New beginnings, old habits

By Mir
August 3, 2009

School starts this week.

Let me say that again, for those of you who thought surely you heard (read) me wrong: School. STARTS. This. Week.

Thankfully, by the time we got back from camping we had just a few things we needed to take care of before then. Like unloading the camper. And laundry. And school supply shopping. And finding new bus schedules. And making sure everyone had shoes that fit. And regulation clothes to wear. And taking Chickadee for the next round of allergy testing (whole ‘nother story for another time, but it means three separate visits this week alone), and both kids have check-ups, and we have a team meeting at Monkey’s new school, orientation at Chickadee’s new school, and an ice cream social at Monkey’s school. Thank goodness those last three are all on the same day and nearly the same time.

The point is, there’s A LOT OF STUFF to pack into the time left. So naturally I allowed the children to invite friends to sleep over tonight.

I want to explain to you why I did it, but I have no explanation. I was not smoking crack. I was otherwise in my right mind. It just seemed like the thing to do. One of the downsides of that whole summer visitation thing with divorced parents is that the kids’ time with friends really gets cut short. And both children are starting to show recognizable signs of new-school jitters. And as much as I wanted to pull them into my lap and tell them that everything would be okay and have that be sufficient to make it so, I suspect that I am not what they needed, today.

They needed to have a night with a buddy, each of them, and have one more fling with summer.

The girls needed to come with me to the grocery store and debate the relative merits of various ice cream flavors, and then flick the frosty ice off the cartons at each other.

The boys needed to sequester themselves in Monkey’s room and dump Bakugan all over the floor.

They all needed to eat pizza on the deck, boys on one side of the table, girls on the other.

“Chickadee has to wear DEODORANT,” Monkey whispered loudly to TheZ. They tittered into their slices of pepperoni.

Chickadee scowled. “Well at least I wear it,” she sneered, “unlike you, Stinky.” Pixie burst into giggles and she and Chickie waved their slices of cheese around while trying to collect themselves.

“Children,” I said. “Just eat your dinner.” For a minute all was peaceful.

“Hey Monkey,” said Chickadee, “How about I tell your GIRLFRIEND about your STINKY PITS?” Pixie glanced at me to see if I would intervene. I decided to see how it would play out.

“I don’t have a girlfriend,” huffed Monkey.

“Probably because his pits stink,” Chickadee whispered to Pixie.

“MY MOM,” said Monkey, raising his voice to be heard over the girls’ giggles, “Calls Chickie FLIPPER because her feet are SO BIG. Like, as big as Mom’s!”

TheZ and Pixie both tried to muffle their giggles as Chickadee protested, “NUH-UH! My feet are still a half-size smaller than hers.”

“Yeah,” I agreed. “For about the next fifteen minutes.”

Foot comparing and general chaos ensued. It was eventually quelled with promises of ice cream. Because in the summer, that’s enough.

The girls stayed inside—Chickadee can’t swim this week while she has allergens taped all over her back—and did crafts for a while, and are now playing Wii and running around seeing how far they can get from the television before their wiimotes stop working. (This is, apparently, hilarious.)

The boys have been outside swimming with Otto for coming up on two hours. After the first hour, he said to me, “Should I get them out?” and I asked if they were happy, and he said they were. So I told him to leave them in the water. They’d promised me, after dinner, not to drown even though I wasn’t making them wait half an hour to go in. I figure they earned the right to turn themselves into prunes, if they’re still breathing out there.

In a little while I’ll round them all up and let them all have giant bowls of ice cream, and a little while after that I’ll start playing traffic cop, fruitlessly trying to get them to actually go to sleep.

And then they’ll be ready to take on their new schools, right? Because there’s very little that frozen dairy confection, bosom buddies, and tormenting your sibling can’t fix. I’m sure I read that somewhere.


  1. Otto

    I just hope you have enough vodka in the freezer for two …


  2. liz

    You are not helping my internal debate whether to have another baby.

  3. Deva

    We realized that our wiimotes work in OTHER ROOMS while playing at a friend’s house. Yeah, that made that golf game pretty interesting..

  4. Randi

    I can’t believe your school starts so early!! When does it end?! Our school doesn’t start until something like August 28th. Yeah, I’m so prompt I don’t even know what day my kids school starts! ACK! KIDS! BOTH will be in school now! So within a few years I’ll have the same kind of sleepover you’re having.

    Send some vodka up here, will you?

  5. StephLove

    I’m not surprised you’re starting up again. Didn’t you get out in February or something like that? We’ve got four more weeks here.

    It sounds like the kids had a great start to their sleepover.

  6. Jennifer

    You ARE a brave one Mrs. Mir! :)

  7. kate

    so wonderful to know that these are the happy memories your kids will have of their childhoods. good luck getting it all ready for school (seriously, SO EARLY!)

  8. rasah

    My DD likes to jog on Wii Sports. She puts the Wiimote in her pocket and runs up and down the stairs because she’s “bored”.

  9. Leanne

    Gadz, I had forgotten what back to school was like. Here, we are more than halfway through the year. And the Teen is in last year.

    I’m soooo looking forward to November/December.

    Then, I guess it’s a whole new ball game as my baby goes off savin China….

  10. Kemi

    My kids have learned that they can “run” by planting their (expanding) bottoms on the couch and waving their arms up and down frantically. Of course, the miis trip and fall, which the kids think is hilarious, and when they outrun their jog buddy, then they get to chase a dog, which they also find hilarious.

    Somehow, I don’t think the masterminds behind Wii Fit saw this as a possible “out” for lazy children. Thankfully, though, while mine are busy “running” they aren’t teasing each other… much.

    Good luck with the new school year! Ours starts in three weeks. (Ack!!!)

  11. Reagan

    Awesome mom!!

  12. Brigitte

    Thank goodness they’ve officially disproved the wait-a-half-hour-after-eating thing!

    Sounds like icecream may be needed EVERY night this week.

  13. Sara

    My kids start back to school next Wednesday. Teachers here(me included) have already started back. They (whoever the powers that be are) keep moving the start date up a day every year. Pretty soon we’ll be starting back before we’ve even finished the year! Whatever happened to August? No vacation for us in August. Waaaa…
    On the other hand, there’s always ice cream. It does cure a host of ailments. Mmmmmmmm….ice cream….

  14. Nicki

    We’ll have to compare the allergy testing results. Keenan is allergic to EVERYTHING outside. (Yes, even air.) I threatened to put him in a bubble. (Picture him running around outside in a giant hamster ball.)

    And, by the way, this is why I love reading you. We’re having the same growing pains with the visitation. Rachel has one friend she hasn’t seen all summer because they are on different schedules. I see a major sleepover in my future. Luckily, S is adapting. (Although he’s not quite Otto-tastic yet.)

  15. Megan

    Augh! I just realized this is the first year that back-to-school partying will involve only ONE CHILD. I’ll just be sniffling quietly in the back corner for a while now…

  16. Marla

    School starts for us on Aug. 10th. In the meantime, we already have a crazy schedule this week……daughter starts dance class today and son starts Upward Football practice Thurs. We’ll do the back to school shopping this weekend as it is Tax Free weekend.

    What happened to school starting around Labor day or after? I miss those days and wish my children could have experienced that as well.

    Good luck to Chickadee’s allergy testing…..I suspect I’ll have to do that in a few years for my son who apparently inherited my environmental allergies(trees, grass, weeds, etc.).

  17. Tracy

    You are just an awesome pair, you and Otto. I like the vodka suggestion and letting them swim until they turn to prunes is the best solution to getting them to bed early. Swimming wears you out and makes you very hungry. Doesn’t school start back earlier this year?

  18. Lucinda

    I love how you tuned into your kids’ needs you are. Their very pulse at times and recognizing that sometimes their needs can’t and shouldn’t be filled by you but by others. Very selfless and very beautiful.

  19. Kelly

    You are the best mom ever… :) Yeah for summer ice cream and teasing among siblings.

  20. Flea

    You keep your vodka in the freezer? Excuse me a minute, will ya?

  21. Katie in MA

    My oldest starts kindergarten in three weeks (if they will ever decide when to hold enrollment, that is). She is excited TO DEATH…at the moment. I’m waiting for the jitters to set in. Perhaps I should schedule a pre-emptive playdate and all will be well?

  22. Dawn

    You are indeed the most excellent of moms.

    I cannot begin to express my delight that my two have finished school. It’s quite indescribible, really.

  23. Nelson's Mama

    My girls started school LAST week…

  24. Scottsdale Girl

    OK Flea made me laugh.

    Also…thank you for not making them wait to swim. I can understand that theory if you are swimming a triathalon or you know the ENGLISH CHANNEL…at those times i would say its best to wait a while after a meal. But in the BACKYARD POOL? Sheesh. Yer a great momma!

  25. Debbi

    LOL, loved otto’s comment ;-) Best of luck with the new schools. Kids are more resilient than admit sometimes.

  26. Meredith

    We’ll be starting back this Friday (I know it’s crazy). My baby starts Pre-K this year. I’m starting to dream about what I’ll do (on the days I’m not working) while they are all at school. Of course my plans will have to wait a few days because the in-laws are coming Sunday night (for only a few days) and my presence will be required 24/7 (at least it will feel like it) for Pinochle.

    Can’t wait to hear about the allergy testing. My youngest pops up with a rash seems like all the time. We’ve done the basic allergy testing/blood work, which all came back fine.

  27. Chuck

    I don’t know if I ever mentioned this one before…when I was 5 and my sister was 14, she borrowed my tennis shoes one day. They fit her perfectly. I won’t tell you what size my feet are now but at least I finally grew into them.

  28. Karen

    I’m with Otto – Vodka!

  29. Colleen

    Up here in the Great White North MI we start back in just under 5 weeks. So I have a few more days before back to school shopping angst!

    You are one brave momma having both sleepovers on the same night.. :)

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