Monday, 30 June 2014

Starting summer

Summer is here.  I am excited for outdoor play but terrified of four children tripping over each other inside.  Our basement is unfinished and for storage, and no one uses the upstairs for anything other than sleeping (the bedrooms are tiny and are crammed with beds.)  This means that the five of us have the square of a downstairs to spend all our time in, all day, all summer.  It's great in that I always know what is going on.  There are no secret projects that might jeopardize the carpets or a game that lands a little one stuck in or under furniture.  It's hard in that the "noise, noise, noise, noise!" (like the Grinch) is loud and incessant.

I sure am glad my two older children are readers, because every now and then they will quiet down to curl up with a book.  The rest of the time I have no fewer than two "Mommy!" calls and three requests at any one time.  That is no exaggeration.  Today I did not get lunch until 3pm because there was always another little thing to attend to.  So while today was a lot of fun, it was also mentally exhausting.  I am an independent introvert who needs quiet to concentrate.  So having four dependant children who all have a constant stream of sound escaping their lips and who want me involved in everything they think, say or do, is a little hard for me.

That being said, I hope I have organized the summer in a way to accentuate the positive aspects of my kids being home and limit the negative moments.  We have week long camping trips planned, one in July and one in August.  The kids have swim lessons every Friday morning and soccer every Wednesday night.  All three kids have one week of day camp through a local town, and the two older boys have one week of soccer camp in the morning.  We also have a weekly open invite to a friend's home, who has children who match up with mine, and has a big country property and a swimming pond full of frogs.  I hope she doesn't tire of me being there week after week.

Mornings are for being out.  If we are "home" (we have no engagement somewhere else) then we will be at the park.  We have so many good parks around town we can do a different one each day and that would last more than a week.  My kids are bundles of energy and need a really high activity level every day so that there's an iota of hope that they will crash at a reasonable hour.

While Juliette naps in the afternoon, we have a mini summer school program set up.  I want the boys to keep up a little of what they have learned this past year.  The boys will do 20 minutes of math, 20 minutes of reading (French and English) and then 20 minutes of writing (stories or journal.)  We all set up at the kitchen table and I have my own work also: a time to hopefully hunker down and do some writing.  We started today with great success.  Although my talkative, extroverted children had a hard time working independently, which meant that my own writing was meagre and weak.  I have discovered that they just love to share.  Everything that crosses their eyesight inspires a question, and when they are out of questions they just open their mouths to share the stream of consciousness rolling around in their thoughts.  For someone who can't even have music on while I work, it makes me wonder at the different learning and work styles out there.

Juliette is an early napper, so there is still a good chunk of the day left when she wakes up.  Today we went to another park with our new tennis rackets and a wrench to take of Benjamin's training wheels (who apparently knows by natural instinct how to ride a two-wheeler, because he just got on and rode.)  This all meant that dinner was late, but since the kids were home all day they were snacking all day, so no one complained.

Well, that's where we are, day two of summer vacation.  If these first days are any indication then we will all use every ounce of energy and strength we have, collapsing into bed while the sun still shines.  But it's a good busy, a healthy busy.

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