My two oldest children attended their last day of school on Friday. They've just finished the fifth and third grades. I remember fondly that time of year when the entire summer stretched before me, offering a smorgasbord of fun: beachcombing, fort-building, neighborhood softball games, long bike rides, berry picking, running through the sprinklers, and playing with friends. I want this to be a back-to-basics summer, full of relaxation and fun and family, so I've come up with some rules for our household:
1. No scheduled activities. I am not enrolling the girls in summer programs of any sort. No camps, clinics, or classes. The lone exception is soccer, because my eldest daughter already plays on a team. And before you go thinking, Yeah, right! You're one of those crazy soccer moms and you know it! let me assure you that basketball is my sport and I'm rather insulted that my kid has picked a game I know nothing about—she really, truly loves to play soccer.
2. No TV. This restriction won't be so hard on my two oldest girls, since they hardly watch television anyway. I'm not so sure how difficult the withdrawal will be for me the twins—they're used to a little shot of Elmo in the morning and a movie in the late afternoon while I prepare dinner. I remarked to my husband how I won't be able to use TV as a crutch anymore, to which he responded, "You mean a lifeline."
3. Lots of time outdoors. This change in policy is beyond my control, since the twins basically sprint every morning from their beds to the front door and begin wailing until they're let into the sunshine. Fortunately, their older sisters and the neighbor children also like to play outside . . . I'm going to need all the help I can get in keeping an eye on my 3-year-old explorers, especially if I hope to get any gardening accomplished this summer.
4. Lots of arts and crafts. I have to confess that I've used the twins as an excuse to avoid sitting down with my older girls to work on anything creative. The mess! The time I could be spending on other things! The mess! I'm making a vow to myself and to my readers (but not to my daughters, because I don't want them using it against me if I can't follow through) that Friday is going to be Craft Day around here. As soon as I put the twins down for their nap, I'll pull out something fun for us to work on together.
5. Nightly bedtime rituals. Reading to my twin toddlers is a lot like reading to a pair of wriggling eels, and I'm so exhausted by the nightly process that I usually just shout up the stairs at my older girls to "Go to bed!" without tucking them in, praying with them, or reading to them. Now that I don't have to worry about everyone being in bed at 8:00 and up in the morning by a certain hour, I'm going to reestablish some nightly routines that work for everyone. My husband and I will take each twin into separate rooms to spend individual reading time with them. And my 8-year-old should get back the snuggle time with Mom that she's missed so much these past few months.
So, in conclusion, I will most likely fail miserably with my summer plans and, come June 1, the kids will all be shipped off to summer camp somewhere in Minnesota while I spend my days passed out on the couch under a blanket of chocolate wrappers, with an occasional spasming foot kicking an empty bottle of moonshine onto the dirty floor.
Dinner last night: cheeseburgers, hot dogs, watermelon, cous cous & cucumber salad