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3 Days and Counting

I’m not sure our summer vacation has been going well. No, that’s not true – I thought it HAD – of course it’s only been 3 days, but thus far I thought we had accomplished quite a bit.

We went to the beach one day – a beach we had never been to (being “new” to the area) so in a sense it was exploring a whole new spot.  Playing tag with the waves, building sand castles and miniature towns, even a LONG game of catch, all made for what we thought was a great day at the beach. 

That was yesterday, a day that ended with a playdate with my son’s best friend and brother (their parents went out for a date night and we watched their kids; in a few weeks they’ll return the favor – we’ve only done this a couple times, but I must say it’s a fabulous system).  Unlike the playdate I mentioned earlier (see my previous blog), this one just flowed organically and the kids all had a great time (even my little one – who hung with the older boys for quite a while before going off to happily play on her own). 

So imagine how shocked we were to hear our dear son say that the summer really hadn’t been going as well as he had thought it would.  EXCUSE ME?

Day #1 included an outing to the park, with Grandma along for the ride.  It included Grandma playing ice cream store in the sandbox with them and Mom (me) playing a mean game of catch. (Our future Major Leaguer is really learning how to throw the “heat” and I jumped out of the way as an act of preservation at one point, as the baseball whizzed past me – much to his glee).  We did puzzles together, played a board game or two and even managed to fit in a routine doctor’s visit for hearing and vision testing (their eyes and ears are perfect – so why is it he doesn’t always hear me?  Hmmm). 

Day #2 ended up being fun, but got off to a very rocky start.  I confess I lost it on Friday, putting any aspirations of being a true Zen Mama to shame, and started scolding the kids for their attitudes and behavior.  Sadly, it turned into a rant where I just couldn’t stop.  Finally I told them I needed a time out.  It was 95 degrees outside in the shade (and no air conditioning up here anywhere – which I like in theory, having lived in a place where we had to run the air conditioner practically nonstop for several months) and it was brutally hot.  Perhaps I overheated. 

He started getting a bit whiney about the lack of “field trips” so far this summer (field trips = fun outings).  He pushed my buttons, I started feeling bad and thought maybe there was some place we could go – with the prerequisite being that it had to be a COOLER spot to be in (which narrows the selection process down considerably).  She wanted to go to the beach (logical choice on a hot day); he didn’t.  But he – being Mr. Verbal – had to go on and on about the 9 reasons why it won’t work etc.  It turned into a whole thing. 

I was on the fence – the beach sounded like a lot of work, I didn’t really know where to go or have the right stuff to bring (it was all packed away until yesterday).  It’s a good 30-minute drive on these narrow, windy mountain roads so not the easiest place to get to.  I wanted to do something fun for them, but he was making it so not fun. 

So, we ended up NOT going (after my big lecture, I had had it) and I spent the afternoon outside watering the garden.  Little one played in the little fort on top of the swing set, but he moped around saying he was bored – because there is NO screen time in the afternoons – and that just made me mad too.  Finally, he came out to help me water, and from there I got the idea to spray water on the slide and make a water slide.  Our very own “Splash Mountain” – or almost.  The “ride” involved me squirting the slide, then being at the bottom to catch them EACH time, because as we found out the first time, a wet slide = a slippery slingshot.  On the test run, he went FLYING off the slide – and through the air too!  Seeing his skinny little body shoot across the yard like a cannonball struck me as hysterical and I couldn’t stop laughing – probably a good thing because he was a little taken back and not sure whether to be scared or think about his scraped knee, but with me laughing so hard, he started in too. (ah – another potential crisis averted – thank goodness this Zen Mama Wannabe occasionally has a sense of humor).

Thankfully, our day turned around and they had a lot of fun on my homemade water slide.   The bad news is that it got old for me real fast, like after the 5th or 6th run.  But, I hung with it as long as I could – after all, I was still feeling like I needed to redeem myself – and knew I created a hit when it was ALL they talked about at the dinner table that night.  Who knew we had an potential amusement park in our own backyard??!

Anyway, if I recounted all that we have done so far in our first 3 days of summer vacation, it would sound pretty good – like a fun time was being had; certainly we’re not just hanging at home, being vegetables.  So that’s why I feel a little out of sorts when I hear him saying it hasn’t been a great summer vacation, because I think, "What more do you want??"  Every day can’t be Disneyland!!!?!?!!!   

Probably some good lessons here about managing expectations for ALL of us. 

4 Responses to “3 Days and Counting”

  1. callieandbatido Says:
    July 22nd, 2008 at 8:58 am

    I agree, every day can’t and shouldn’t be Disneyland. Do we have to high of expecations for ourselves and to few of our kids?

  2. LarkLady Says:
    July 23rd, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    Where did all these high expectations come from, I wonder? How did they creep into our lives and take over? And how can we help swing the pendulum back to a more sane center ground??

    How much of our current mindset is tied up with our heavily scheduled lives in general and specifically for our children? I remember long summers with not a lot of things planned in advance to do… we met up with other kids on the block or not; we played tag or other games and didn’t rely on adults to schedule play dates.

    Those days are long gone, at least where I live. The expectation is that days will be pre-planned — filled with soccer and softball and dance and whatever — and when left to their own devices for a few hours, my kids often whine “I’m bored.” I’m learning to say, find a friend, find a book, or pick a job out of the Job Jar!

  3. tracysue Says:
    July 26th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    LOVE the “pick a job out of the job jar” idea in response to “I’m bored”. I am going to try it!

  4. Adriano Says:
    December 24th, 2015 at 12:46 pm

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