Every summer I tell myself that I am going to hire a sitter who will come up with a huge game plan for the kids during the summer. I interview college kids and tell them my expectations. They all respond with positive affirmations like “that sounds wonderful “or “I love that idea “or “I have done that in the past and it works well”. But then the summer begins and the new sitter comes over and nothing falls into place in the way I expected it to weeks before.
This year, both kids fell in love with the same sitter. In the past, they have had to bargain together because one of them liked one sitter and the other liked another sitter. They would go back-and-forth on the benefits and detriments of both of their choices and eventually land on one for the summer (typically Maria’s choose with some bribery on her part).. So this year, I was excited that they both selected the same girl. She seemed very nice and grounded during our telephone interview, and she seemed upbeat and chill when she came over to the house. She studied Chinese and finance in college, and was getting ready for a full-time job starting in September. Her references stated that she was one of the nicest people they had met. The only issue they had with her is that she was “too nice.” Their kids loved her because she would let them do anything they wanted. So there lies my dilemma. This would probably be the last year that we have a full-time summer sitter. Jon and I had been seriously contemplating letting the kids be on their own next summer and just putting them in numerous camps, etc. So as much as I dreamed of a sitter who would have detailed plans for the week and get them to do 2 hours of homework a day, I also dreamed of a sitter that would have fun with the kids and who both kids enjoyed. Hence, why I decided to go with the girl both kids liked.
And so far, it has gone well with our current sitter this summer, as far as the kids and her getting along. However, I have gone a bit nuts through this summer with the lack of itinerary planned for the kids. The sitter quite enjoys watching TV with the kids and caves as soon as they start begging for anything. The upside is that if I tell her certain things must be done, then she will get them done. But that means that I have to spend time in the evening or in the morning writing down all of the things I want done. This would not seem to be a huge task but when I’m dealing with work, cleaning the house, tending to the kids and to the hubby, walking the dog, working out, that one more thing may just put me over the edge.
I had dreams of the kids waking up in the morning and taking a walk with the dog, coming home and doing some workbook pages, engaging in a cool project together, hitting the pool, coming back to a siesta and reading their books for an hour, putting a book report together of what they read, starting a nonprofit to help needy children in the world, learning Spanish fluently…. ok, a bit much but a mom can dream.
A few weeks ago, I about lost my mind over what the kids were doing (actually not doing) through the day. I called the house and heard the TV in the background. I asked my sitter how long they had been watching it. She responded that they had only watched a few shows. Only watched a few shows, I thought?! Are you kidding me? It is 80° outside and sunny and they are in there watching tv shows for hours on end? I came home that night, ignored the dishes and clutter, and wrote down a list of things the kids needed to do the next morning – dust, water the flowers, do workbook pages, read…. The next day those things were done, and I was happy. The following day I had no time to write anything down but I was still happy from the previous day’s accomplishments. Who knows what the kids did throughout the day. I began to fret about it but then I thought about my summers. I don’t recall my parents worrying about the amount of reading I was doing or buying me any workbooks during the summer. Rather, I recall watching Famoly Feud and Three’s Company and Family Ties. I recall jumping on my bike and trying to find a friend to play with in the morning. I recall walking down to the carry out to get snacks with my girlfriend. I recall arranging and rearranging my stuffed animals in my bedroom. One thing I don’t recall – learning multiplication or reading 300 page novel. And now look at me. I’m not a Nobel laureate but I turned out ok. My kids will do the same.
And since I’ve let go of my angst and worry about summer activities for the kids, I am able to appreciate all they’ve done.
1. Created their own lunches and made videos of the preparation.
2. Thought about activities they could do to earn money (babysitting, dog-walking and dog-sitting).
3. Started a backpack drive to get backpacks for kids in need.
4. Went to play practice Tuesday through Thursday each week.
6. Watered the flowers.
7. Completed workbook pages.
8. Read their books.
9. Started reading a book with me in the evenings (The Giver).
10. Babysat their cousin.
12. Played with friends.
13. Swam and dove at the pool.
14. Visited the pet shelter and gave kittens love.
15. Coached a K-6 soccer camp with high school girls (Maria).
16. Got tutored (Maria).
17. Played in a basketball league (Mario).
18. Completed swim team (Maria).
19. Played in GBSA baseball and fast-pitch softball.
20. Went to basketball and football camp (Mario).
21. Went to Akita camp.
23. Watched a deer play with Rocco.
24. Learned how to fake fight each other.
25. Played Clue and Monopoly.
26. Hit a neighbor’s pool party and Ri baked a killer 4th of July cake.
27. Watched fireworks in the car.
29. Biked to Tim Horton’s for donuts.
31. Went to a church festival.
33. Fell in love with Jake Paul (Mario).
34. Enjoyed Jeni’s.
35. Visited The Wilds and became mesmerized with an ostrich.
36. Visited my work and played at the Barnes & Noble.
37. Visited the Boathouse in Marietta on the River and ate ribs and pulled pork.
38. Ate at Skyline (one too many times)!
39. Rocked some heels at Robert’s lakeside wedding.
40. Learmed how to play Balckjack (his counselors taught him at camp)!
41. Hit The Beach water park and braved the slides and zip line with Ri.
42. Partied together at Lia’s wedding.
43. Ate s’mores and held baby chicks at the farm.
44. Made family meals together and ate on the patio.
45. Held family meetings to discuss the week ahead.
Not bad, and we still have a month to go. The kids are hoping we can add Kings Island to our list; I’m hoping we can add two more completed books:).