Friday, June 24, 2011

448. Postcard From The Trenches

I have survived the first week. Barely.

My children were released from their eight-hour daily commitment of Project Mommy Sanity (a.k.a. “school”) exactly seven days, five hours, and 38 minutes ago (but who’s counting?). They've been given time off for “good” behavior—which some (myself included) may dispute. In any case, they will be under my full-time tutelage for the next 76 days, and I am already out of ideas as to how to fill that time.

As per a dear friend’s suggestion, I wrote down a list of fun activities that would easily get us through the entire summer. I went to a local art supply store and bought glitter pens, paint, wood picture frames, canvases, paint brushes, stamps, paper, models of the Eiffel Tower, clay, and dozens of other expensive art-type things I am forgetting right now. My inner Martha Stewart was quite pleased with all the paraphernalia, and I knew that my sons and I would create beautiful glittery memories to last a lifetime, or at least make decent birthday gifts for the grandparents.

Wrong. We carved, we stamped, we painted, we rolled, and we zoomed through 76 days worth of art supplies in half an hour when both kids simultaneously lost interest. As a special bonus, our formerly pristine dining room now resembles news footage after an especially devastating tornado.

That’s okay, there’s always the pool. I had the idyllic vision that we could go to the pool quite a bit to soak up some sun and learn how to not drown. Every day we wanted to go, it rained. Yesterday, we went anyway. I figured rain is wet, the pool’s wet, what’s the difference? I learned it’s not much fun to play with your kids in the pool when one is clinging onto you for dear life while the other one is yelling, “I’m getting wet! I want to go home! Did you bring money for ice-cream?”

We set up multiple playdates. Playdates seem like a great idea when they are staring at you from your email inbox, “Playdate for Short and Dylan on Tue?” but in reality playdates mean you have to clean your house so the guest mom won’t think you’re a total unsanitary loser with no hygienic standards whatsoever. You must clean-clean-clean, and when you run out of time to clean, you must shove anything left over into the (now bulging) hall closet.  Then, when the guest mom makes an offhand comment about how clean your house always is, you must laugh self-deprecatingly and pretend like it's true. 

We went to the movies. Again, great in theory, but in reality only two quick hours that cost $83 in entrance tickets and stale, overpriced popcorn. Another perk of going to the movies is the previews, that special time when your kids will see every other kid movie coming up in the next year so that they can now pester you nonstop to take them to those movies too. Let’s see, that’s $83 multiplied by 20 new movies ….

The library seemed like a safe bet. Wrong again. We chose three heavy bags full of books (approximately one million books per child) only to have my speed-reader child gobble up all the words in just one day. Sigh. Looks like we’re destined to go back to the library again tomorrow.

Television. Always my last resort anyway, I stupidly sabotaged myself on the very first day of summer break by establishing “MOV’s New TV Rules,” the main rule being that they can only watch a total of one hour of TV per day, which can be all at once or broken up into half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the afternoon. Sure, their brains are not turning to mush now from overexposure to the 95th re-run of “Penguins of Madagascar,” but my children bicker when they are not engaged in an activity. I am adjusting to lots of bickering.

Going out to lunch at a nice restaurant. Okay, admittedly, this excursion was my idea and the kids were not even asked for their opinion on which restaurant. It only cost $48 and made me very, very happy. I didn’t even hear the kids bicker once, mostly because they were still at Dylan’s house and I was by myself.

(“Momentarily On Vacation”)


  1. I admit my son is 30, but don't still have the education TV? My son adored Martha Stewart. And the guy with the sweater was required like summer reading. Then we had cleaning, washing and ironing lessons as this was required in case you did not marry a woman who knew how to do these things.

    My favorite was 8D lessons. I borrowed it from my job. When something goes wrong, like reading all your books in one day, but more likely you broke your brothers favorite whatever, you have to write a report on why this happened and how you are going to fix it. There is a form on the Internet. Then you put the report on the fridge. Then when it happens again they have c to rewrite the report. They use the same format in business to keep engineers and project managers busy.

    Looking back I was blessed by affordable daycare and my parents were besotted and lived close to us. Otherwise I would have lost my mind.

  2. Educational TV is a slippery slope, my friend. One minute, you're watching a documentary on penguins surrounded by ice, and the next you're watching the mating habits of polar bears while your two young sons are gawking at the screen saying, "What are they DOING, Mommy?!?"



When you write a comment, it makes me feel like I won the lottery or at the very least like I ate an ice-cream sundae. (This has nothing to do with the fact that I did just eat an ice-cream sundae.)