Thursday, May 10, 2007

Summertime Nears

I've been having some interesting conversations with some other friends who either have very young children, or very typical children. The complaint of the day appears to be Summer. School is out. What to do with the bairns? Ah, the stress of having to spend time with your little ones, while the days are warm and the sun is up early and to bed late.

From what I have gathered, the typical summer day for "normal" kids goes kind of like this:

Rise: Somewhere in the region of 9 am. If the kids are early risers, then they get up earlier, or know to play quietly until Mom gets out of bed. The 6:30-7 am rise for a school day is clearly relaxed. For preschoolers, the 8 am rise is relaxed to 9.

Breakfast. Most of the mom I know actually cook breakfast, or at least do more than tell their kids to get their own cereal. However, I understand that this may actually be unusual. At any rate, breakfast is served.

Hanging out. Perhaps they will go to the park today. Maybe a ride somewhere. Perhaps there's a special event in town. A trip to Grandma's is always good for an outing. If all else fails, that's what the TV and DVD player are for, or that video game console. '

Lunch. This apparenly can happen anywhere from 11 am to 1 pm, depending on when your bairns rise in the first place. Buy stock in peanut butter, jelly, and chips. Apple orchards are a good bet, too.

Hanging out. Going to the pool is a popular afternoon activity, as Mom gets a chance to chat with other moms while the little ones get cool and wet. Rainy afternoons- well, that's what that TV and DVD player or video game console are for.

Snack. Sometime during the afternoon, the hanging out is disturbed for consumption of sugary and/or salty comestibles, washed down by juice. (Yes, I know many of my readers will be offering actual healthy snacks to their kids. Most of my friends with normal kids don't read this blog.)

More hanging out. If one cannot remain at the pool until dinner, another activity is usually offered, involving the TV and DVD player, or the game console. (I think some of these people need to get that "no electronics until after 5" rule and get some creativity going for engaging these kids.)

Dinner. Mac and cheese, hotdogs, maybe something from the grill. Buy stock in Oscar Meyer. It's going to be BIG. Dinner being consumed somewhere between 6 and 8 pm, with no regularity to when exactly- eat when the mood hits you and the grill is warm enough.

More hanging out. TV and DVD or game console again. No surprise there.

Bedtime. This begins sometime when the kids feel sleepy, anywhere from 9 to 11 pm. Bath, stories, songs, tucked in, and off to dreamland, until tomorrow...

6 am: drop child at daycare.
6pm: pick up child from daycare.

Take, for contrast, what my summer is going to look like:

Rise: Between 7 and 8 am. No later than 8 am, but I would like to sleep in that long. Dressing ritual commences.
Breakfast: Eaten by 8:30 am.
9 am: OT camp for Joey. This will bein town, so about 10 minutes in the car. Take activities to entertain Andy while waiting for Joey.
10 am- consult with the OT.
10:30-11:30- playground. If it is raining, basement activities: blocks, trains, coloring, painting, something of that sort.
11:45- make lunch. Lunch must be ready by 12 noon. Lunch must be consumed by 12:30, because we have to be in the car promptly at 12:30.
12:30- drive to Speech camp.
1-2:15 Speech Camp for Joey. Activities packed for Andy.
2:15- consult with the speech therapist.
Tuesdays: More speech, 2:45-3:30pm.
Wednesdays: OT 4-5 pm.
Thursdays: OT 3-4 pm. Drum lesson, 5-5:30 pm.
Yet to be Scheduled: OT for Andy and Speech for Andy, once per week each. OT might be 11 am on Mondays, eliminating morning playground on Mondays.
1/2 drive back home.

Also yet to be scheduled: ABA sessions, probably 3 hours per week, to teach safety and communication.

Any spare time in the afternoon will be spent in the back yard or the basement, depending on weather and scheduling of presently unscheduled activities.

Dinner: Promptly at 6 pm.
6pm-7pm: Wind down. Yes, I will probably get out the TV and DVD player, or have them play games from Noggin and Sesame Street.

7 pm- bedtime. Bath, story, song together. story and song each seperate. Lights out. Joey will play in his window until the light fades. Andy will play until he passes out.

On weekends, each and every Saturday I am not working (I don't get a lot of work in the summer) will be taken up by a "field trip." Sundays will have Sunday school and a ride to a closer destination or visit to Grandma.

There will be no room for variation, unless someone gets physically ill.

When the conversation turns to "summer woes," I realy have nothing to say. What they are talking about sounds like a wonderful, relaxing life to me. If I mention what my days look like, they glaze over and start talking about the pool. I can't take my kids to the pool by myself.

My friends and I share one thing: we both are holding on for Fall, when kids go back to school. In their view, they will get their lives "back". In my view, I will get two hours twice per week to clean, vacuum, do laundry, cut the lawn, try to get caught up on repairs, and at Christmas, clean and decorate and bake cookies (mmmm... cookies...) At least I will get lots of time to play with Andy. I am already putting together a otebook of ideas for portable projects and activities that can be done in waiting rooms and office playrooms. :)


Maddy said...

We're on an upward curve, but a couple of years ago I felt as if I had become a pre-school teacher from 5/6 a.m. until bed time. At bedtime I would 'plan' the following day and 'activities' in 20 minute slots for the 13 weeks of summer. Somebody should have give me some qualifications when they handed me the birth certificates.

Fridlund Family said...

As summer is approaching for us, I found myself also reflecting on the structure we have to build in to the day in order to have an enjoyable time. We are keeping our son in his preschool for the summer- thank God they run throughout the summer. BUT... in July, when I have 2 weeks off, we can't afford to pay for preschool when we will only be attending for 4 days and must pay for the whole month. Thus, we will go to a similar schedule. Our son can flex a bit more in his day, but changes will often manifest in behavioral outbursts and other issues. Our weekends can't be impulsive. For most of our friends this is a strange concept. Some even think we are 'coddling' him and need to be tougher, making him adapt to us.


Joeymom said...

Youre not coddling him You're accomodating him. They wouldn't just toss their own 5-year-old into the deep end of an Olympic-sized pool and expect the child to swim, right? Or expect their kindergardener to hike all day long along the Appalachian Trail? No... they would provide swimming lessons and floaties for the pool. They would bring extra food and drinks, and plan extra stops on their hike. These are accommodations. Joey needs a highly structured day. That is something you plan for, like extra breaks and floaties.

Mom without a manual said...

I hear you! The schedules for our kids are downright crazy! But you can't argue with progress and I am not changing something that works!

Someday we will get a chance to relax...maybe?