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.