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.
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.
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.
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?
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.