My attitude shifts when, after months of cold and darkness, the sun finally decides to hang out with us a little longer. Flowers join the party. Neighbors come out of hibernation. Birds serenade you as you roll out of bed in the morning. Ahh, summer.
We are getting our first experience of summer break for Maria who is in between Kindergarten and 1st Grade. Maria is going to school two days a week through Kids’ Club where she gets to hang out with friends and go swimming one day and on a field trip the other. Mario is only going to daycare two days a week (versus 5) so it is like a summer vacation for him, too. Our sitter, Megan, stays with them 4 days a week (one kid only two days a week and both the two other days). This is the end of our first week with Megan and with the new school schedule.
When I dropped Maria off on Monday morning, she clung to me like she had on her first day of daycare and Kindergarten. I introduced her to other girls but nothing helped. I read her a book and played a game with her when finally the teachers announced that the kids needed to line up to go outside. A tall girl, Elly, saw Maria having a hard time and said “I will play with you outside, Maria.” Maria looked up at her with a tiny smile. I reassured her that the day would be fun, and she slowly loosened her grip on my hand and let me depart without massively wailing at the door. Throughout my day, I got concerned about Maria’s clinginess and strong need to have me by her side. This is a constant struggle for me – I need to let them do more on their own so they won’t be so distressed when I leave. I guess there are worse things I could have done to her as a baby, like beat her or not change her diaper.
By the time I picked Maria up at 4 (yes, I left work early), she was in a great mood talking about how awesome the day had been. There is a higher being when you need one. My day had been ridiculously stressful so if she would have been wailing when I arrived, I would have called it quits at work and stayed home with her until she was 18. Luckily, for both of our sanities, that did not occur.
On our walk to swim lessons, she boasted about walking to and from the pool with her class. She also got to play with her favorite lifeguard and swim teacher, Nick. He made a train with all of the kids on his back. Pure heaven she tells me (embarrassingly and with a promise not to tell dad!). She went to Olentangy Indian Caverns on Tuesday on a real live bus (every once in a while I would look up from my work and think about her on that bus and pray that everything was ok – neurotic, I can be) and got to go on a tour and collect rocks (our favorite activity).
Mario was typical Mario at daycare drop-off. He complained about going to school, was grouchy as hell when we took him in (teachers coo over him and say hello and he sticks out his tongue or lifts up his chin and ignores them all); and got annoyed with his friends when he first saw them. nevertheless, by the time we picked him up, he was talking about how Ben did this and Sophia did that…. He showed us the books he read and the activities he did and raced us down the halls. Again, thank god for that welcome back.
The first day with Megan was trying for all. Maria had a meltdown because Megan asked her to read and asked her to clean her room. When asked to read, she did her Maria self-defense move and cried about being too tired and not feeling good. Megan picked up on it when she asked Maria to clean her room later and Maria had the exact same excuses after she had been playing just fine for an hour earlier. Megan is no dummy. Maria screamed and cried and basically went ballistic to the point that Megan texted me and told me she did not know what else to do. My face immediately lit up upon receiving the text and when I got home, Maria and I had a long talk. Since that day, she has been much better (then again, I don’t think Megan has asked her to clean her room again for fear of Maria’s wrath!). Mario adores staying at home. Megan is good for him because she is an athlete and he loves sports. They can shoot baskets, play Wii, and ride bikes.
In the summer, I try to get home at the latest around 5:30. We have been good lately about eating dinner at the house before we run out to the pool, the yogurt shop or Zach’s house. Once out of the house, it is like we are in a time warp. Every night I tell myself that I will get the kids home at a decent time so they can bathe and read books and watch a show and go to bed by 9 pm. That would give Jon and I at least an hour or two to relax. But, inevitably, I look down at my watch at the yogurt shop or the park and see that it is 9:15 and we are not even home (baths go to the wayside at that point – poor dirty kids). In the Winter, an hour feels like ten hours because it is cold and dark and wet outside. You are stuck in the house playing games or watching tv or staying warm. In the Summer, an hour feels like ten minutes it goes by so fast with all of the things you can do. Hit the park, head to the library for outdoor music, eat at the yogurt shop, visit friends’ houses.
The other night we hit Music on the Lawn for Conspiracy. Conspiracy is a kick-butt, jammin’ local band. Maria and Mario played around with some neighbor kids – Mario tackled people as soon as they approached him to dance. The typical Mario. However, I think I scolded him about 50% less than last time so we are making progress. They played a few Black Eyed Peas songs that my girlfriend and I embarrassed ourselves to as we pretended to know how to dance hip-hop. One day I will take lessons….
When we woke up the next morning, Mario and Mario and I acted like we were driving in a car (on Maria’s bed). Maria and Mario were my parents. I begged them to turn on the imaginary radio. Mario shouted “I know what you like daughter, Black Eyed Peas!” Maria chimed in right after Mario with “No way, hubby, she loves Michael Jackson more!” I can’t wait for next Tuesday – I think it is a band that does MJ songs – Beat It , Billie Jean, Human Nature. I will definitely ignore the time for that show.