April Vacation – Day One

Look around you and you’ll see a collective look of terror in the eyes of mothers across the country. Millions of mothers woke this morning (hopefully) prepared to enter battle. Like finely tuned machines, the organized mothers planned a week full of fun activities and the mothers with extra loot in the bank booked a vacation to a destination full of sunshine and beaches. Hell, I imagine that millions of children will even be visiting Mickey Mouse this April vacation. I am not one of those mothers.

April Vacation.

Here in Maine, it’s not entirely warm yet. The ground is slightly mucky and there are still a few random piles of granular snow clinging to the earth. The sun is warm, but that breeze is actually bone-chilling for my tiny little Kate. It’s true. She’s thrilled to be outside and stretching those little legs, but the minute the air begins gusting at the top of our hill, our tiny little toddler emits a howl that rivals the wind.



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We’ve been outside doing a bit of post-Apocalypse restructuring. No, I’m sorry, that’s not true. I’m completely exaggerating. We’ve been outside performing a bit of spring clean up. You know…the standard fare when it comes to yard work – raking, dog poo search and destroy missions and perennial inspections. I cleaned up the children’s garden a bit, did some pruning and raked the wood chips into some semblance of order. 

  

 As I dug down into the cold brown soil, Kate sauntered over and squatted down next to me. “Dirt, Mama?” she wondered.

“Yes,” I answered. “See these tiny green leaves?”

“Weaves, Mama?”

“Uh, huh, those are our flowers beginning to grow again.”

Her eyes lit up with excitement. “Fwowers, Mama?”

She leaned in and performed an exaggerated toddler snort near the dead stalks of last fall’s coneflower then smiled as if she had whiffed magically fragrant rose. I snapped the old, grey stems and handed them off, providing her with her own skeleton bouquet.

I dug down into the cold dark earth and found a rather sluggish earthworm. Kate was terrified. For her, that worm’s pathetically slow writhing on my palm was akin to the sighting of a giant and hairy man-eating tarantula. Oh, the shrieking that ensued!

What do to…what to do…?

Let me just say this – having added graduate school to the already tight family budget, we’re not able to hang out with Mickey Mouse. To be honest we’re not really even able to go out to lunch without feeling the pinch, but Kate doesn’t “do” worms.

I feel guilty.

They’re watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on television. They’re playing educational games on pbskids.com and Super Mario Kart on the Wii. I printed out some springtime craft ideas which led to their current coloring of sparrow and bee shaped paper airplanes. They are honing their fine motor skills with their crayons and safety scissors.

The other moms are taking their girls to Bibbiti Bobbiti Boutique.

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My little guy caught the cold that his sister had. He woke with a cough and an ear ache. We snuggled on the couch; we scheduled a game of Super Mario Kart for later so that I can take some time to do some required reading and writing.

I’m being selfish.

Our local library has events set up for vacation. Things like Robot Day and a wildlife rehabilitator will be visiting with his animals. We’re going to do those things. We’re going to spend time together and they’re going to like it. Mommy doesn’t do Disney.
 

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Mommie Dearest and the Summer Boredom Blues

joan

I’m having a day. I’ll be completely honest here and will probably offend someone in the process (or at least make you wonder if I should really be mothering three small children). But really, who hasn’t had one of those days where, by 3:00 p.m. every sound emanating from the general vicinity of your children makes you want to hop in the mini-van with a suitcase full of your favorite shoes, a pack of smokes and a copy of On The Road? Come on. Tell the truth. You’ve fantasized about a covert nap time escape, haven’t you? I have.


On many occasion, I’ve wondered exactly how stay-at-home moms can homeschool. You mean, you’re always with your kids? 365 days a year????!!!! 24 hours a day..7 days a week????!!! (What I’m saying in my head is, “Lady, you’re looney toons.”)


Can you tell that we’re on the downward swing of summer vacation and all of the fun “stuff” has started to lose it’s appeal? We’re almost at the new school year (28 days, 13 hours and 54 minutes to be exact). If that yellow bus doesn’t pull up soon I might just loose my mind. The most alarming part of this situation is the fact that the kids are only entering 1st grade and pre-school.


They’re bored. Boredom = problem behavior = mommy needs prescription meds.


Oh, the poor little things. They’re bored. Let’s bring them to Funtown/Splashtown, the beach, buy them a pool, go to Toys-R-Us, library, buy them a stinkin’ puppy, get them ice cream, go to the park, blah, blah, blahblahblaaaaaah.


What does a Mommy do when faced with such a challenge? Hmmmm..let me look for some ideas on the Internet! Oh look, here’s a blog entry titled “Bust Summertime Boredom”, I’m sure this nice lady will have some excellent pointers. Plus, it says that the ideas are also wallet friendly. Excellent!

 1. Family Dance Party.
Okay. I can do that..I’ll just turn up the stereo and get everyone to dance. “Look! Guys…look at Mommy. Hey! Let’s dance..guys…guys?”
Joe: “Mom, you look crazy. Can I have a treat?”
Gwen: “Can we go to the beach?”
At least Kate humored me with a wiggle.
 
2. Fort Building.
“Hey guys, wanna build a fort?
Joe: “YEAH! Hey Gwen, we’re going to build a fort!”
Gwen: unintelligible words followed by a delighted shriek.
Me: “BE QUIET THE BABY IS SLEEPING!!”  deep breath… “okay, now just go into the living room and use whatever cushions you need. Blankets too. Have fun!” Fast forward 2.5 minutes. A piercing scream comes from the family room. I enter to find that Joe has built a fort, turned on Transformers and banned Gwen from entry. The baby is crying because I yelled.



3. Family Cookbook.
Susan, the Blogging Wonder-Mommy, says that this is a great way to share your favorite cookbook with the children. Plus, all that measuring keeps their math skills fresh. She goes on to say that I should let my children pick the recipe they would like to try. Um, Susan? Won’t will also entail a trip to the grocery store? My favorite cookbook is Gourmet and the kid not glued to Transformers can barely count. I’d like to throw Gourmet at Susan.

4. Listening Game.
Susan, who is clearly doing a much better job at child rearing than I am, suggests lying down in the backyard to “listen”. What do we hear? Can you make that sound? This is what I heard:  “I hear a poo.” giggle. “Gwen, pull my finger.” Kate picked that moment to back up and plop her smelly bum on my head and Joe followed with, “Can we go to Funtown /Splashtown?”
 
5. I’m too bored with Susan to keep reading. I wonder what Susan would think about drawing on each other…
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