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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Midsummer Nightmare

Okay. Maybe I’m being a bit of a drama queen with the title, but seriously, summer vacation is one huge headache. There’s no school! Parents need school to maintain their sanity.

I realize teachers need a break to maintain theirs as well, but why does the break have to come all at one time? I would love year-round school with shorter breaks throughout the year.

My top 5 reasons for dreading summer vacation:

1. “I’m bored!” These two little words from my daughter send a shiver of fear through me. They are usually the early warning signal that something is going down real soon. Maybe it will be something bad like a broken bone, a gash that leaves a scar, things that make you scream, WHAT THE HECK IS IN MY FREEZER? (That’s just my experiment, mom.)

Or maybe it will be creative like this…
A portrait of flowers ripped from my garden.

Or maybe a little bizarre like this…

Doesn't everyone keep their stuffed toys on the front lawn?

Or really bizarre like this…
Some of you saw this on my FB page or Twitter. Don't be alarmed. It's just an Avatar Barbie.
2. "What do we have to eat?" Our son is no longer a baby. He’s a swarm of locust, better known as a teenage boy. A house full of groceries is gone in a day! As he’s eating breakfast and still chewing, he’ll ask what we’re doing for lunch. Last summer I would hear the wood floor creaking at midnight and find the evidence of a feeding frenzy all over the kitchen the next morning. It was like something out of a Stephen King novel. Well, if Stephen wrote about jelly and brutal butter knife attacks on bread.

3. “Moooom!” If my daughter calls for me once a day, she calls for me a thousand. I swear my name is like a soothing chant to her. Mohm! Mohm! She sometimes doesn’t even realize she has called me. She’ll look at me blankly and say, “Huh?” I'm so conditioned to answer to "Mom", I once answered my cat's meow.

4. "Are you done yet?" The biggest issue with kids at home all day is I work out of my house. If I'm home, my kids think I’m available. I don’t blame them, but the fact is I have phone calls to make, sick people to visit, and documentation to write. And this is very hard to do when I’m interrupted a hundred times a day by my daughter who is bored, misses me, and wants to know when I can come spend time with her. Of course, the minute I clock out, she’s ready to go play with a friend.

Then there’s my son who wants to know if I want to pick up McDonald’s for lunch. Oh, and by the way, what are we thinking about for dinner? And will I take him to the store to rent a video game? No? What about the mall to pre-order a game? Then what about Best Buy? No to that too? Oh, hey! There was this really funny show he watched and since he has no idea how to give a summary, he’ll just feed it to me verbatim. “Waaaaaa!!!!”

I don't really scream. I just want to.
5. "OMG. If my kids don’t get in bed and stay there, my head is going to explode!" There’s no quiet time during summer. No uninterrupted snuggle time with hubby. No watching TV in the basement without the sound of plodding footsteps overhead. If we were smart, we’d wake the kids up at 6:30 in the morning so they would go to bed earlier. But the morning is my ONLY quiet time. I never want to give it up.

A part of me realizes this won’t be forever, so I try to practice patience. Our son starts high school next year and soon he’ll be gone. (He will, right? I don’t think I could take an adult child living in the basement.) Our lives will be altered forever when he goes to college. Then our little girl will grow up and leave the nest. (She is leaving, I swear it, even if she says she’s going to live in our house and send us to a retirement home. LOL) And then my husband and I will have so much peace and quiet, we probably won’t know what to do with ourselves. So, I’m just going to sit back and try to enjoy these days without complaining. Well, with minimal complaining. I think all parents are entitled to grumble a little from time to time.

What are summers like at your house? And what was your favorite part of summer when you were a kid? (I used to love playing hide-and-seek at night with the neighborhood kids.)

25 comments:

  1. Well, I was keeping it together, but I think your post just put me over the edge into 'It's almost here" panic. LOL

    Yes, on the feeding frenzy--I have TWO teenage boys. Who NEVER stop eating!

    Yes on the "Mom? Mom? Mom! Moooom!"

    Worse thing--the bickering. Ugh.

    But there will be good times too. There will, won't there? Yes. Afternoons at the pool. Movie marathons. Picnics.

    School shopping.

    :-)

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    1. Deb,

      You just reminded me of the light at the end of the tunnel. School shopping. Ahhh... I just found my happy place. ;D

      Two teenage boys to feed would be a huge challenge. When my son has his friends over our food is gone within minutes.

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  2. I am so glad that I am not alone in this fear. Fortunately, my daughter is finally old enough (at 5) to join in summer camps. Gymnastics camp, dance camp--you name it. Last summer, when she was 4, I thought I was going to tear my hair out. There were no activities that lasted more than an hour for her age group. But this summer? We finally have stuff to do during the day.

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    1. That's great, Lily.

      I've had my daughter in the YMCA program in the past, but it's so expensive when it's not part of your regular budget. This summer I'm signing her up for some things through our Park & Rec. If I didn't have to work three days a week it would be a lot easier to get her to and from activities, but I have a friend's mom who is willing to help out. And I still haven't ruled out a few days through the Y program this summer.

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  3. Samantha,

    I remember it well. My youngest is driving now so this will be my first free summer since before the first child was born. And even though my work schedule didn't change (same thing 12 months a year) there was always disorder in the summer. Hubby worked nights so he had them during the day and he was all for them staying up and sleeping in.

    When I was a kid we played baseball until it was too dark to see the ball.

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    1. Jane,

      I don't know if life will be easier or if I'll just be a Nervous Nellie when my son starts driving. Of course, he's always been the more cautious of my kids. I don't even what to think about my little dare devil daughter behind the wheel.

      I loved playing neighborhood ball. We used a tennis ball instead of a baseball because we didn't have a field. We played in the street. A tennis ball didn't break windows and we could catch it without a glove, so anyone who walked up could play.

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  4. Samantha,
    Love. This. Post. We aren't just on the same page--we're reading the same line down to the word! 8 days of school left. How many until the first day of next year? As of today, 60. Yes, I counted. I'm dreading summer vacation like a Lady of the Night dreads confession.

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    1. LOL! Andris, you have a great way with words. We'll have to be each other's support group. "It's okay. Step away from the ledge. There are only 24 days to go." :D

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    2. Yes! A time-bomb ticking down to joy rather than destruction. Bahaha!

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    3. Marquita ValentineMay 23, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      But Andris, you and I are on year round schedule. So by the time we're ready to ah, send those little darlings to a different universe, it's time for school to start.

      I think my oldest only has 5 weeks off this year. I can handle that, along with her brother starting kindergarten a week later. Really, I can. Seriously, if I keep saying the words it will make it true-right?!

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    4. I have no idea what happened to my avitar!

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    5. But, but I barely make it through the weekends! When they aren't demanding food, they're bickering! We have about 6 weeks of summer. Six. Weeks. I'm gonna shave my head & join a motorcycle gang. Or rob a bank for some quiet prison time.

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  5. Sam- I'm dreading this summer. Since we move we don't have to many friends here. Before I could schedule play dates with my friends and toss the kids outside and hang out with my friends. I know so sad. I was surprise how expensive a week long camp is here. My husband was going that's cheap. I was like what. I looked at summer camps back home and it was cheaper in my hometown. So, I get hear I'm bored until my friend moves up here and 8 weeks later her boys join her. Yes, I will be one of the parents with a calendar that has school starts and mark off my days till then.

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    1. Melody,

      That is another level of challenge to add to your summer. There's nothing sad about taking some time for yourself. We all need it, believe me! And I remember getting together with other kids regularly while my parents had game night with the kids' parents. We had a blast! It's some of my best memories. :)

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  6. Samantha ~ About 1/2 of my son's summer is scheduled with various week long camps - optical illusion art, photography, board games. painting, pop art, and vacations.

    What to do with him the other 1/2 (since I work outside of the home)???

    He'd love to play x-box all summer. I'd love for him to go do things with friends. We'll see who ends up the victor.

    Next summer he'll need to get a job!

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    1. My son will definitely want to play x-box all summer, but on my days off this year, I'm dragging him out of his boy cave. They have a great summer school program here that's really inexpensive, but it's only for 1/2 a day and lasts two weeks. How am I supposed to pick the kids up in the middle of the day when I'm working? It drives me nuts how most programs are geared for parents who don't work outside of the home.

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  7. I'm starting to think that yet another benefit of not having kids is that the words 'summer break' evoke magical memories of my childhood, when long days stretched ahead of me with nothing but popsicles and my imagination to fill them :-)

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    1. Erin,

      You should call your mom today and thank her for the wonderful summer break memories you have. :)

      I think I'll do the same.

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  8. Samantha, you know, I always imagined year-round school would be worse for parents. I mean, with summer break, you can find camp after camp after camp to send the kids off to. Yeah, it might be expensive...but at least they're out of your hair most of the time. But with year-round school and extended breaks spread out randomly throughout the year? How do you plan for those? Christmas break and spring break were always the times that my parents were scrambling, trying to find something to do with us for a week or two because they couldn't get off of work. But in the summer? They shipped us off to camps and to visit the grandparents...and they didn't have to worry about what to do with us.

    Summer for me? Well, since I only have feline children, and they're indoor only, the only thing is the heat. Blech. And it never fails that, since I live in Texas, the air conditioner will undoubtedly fail in July or August. Then I'll be taking the cats to a hotel that allows pets and has air conditioning while we wait a week or so for the repairman to get to us. Yay.

    That's it. Oh, and this summer, we're stocking up on the flea prevention because there was no hard freeze and it's been a wet spring. But yeah...no sense of panic. Just the usual "do we REALLY have to have 30+ days of 100+ temps in a row again?"

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    1. Catherine,

      Ick on the heat! I don't miss that about the South.

      The Y has a program during Christmas break, so I imagine they would run it during the breaks if we had year-round school. I could better deal with the costs if it was spread out over the year. Also, I could take a week or two off every few months to be home with my kids, but I can't take the whole summer off or even big blocks of time off.

      Summer camp is really expensive here, at least in my opinion. It runs around $400 a week. I'm positive my parents didn't pay anything close to that when I was a kid. And unfortunately, all of my kid's grandparents still work, so they can't take the kids either.

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  9. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but I actually look forward to my kids being out of school. And not so that I can spend every waking moment with them (because I prefer not to - haha), but because the pressure of school is off, no more "Mom, I forgot, I need a poster board TONIGHT," or "there's a school program TONIGHT." I just find that the kids lighten up and so do I.

    Another benefit is that I have a bit more help at the house. My kids do laundry, vacuum, dust, etc. If they want all those games and McDonalds lunches, they need to earn it. So coming home here and there to a clean house courtesy of my children is a definite summertime benefit!

    I also don't mind them sleeping the day away, playing games and just hanging out with their friends. My son always has friends over and my daughter is usually at her grandma's or at a friend's house. If they want to go to some type of summer camp, I let them, but they are both getting a bit old for it now. My son will be taking driver's ed this summer and my daughter may sign up for the swim team, but other than that, it's just summertime fun with the friends....

    Of course, this is all easy to say when summer hasn't started yet. Give me a few weeks and I'll let you know!

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  10. My kids are older, so I can actually run away from home when they bother me. ;) And I do! The hard part for me now is that for some reason college-age kids turn into vampires. They sleep all day and then they're in and out all night. Once graduation is over, I won't get a good night's sleep until they move into their dorms come the end of August. But at least I will no longer have to worry about their grades, assignments, or schedules. Yes! Bring Summer on!

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    1. Cynthia,

      I can relate to not getting a good night's sleep. My son is up at all hours. He has always been a nightowl, and so am I, but I have to sleep when I'm working. But it will be very nice not to have to worry about our son's grades. :)

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  11. Today is my sons' first day of summer break and I have already heard the I'm Bored statement several times. I said you know, you've got the whole of summer ahead of you, you had better be finding something to do. Argh. They are going to have me pulling my hair out within a weeks time. And my oldest has got a hollow leg, he is 6'4 and only 14 but can out eat the other three of us together(and to add insult to injury he is so skinny). I buy snacks and tell him and his brother both when they are gone you are out of luck! LOL

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    1. Oh, Rhi! A 6'4 teenage boy? I feel for you. I'm sure my brothers and I said we were bored when we were kids, but I think my mom's response was something along the lines of "find something to do or I'll find it for you." That was never good, because it usually involved cleaning. I think we found ways to entertain ourselves then. :)

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