Summer is in full swing! I know this because 1) it is hot and sticky outside and 2) I spend a fair amount of my life wondering why I don’t have more time now that school is out and DEAR GOD WHY AM I STILL PACKING LUNCHES??
So some things have changed, and others remain maddeningly the same.
In no particular order, here are some of the things our family now does:
Update the calendar in the kitchen. Remember how summer is relaxed and easier? HAHAHAHAAAAAAA nope. My school-year routine is to take down the calendar on the first of the month and fill it in, but now that both of my children have jobs with variables, we seem to be spending a lot more time filling things in and wondering when there is time to do various other things. Also I apparently need to make sure that my daughter sees every doctor in the world before she leaves for college, because it’s important to refill prescriptions/get new contact lenses/have a meningitis booster shot/get teeth cleaned/etc. before you move to a different planet. (Okay FINE, she’s going to be less than 2 hours away. Details.) Also let us not forget that now we have to record things like Chickie’s school breaks (never at the same time as Monkey/Otto’s school breaks, natch) as well as trying to coordinate her being available to come home for things like her brother’s Senior Night and such. Fun!
Fight over who gets to do laundry when. We used to have a system, man. It worked. There are only 4 of us, so it’s not like it should be complicated. But for some reason now everyone runs out of clean socks at the same time and starts bellowing about how THIS IS THE ONLY TIME I HAVE TO DO THIS (except me; I’m flexible, but the kids, not so much). Oddly enough—try to contain your shock—no one is interested in fighting over who gets the privilege of unloading the dishwasher. Weird.
Discuss the dogs’ various afflictions and/or torture them. Darling Duncan, otherwise known as Our Patron Saint Of Ear Cheese, gets a daily ear-scrubbing every morning, now, as he is back to growing all sorts of weird stuff in there and getting ear infections if we don’t tend to him regularly. Not to be outdone, at some point Licorice either got stung by something or harmed herself while romping around in the yard, and for a solid week had an infected nipple that was gnarly looking. (Think dog ownership is not for you? DON’T BE SILLY! Dogs are sweet and loving and produce ear cheese and oozing nipples. Who wouldn’t want that?) There was a brief shining moment where both dogs were healthy and somehow we managed to lock Licorice outside for almost an entire movie… during which we were perplexed by how Duncan kept running into my office and barking at the back door (we would pause the film, retrieve him, and resume). Worst doggie parents EVER.
Eat dinner in front of the television with a movie on like heathens. During the school year, I’m pretty strict on that whole “eating dinner together at the table” thing on most weeknights. Now everyone’s schedules are all over the place and plus, it’s summer, soooo… the path of least resistance is fine with me. Last night we all watched Bridge of Spies. The night before that, while Chickadee was at work, we watched Deadpool (Monkey’s pick), which I expected to just tolerate but actually loved. If you’re okay with violence/lewdness, it was really very funny. But, um, it’s also loud, and that may be how Licorice ended up outside for most of it.
Swear at insects. This one is mostly me. I got a bit of a late start on my garden this year, but don’t worry, the parasites were only too willing to make up for lost time. My tomatoes are slowly coming back from an impressive infestation of aphids and my bell pepper plants are still being gnawed on by some unseen culprit. (Fun fact: I was all set to buy ladybugs, this year, because I am weary of spray soapy water on my plants and/or scraping off aphids with alcohol-soaked Q-tips, but then I read something about how harvested ladybugs can bring disease to other bugs in the area and I got all guilty and decided not to buy bugs. So I’m developing carpal tunnel from spraying soapy water. I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY.)
Try to sort of kind of start packing up dorm stuff. Most of what Chickadee needs for her dorm is already purchased because I am mentally ill and I am not so much an “early preparer” as a “certified crazy person.” I have either a very small walk-in closet or a very large normal closet, depending on your point of view, and all of my shelves and most of the floor space are currently occupied with bedding/towels/other assorted room necessities as they were acquired. (AND—surprise!!—I am already started to accumulate Monkey’s stuff. It’s getting crowded.) In an effort to start actually consolidating these items in some sort of logical, packable way, I am now slowly filling the bathtub in my bathroom with piles of items and various boxes, because it’s getting them out of my closet. It might make more sense for this stuff to live in my daughter’s bedroom, but there is no extra room in there. (Now you think her room is too small. Her room is huge, she’s just a slob. Whomp whomp.)
Force my son to drive, much in the same way you force a cat into a full bathtub. In fairness, Monkey doesn’t splay his arms and legs and balance in the doorway, but his attitude while driving often makes me wonder if we’re truly locating that line between “encouraging him to overcome his anxiety in the pursuit of this important life skill” and “torturing my child because we’re heartless.” Monkey is a fine driver. And Monkey has—grudgingly, to be sure—agreed to learn to drive this summer. But it just seems to PAIN him so, every time. I keep assuring him that eventually it will feel easier and less stressful, but… we’re not there, yet.
Try, and fail, to plan things. We are currently missing the Big Extended Family Trip which was planned forever in advance because first Monkey couldn’t go and then Otto couldn’t go and then Chickadee couldn’t go and then I wasn’t sure it made any sense for me to go without any of them, logistics of managing my absence aside. We’re all bummed about it BUT AT LEAST it’s looking like we’re going to miss a bunch of other stuff this summer due to conflicting schedules and poor planning, too! Chickie likes to scroll through her Instagram and tell me all about which friends are in Europe and such, celebrating graduation and having a fun family trip before they leave for college. “Too bad your family sucks,” I tell her. She agrees, then leaves for work.
Sit around at night and say, “I didn’t get anything done today.” I don’t know how a day can be so busy and yet feel so futile, and yet, here we are. I can usually make this feeling go away with a judicious application of popcorn or ice cream, though.
I am okay with forgoing socks for the summer if that helps.
You’re swell. ;)
Just saying I really love Otto :)
He is pretty much the best.
Every now and then during the school year I think of something I’ll do when it’s summer and I have time and then I realize that as a work-at-home mom I have LESS time in the summer and this has been true for many years. It’s hard to let go of that summer-is-relaxing association. For me summer means trying to work while the kids are home OR trying to remember what camps they’re at this week and what their hours are and how one gets there.
My daughter taught me you can’t force someone to learn to drive. She FINALLY got her license two weeks after she graduated from college, days before she started her summer job, nannying, where she had to drive 4 children around to their various activities. Wouldn’t have worked for me, but her employers were fine with it.
I have another 15, soon to be 16 year old, and I’m hoping I’m up to doing it all again. So far, he’s not showing the enthusiasm I was hoping for.
The laundry drama will be excellent practice for dorm life. Hunger Games style warfare. If they have sign-up sheets for time slots, those will be disregarded. You will stare at the damp pile of clothes that has been sitting in the washer for the past hour and wonder, “Dare I move it?”
Plus, if you put it into her room now, it will not be “new” by the time she goes to school. If it’s in sight, it’s available. Out of sight is safest.