Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Three Seasons

In our home, we have three seasons: School, Christmas, and Summer.

Switching gears for a change in the season is always hard on little folks. They thrive in a routine and resist any change to that routine; it takes time for them to settle in. Nevertheless, here we go again because Summer is upon us. Ellie and I are both finished for the year, and the boys have four more days left in school.

Summertime is something I love and dread quite equally.
I am going to be teaching two online courses, since I can't seem to do one job at a time. But being a mostly stay-at-home mommy is job number one. The love part comes with all the extra time I get with the kids -- playing, being silly, and cuddling. The dread part comes in when I consider that it is very hard work to keep the children busy and happy at home, since they are accustomed to having lots of different playmates and plenty of changes in scenery during the school year.  To the boys, mommy is SO boring compared to having three teachers, two therapists, and eight playmates around at school. To Ellie, she just wants to GO . . . anywhere, anytime. Staying home is nice to Ellie, but not nearly as nice as checking out what everyone else is up to. Oh, and the heat -- my God the heat!

I keep asking myself, "How am I going to do this all summer?"

Plan of Attack
The plan to keep everyone active and content even in what is sure to be another long, hot Louisiana summer includes: three weeks of summer school for the boys to keep up their wheelchair skills, swimming in a big pool once a week, physical therapy twice a week for the boys, storytime at the library, arts and crafts, perhaps a playgroup once a week, swimming lessons for Ellie, and Bible school. Throw in five or six doctors' appointments already on the calendar, and it will be August before we know it and time to head back to school.

The Challenge
The challenging part is that the boys aren't quite able to get around on their own yet. They haven't mastered crawling or using their wheelchairs enough to go get what they want or to find something to do on their own. This leads, inevitably, to endless commands being hurled at me or Ellie: "Mommy, I firetruck. Ellie, I ball. NO! I that ball!" They also have two favorite activities that keep the house a mess and keep me on my toes: putting any and everything in their mouths, and throwing anything they get in their hands across the room. It's a little game to see how many items they can throw and how far they can throw them. Great fun for them; a huge pain for moi. They are also textbook two-year-olds: they pull hair, bite, knock heads, and have meltdowns over which cup you hand them or which way you turn to go to Walmart. Joy.

Secret Weapons
We have a few tricks up our sleeves, though. First, I am embarking on a three-day total home reorganization with Ellie as my assistant --  toy and art supply storage, diapering and physical therapy supplies, outdoor set-up including the little pools and outdoor toys, and summer clothes storage. I'm hoping we can set the stage for an easy transition with easy access to all things summer.

Also, in just a few weeks, Ellie is getting a very exciting present for her 4th birthday: a rollercoaster! It resides in three large boxes in my foyer right now, and she knows her present is in there, but she doesn't yet know what it is. Unlike a trampoline, a swingset, or a playhouse, all my kids can use this big toy. It will involve a lot of screams of "again" and me lifting 35 pound boys over and over, but I'm hoping it will be worth it to see their excitement. Here's what it will look like:

Do you have any other ideas for summer sanity?