend so wisely dubbed vacation as actually just JOB RE-LOCATION.

I’ve written about it so much in the past.

By the end of the summer, I didn’t quite have the nerve to bring a book to the beach because through the crashing waves and squawking seagulls, I knew they could hear me open its pages and would come running, immediately hungry. But I sipped cool refreshing drinks, had uninterrupted conversations with Mr. WM and dare I say, RELAXED? It is true, it can happen to you if it hasn’t already, vacation does become a true word again. Not an ironic  word.

Believe, kittens. C’est vrai.

7. Children are allergic to closing screen doors.  My home is a shelter for flies. I can’t win this one.

What did you learn over summer break? What did I forget? Hit “Like” on Wired Momma’s Facebook page, or you’re totally missing out.
6 Responses to What I Learned Over Summer Break
  1. Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms
    August 27, 2013 | 2:32 pm

    Holy cow this was funny and spot on! I love vacation as job re-location. And word of advice, never bike again. :) Ellen

  2. Jocelyn
    August 27, 2013 | 2:51 pm

    Because you can’t write a post without me commenting, here I go:

    You are awesome. This article? Nailed it. Though I am still waiting to reclaim summer vacation, we’re getting there. I felt victorious-ish that I put my foot down at the pool this year and said I’m not swimming with them anymore. I am staying on the side of the pool reading a magazine- or trying to as I yell at them every 5 minutes. But all three now swim like fish-even in the deep end-so next year is mine, friends. All mine.

    The other difference-speaking of mother of the year-is that I hate sunscreen SO MUCH that I don’t even put it on my kids anymore. I’ve overheard them tell other people their mom doesn’t believe in sunscreen. Really. Maybe I need to pull back on the sarcasm around them. Luckily, God is very smart. He knew to give me kids with skin that does not burn, who do not have nut or any other allergies (which I WOULD NOT tolerate), and who could be taught to use the potty by age 2 and who can swim by age 3.5. Otherwise, I would not be where I am today- which is sober. Other moms are not so blessed (and nor am I in other departments, like SLEEP) but they seem to have a lot more patience than I do.

    You have wise words, Momma. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who has summerfails. Ah well- I still have 14 more summers to go to nail it.

  3. suburbancorrespondent
    August 27, 2013 | 3:40 pm

    Toothpaste. I always carry a tiny tube of toothpaste for bee stings. But it is true – a family bike ride is never what it seems it will be. EVER.

  4. meg
    August 28, 2013 | 2:32 am

    The bit about your parked bike tipping over with #2 onboard made me LOL. The image. Totally the kind of thing that would happen to me. I’ll probably remember this post and start snickering/snorting to myself (like during inappropriate time – the “chalk talk” at back to school night perhaps)

    Pretty much with you on all counts of this list. We were reading steadily through July (no camp tuition, but hefty library fines) and pretty much reading boxes of donuts and cereal in August.

  5. Julie
    August 28, 2013 | 3:39 am

    Love this! and the hope that vacation is more than a memory. What did I learn? Swim lessons can wait. That parent-child swim classes should carry a disclaimer that it is torture. I was stupid enough to think it would be a fun activity. I failed to consider explaining to a toddler that we could only go in the water at the beginning of class, had to get out exactly 30 minutes later, and had to try and do what the teacher was doing. WHAT was I thinking? I threw in the towel after the first week. It was not fun for either of us.

  6. Monica Sakala
    August 28, 2013 | 11:27 am

    Thank you for all these fantastic comments, everyone! Glad to know I wasn’t alone in these deep and important summer lessons…and great tip on the toothpaste!

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