I envisioned my kids' lives to be like mine was. Times have changed though. Parenting has changed. I'm lucky because when it comes right down to it, my kids are capable of entertaining themselves, but they don't like to. I always have activities planned, crafts to do, lessons to learn. Then there is that pressure for outside activities. A friend of mine and I just had to make the decision about ballet for our girls. I opted out first. I just couldn't make that commitment at age 3. Committing to ten months of dance at age 3 seems over the top to me, especially for Sunshine. She loves EVERYTHING she does, so I don't doubt she'd love it, but she wouldn't get to do anything else. That she doesn't love. She wants to do it all. Already at the age of 3, she's in swimming and soccer. She would have been in T-ball, but Husband and I couldn't handle two late nights of games with T-ball and baseball. In the fall, she has school 3 days a week, swimming 2 days a week, soccer on Saturdays, Sunday school, and playgroup. That literally leaves one day of the week where she has "nothing" to do. Looking at it, it is completely insane! Then there's all Monster's stuff. He wants to swim, so I'm lucky that way since he can only do lessons on Saturdays because of his level. But, he's got to come with me for swim lessons for Sunshine. That means three days of swimming for him because he will get in and play/practice. Then there's handwriting therapy. That schedule hasn't been worked out yet. This is taking the place of art class, so that's kind of an even exchange. This summer though, we learned that Monster likes and excels in activities that are non-competitive, yet team oriented, so we're going to put him in Cub Scouts.
I feel like all of a sudden, Monster is starting full day school and he never had time to just be a kid. I know that's not true, but it feels that way. I always envision how days are going to go and very rarely do they go the way I plan. Yesterday was prime example. Started out normal. Kids had breakfast and played for a while. Then, they both got in trouble. Funny thing about this is that when they get in trouble, they both stick together and comfort one another. Sunshine went into Monster's room and he read her stories. Then, they both sat in his room reading books for 30 minutes! They were perfect! They probably would have done it longer, but we needed to start our whirlwind day. I needed to go to the jeweller's to get my rings cleaned. They actually love going there because there is a very cool play area. After that, we went to two "health food" stores. Now that's a big deal because our small town doesn't have any natural/organic/health food stores, so we have to drive to the "big" city to get it. My kids love it. Problem is, when I take the kids, they find all sorts of things they want to eat. Since it's all natural, local, and organic, I always give in. "Can we get that granola, please?" How often to most parents hear that? Or, "I'd really like the artichoke hummus." Then there's the best, "Can we get the green juice?" So my grocery bills are huge, but my heart is happy knowing my kids are making healthy choices. After that, the plan was to meet friends for lunch at First Watch. I've been to a First Watch once before and it's awesome. Again, my kids made awesome, healthy choices in what to eat. So far, the day has been perfect. When we left is where I made a bad judgement call and it all went downhill.
I pushed just a little too far with things to do. When we left, it was after 1:30. The drive home is 20-30 minutes. I didn't want to put Sunshine down for a nap that late, so I made the decision to forgo naptime. Sunshine was thrilled with that decision. I told them that I had stuff I had to do so we were going to just get it all done. We came home so I could put the groceries away. They didn't even get out of the car. Then we headed to Target. I knew this was going to be a big trip because I was loading up on school snacks. Here's where I made another bad choice. Since they had made such good, healthy decisions, I let them each pick out a box of fruit snacks (which we all know really have no fruit, they're just sugar). Sunshine picked out Brave and Monster picked out Cars. No problem, until Monster wanted to read the Brave box. From there it was screaming and uncontrollable crying by an overly tired Sunshine. I just needed to get through the rest of Target though, so we trudged on. The longer we were in there, the worse it got. Monster was so bored after being on the go all morning, he actually sat down in an aisle and pouted when I wouldn't let him look at Legos. This is not my child. Sunshine, yes. Monster, no. We finally made it out of there. I decided to try to turn things around and "reward" them for such an awesome morning. I pulled into the local grocery store, which sells ice cream for 75 cents a scoop (OK, really, I just wanted ice cream, but rewarding the kids sounds so much better). The whining and complaining the moment we turned into the parking lot almost made me pull right back out. "I thought we were going home." "Why can't we just go home and play?" I told them to trust me. The grumbling continued, but, I wanted ice cream and I wanted to prove a point that, sometimes, they just need to trust I'm going to do something fun that they'll be happy with. They were pretty happy we got ice cream. By the time we got home, it was 4:45. They had literally been gone all day. They were tired and crabby. I was tired and crabby. Then I realized, this is what we do almost every day. It's non-stop from morning to night. The activities are different, more "kid-friendly", but when you get down to it, it's still a lot of stuff. We are all tired and just need time to veg. Problem is that we have a full schedule until school starts. It's my fault. I want to cram everything in. I've got way too much nervous energy. I hope I learn from this summer and apply what I've learned to the school year and then again next summer to capture summers from my childhood. The change needs to start with me.