Ahhhh, Summer. Isn’t it great? Sunshine and warm weather for dayyyyysss. Daylight until 10pm. As a parent of littles, these are some of the times and extra special memories (we hope) they’ll treasure forever.
PLOT TWIST! Summer parenting ain’t easy.
My three littles got out of school a month ago. They don’t go back for another six weeks. And it’s not like they’re bored. Together, their dad and I orchestrated an intricate 12-week summer break – they’re with him a couple days each week, at an in-home daycare or summer camps the other days and weekends are jam-packed with family fun.
But right now, we’re on the damn struggle bus. Like, chaotic, beep beep, save-me-now struggle bus.
The Birthday Surprise
Per the schedule, Justin had the kids the first part of last week. His 40th birthday was Wednesday. Late Tuesday he texted me: One of the kids poured water in my U-Verse box, my ADT box and my WiFi box.
At this stage in the game, it could have been any one of them.
The 7-year-old likes to take things apart and see how they work. Literally, his favorite TV show is How it’s Made. I can envision him pouring water into an electronic device juuuuuust to see what might happen.
The 6-year-old is sweet but clumsy AF. I can see him carrying a cup, tripping over his own feet and accidentally sloshing water somewhere it definitely didn’t belong.
The 4-year-old is hell on wheels. She doesn’t give a shit about consequences and tells us “No” as if it’s a viable option when asked to clean her room or get dressed for the day. Glad to see she inherited some of my best traits.
The next morning, everyone spent some time in Daddy Interrogation.
Then the culprit came forward with the most hilarious confession I've ever heard.
That's an expensive birthday!
It was super cute last summer when I woke up at 5 or 6 in the morning to find Lyla asleep on the couch with the TV blaring – old man style. She was obviously waking up in the middle of the night and turning on Disney Junior.
But that “phase” didn’t go away.
Twelve months later, she continues to struggle with going to bed and staying asleep at night. When we’ve tried cutting naps, she either begs to take one or falls asleep anyway because of her nocturnal partying. When we nap her longer than 45 minutes, she’s literally up until 10:30 at night and dead tired again the next day.
We can’t win.
And a sleep deprived 4-year-old is like a rabid raccoon. Irrational. Emotional. Hangry. Aggressive. Sick. She’s had fevers or a cold at least twice a month since January. We’ve done lab work and been to our doc several times only to be told it’s another virus that needs to run its course.
My colleagues have to be rolling their eyes in disbelief when I say I have to leave work for a “sick kid” AGAIN.
I just want my child to sleep. So I’ve turned to motivational bribery. I told her if she stays in bed every night through the end of the month, I’ll sign her up for dance class.
So far… it’s not working.
Here’s a 90-minute snapshot of the day after the Fourth of July.
“Mommy! Sawyer called me an asshole!” Hudson exclaimed, as he raced down the stairs and into the kitchen where I was making dinner.
“What happened?” I calmly asked.
“He called me a dummy!” Sawyer screamed from the top of the stairs.
Cue me with a straight face, trying not to laugh. Or smile.
I played referee then made them hug it out and eat. To further diffuse the situation, I suggested everyone jump in the bathtub with some new spray foam soap stuff. It worked.
Thank you, Jesus.
But as I got Lyla out and dried her off, I spotted something odd at the bottom of the toilet. Yep, someone tossed my earrings in the loo. I plunged my hand into the water and grabbed them, thankful they hadn’t been flushed.
From there, two kiddos put on jammies, Sawyer pimped out in a bathrobe and we watched a movie together on the couch. Halfway through his popcorn, Sawyer shouted, “Mommy! My tooth!”
Hugh Hefner lost his second tooth eating popcorn. This was definitely worth a celebration, considering he swallowed his first tooth with a chicken nugget earlier this year.
You guys, these kids don’t slow down! And they’re together 24/7. I can appreciate why they think the other kid is an asshole. But also – where in the hell did they learn that word and how to use it in context?
I also understand the holiday crazy – up until midnight for fireworks and then fun at the zoo and pool the next day. But it’s not like we’re ignoring the kids and demanding they fend for themselves. We also try to balance in some playing without constant mommy/daddy interaction… which leads to water in the electronics and other incidents like the baby powder I found all over my nightstand and in my bed last week.
Earlier this summer, I came home from the gym to a sweet as can be babysitter who took a deep breath and told me the kids, "just weren't great' for her. Damn. If a babysitter is saying your kids were bad, that means they were HORRIBLE.
In the midst of the summer crazy, I’ve also noticed seemingly sudden (and small) signs of maturity in my kids
Hudson prefers to read by himself at night, in his own bed, as opposed to reading in my bed with his little brother and sister.
All three of them love to help with small chores around the house such as folding laundry, taking out the trash, watering flowers and emptying the dishwasher.
Also, they’re suddenly obsessed with money… transferring their birthday stashes back and forth between my house and their dad’s in zip lock baggies. I busted Sawyer carrying a wad of his own cash into Wal-Mart last week, on the off chance he could buy something for himself. He also insisted on paying his own admission to the public pool last weekend, because it was “only two dollars.” Plus, they’ve asked how much I paid for my house and out-of-the-blue volunteered how much daddy paid for his new boat. Oops.
The boys can write now and are into making lists of what they want to do – it’s freaking adorable.
And there’s something about Lyla’s sweet confession that helps remind me about the importance of my job as her mom. It’s not my job to judge my kids or scream at them or constantly ride their asses about whatever chore they haven’t done, even though I've asked eight million times. But it is my responsibility to hold them accountable and teach them right from wrong. It is my job to love them fiercely. It is my privilege to help them grow into compassionate, loving humans.. ESPECIALLY when they behave like rabid raccoons.
Also, send vodka. I need it.
I'm a mom to 3 beautiful, spirited, elementary school-aged humans, I'm addicted to running + strength training, I have no filter & I work full time in the corporate world. But behind the scenes of all that is where it really gets interesting...