A wise man once said:
Turn out the lights,
the party’s over.
They say that all
good things must end.
So here we are, already at the end of summer break even though it feels like the party just began. I use the term “party” loosely since I spent most of my summer days refereeing pint-sized UFC fights. Still, in between applying Band-Aids to wounds, freeing children from trees, and sending kids to their rooms so I could take a time out there were some sweet moments of summer relaxation that I’ll miss. No more rolling out of bed at our leisure. Bye-bye sugar-laced cereal for breakfast (at 10 am) almost everyday. Adios to no restrictions on electronics of any sort. It’s time to reacquaint ourselves with bedtime routines, proper hygiene, regularly scheduled haircuts, and, worst of all, reading.
This week, I’ve put the smack down on all of it and, let me tell ya, it’s been a real treat. My theory is to get them in the groove now so next week when school actually starts it will be much easier for all of us, but the more I think about it the more I wonder if this is really benefitting any of us. Am I needlessly jump-starting the school schedule torture a week early? Maybe next year I’ll do an experiment and start school cold turkey to see if there really is any difference, but since I’ve already begun trying to catch them up on 3 months of brain drain, I’ll stick out the math worksheets and mandatory reading times for a few more days.
Even though the kids weren’t reading each night nor practicing their math facts
daily weekly ever, they did learn a few new things this summer that I consider invaluable. They acquired knowledge that they’ll use their entire lives and learned lessons that’ll help them through difficult times, making me think that maybe slacking off all summer was actually good thing. After all, doing math flash cards would have seriously cut into our life skills learning time. Maybe I’m just desperately trying to make myself feel a little better about my laissez-faire attitude the past three months. But at least they learned something, right?
No more stopping as we walk out the door to tie sneakers–the 6-year-old can tie his own shoes! Oh happy day! Knowing that, from this point forward, I am only responsible for tying MY shoes is such a liberating feeling. Anyone with kids can relate.
No more complaining that his favorite shorts are dirty–the 9-year-old learned how to do laundry! I taught him the basics—you’re always pretty safe if you wash lights and darks separately in cold water. That’s basically all the laundry knowledge I have to pass on anyway. So far so good.
No more trying to figure out how to break the ice at a party–the 7-year-old learned a couple of card tricks and how to draw some cartoons! So this may not be considered a milestone in the traditional sense, but I can see him using these unorthodox skills in some way when he’s older.
No more fear of being stung by a jellyfish–they were all three stung (a lot) while surfing for the first time! Actually, they’re all still pretty fearful of getting stung by a jellyfish, especially since now they know just how much it can hurt. But the fact that they kept going back in the water after the initial pain subsided impressed me more than the fact that they were all able to get up on the surfboard. Firsthand lesson in persistence–priceless.
They also had a couple of other memorable experiences this summer like taking their first yoga classes, going for a horseback ride, watching a movie at a drive-in for the first time, and catching a shark in the Gulf.
All in all, it was really a good summer filled with new experiences and an obscene amount of ice cream consumption. But, as Willie says, all good things must end. It’s time to get the school year party started. Ready or not.