Friday, August 15, 2008

Summer Fun and Llama Poo

The dreaded sniping has begun. This summer was going fine up until the last couple of days, but now, as we enter the home stretch (three more weeks til school starts), the kids are suffering from an overdose of togetherness.

I suppose it doesn't help that neither one of them is particularly social. My son has always found pre-arranged playdates to be agonizing, and my daughter would prefer to spend time by herself creating things or with one special friend, who, unfortunately, is in day care most days.

So they end up turning to each other for company (they are only 22 months apart, so their interests and abilities are pretty well in line with each other). This is a good thing, as long as they are getting along. But the last couple of days have been a strain...particularly on me. I value my quiet time, I value my solitude, and in the summer, I get very little of either. And it's worse when they are arguing all the time.

Example: We have a whiteboard hanging in the family room. It's used for showing the kids how to do math problems, practicing spelling words (you'd be amazed how much more fun it is to write the words on the whiteboard than to write them on paper!), and explaining complex concepts to them. It's also used for drawing whatever anyone feels like drawing. Yesterday, The Barrister drew a rather lovely llama on the whiteboard, complete with cute little hooves and funny little llama ears. Little Mouse thought it would be fun to add some llama poo to the picture. The Barrister took exception to this sullying of his art, and an afternoon of sniping at each other was begun.

This morning, the sniping started before breakfast had been consumed.

Twenty-one days and counting...

15 comments:

Gianna said...

hang in there jazzie...

I wish I could take the kids off your hands sometimes...would love to have some kids around!!

deepblue said...

oh, I feel your pain. But at least school starts the 18th (!) here. Crazy.

Jazz said...

Yeah, they'd probably be little angels for you, Gianna, and then you'd be asking me what all the fuss was about! They are always beautifully behaved for other people...

Jazz said...

Ooh, I envy you, Deepblue...but then yours were probably done mid-May, right? We start back after labor day...but I remember a few years ago, when they were building a new school and they mucked about with our summers...one summer was fourteen weeks long...and the next one was only ten--sweet bliss!

Gianna said...

Yeah, they'd probably be little angels for you

all the more reason I'd love to have them!!

Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
When I was a child, we had a ton of kids in the neighborhood to play with. Two boys down the street had tree houses. We always could play football or baseball on the street. We rode our bikes around the neighborhood, or we could play tennis or swim at the park--within walking distance.

With my son was young, every single friend of his went to camp or to some kind of organized program. How childhood has changed!

Susan

Catatonic Kid said...

I remember how long a summer could seem. Oh boy, yeah I can understand why it'd be a bit rough.
Not too long to go now, though. Keep on trucking 'eh!

Gianna said...

Susan,
that is what my childhood was like...my nieces and nephews instead don't have an unplanned moment...I think it breeds a lot of people who don't know who to entertain themselves...and people who need non-stop stimulation....

Jazz, I think it's great that you have the kids at home and that you sit around the living room all reading as a family...you've got it right!

Jazz said...

Susan--
I agree that childhood has changed. Mine, too, was very different. We had a hill in our backyard that was all wild overgrown woods, and it backed onto a huge field of sumac that went on for over a mile. That was our playground. And we had friends in the neighborhood, and most of the time my parents didn't know exactly where we were. Come home when the streetlights come on was our only rule in the summer.

How different it is now. The kids have to tell me where they are going and with whom and I need to know when they will be back. Not that there are many kids around in the summer to do things with...most of them, as you said, are enrolled in programs or in daycare all summer. It makes summers pretty lonely for both kids. My daughter is eleven, and she's got two friends whose parents work, and both of these girls are left at home alone all day. I can't imagine leaving an eleven year old at home alone all day.

Jazz said...

Catatonickid--
I can remember summers stretching on for ages, too. I was pretty good at entertaining myself, but my brother never was, and he used to drive my mom up the wall!

Jazz said...

Gianna--
I think you're right about it breeding people who don't know how to entertain themselves. I don't know any kids--other than my own--who have most days completely free to do whatever they want. Kids today just don't get enough unstructured time.

I love it when we all sit around reading! My son just devoured a four-book series in less than a week, and it was wonderful to keep finding him curled up in his favorite armchair glued to his book. What a wonderful feeling it is to have a stack of good books and many free hours ahead in which to read them! I haven't spent a whole day curled up with a book in years (of course, I haven't found many books worth curling up with lately, either!).

Wellness Writer said...

Jazz,
Of course you're right about the safety issues. My college-aged son is home for summer and I still want to know what time he plans on coming home at night, and he calls if he's going to be much later.

And, no, I can't imagine leaving 11-year-old children at home alone. As a parent, I think that's so irresponsible and downright bad parenting that it makes me terribly uncomfortable.

I also agree that too few kids can entertain themselves these days. But I think that too few adults can as well. After all these years, I'm still surprised to see parents on the street taking on their cell phones while their children are listening to iPods. I wonder who's not communicating with whom.

Susan

Stephany said...

Hang in there! Just send them on to us teachers and go have a coffee that morning!

Plus the Llama poop story is funny, you'll laugh when they are in their 20's

Stephany said...

I found a site with top 10 science experiments, of which I've done all with students or at home. (my avacado pit is thriving but it took 7 months!)

#4 and # 5 are sure thing hits. The goo is fun, and the mento soda explosion has entertained my college kids and I several times when we act immature. LOL

Do one a day and you'll make it!

Top 10 coolest science experiments

Jazz said...

Thank you, Stephany! What cool ideas. My son will be intrigued--he's really into science.

It's funny--I have one child who is champing at the bit for school to start (my daughter), and one who is wondering why we can't move to a country where they don't have school!