It’s Day 28 of captivity, also known as summer vacation. The kids have once again imprisoned me through their ability to stay awake later than me at night and yet still have the energy to pester me first thing in the morning.
Frankly, I’m exhausted.
Between trying to stay up later than the kids, the increased time spent chauffeuring children all around the tri-county area, and the relentless July heat, I’ve decided to scale back some of my activities for the summer.
For example, I’m only going to let the cat and dog outside a maximum of 19 times per day. The 47 times that they’re demanding now is simply too much. I fail to understand how being outside could be so gosh-darned appealing five minutes ago and yet pure torture, as evidenced by the cat’s pitiful howls and the dog’s incessant scratching, five minutes later.
I’m also giving up the need to control the entertainment and enrichment activities for these kids. They want to sleep all day? Fine. The way I see it, they’ll be consuming less food if they do (a win for the budget!) Play video games? No problem. At least they’re reading something.
The way I see it, on this July day with a heat index of a gazillion-and-12, if they manage to avoid incarceration and are all still breathing at the end of the day, I’ve done my job.
Of course, I can’t leave them on their own for everything. Showering is a prime example and one that is non-negotiable. There’s enough boy-stink in this house at any given time that we certainly don’t need the added aroma of a gamey twelve year old thrown into the mix.
I’m also determined to teach them, once and for all, how to close a door as it doesn’t appear that they’ve learned this particular skill. It can be 14 degrees outside in the winter and they will leave the door open. 98 degrees with the air conditioner running? They will still leave the door wide open. Our electric company loves them so much that it recently sent them a fruit basket. OK, I might have exaggerated about that last part, but I do imagine the electric company beginning every board of directors meeting with the words, “Profits are up once again this quarter, thanks to those energy-wasting Kern boys.”
Hanging up a towel is another life skill they have yet to master so we’ll work on that. The kids can practice hanging freshly washed towels on the clothesline. They’ll learn how to stop driving their mother so crazy by leaving wet towels on the floor and the laundry will get done by someone other than me. Yes!
Of course, we’ll still make time for some fun. There are some things about summer that you need to have kids around in order to fully experience. No, I’m not talking about overripe socks either.
It’s summer evenings.
Who knows the pure joy of catching fireflies on a summer night better than a kid? As the fireflies rise from the grass at the first hint of darkness, it takes a kid to appreciate the sheer magic of thousands of tiny lights rising toward the sky.
You also need kids for squirt gun fights. They just aren’t as fun with the folks from the office or your crotchety neighbor. While I’ll admit that squirting crotchety neighbors is infinitely more satisfying, it’s usually frowned upon in polite society. You can always get your revenge once you need to unload that yearly overabundance of zucchini. That’ll learn ’em. Zucchini is the ultimate teacher.
Rain storms aren’t nearly as fun without a kid or two jumping in the puddles with you. The bonus for you is that their feet get clean at the same time.
And a kid won’t remind you of how much sugar and calories are in that ice cream sundae you’re sharing. Kids are all about those pure, guilt-free moments and are just happy to share them with you, lecture-free.
In fact, I think that to truly experience summer, you NEED to have some kids around.
So what time should I drop mine off?