Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Vacation Countdown

And just like that, there are only 4 more weeks of summer vacation left. After the first two very busy weeks of summer break, full of antsy bored kids demanding more of everything, my girls have now settled into an appropriate summer mindset. They have ongoing games that carry over from day to day, have read through their stacks of library books, and have binged on their favorite TV shows. We've taken family trips, had tons of play dates, have visited the zoo and several parks. They've perfected their swimming skills, we've made homemade ice cream and blender snow cones, and I've put on more bedtime puppet shows than I can count. Both girls are tan, lean, toned from their endless activities, and totally off their usual sleep schedule.

We're noticing the back-to-school stuff in stores now, and the girls are thinking of what kind of school supplies they'd like this year. We still have a lot left on our to-do list, various outing possibilities I'd come up with before summer break started that we haven't gotten around to doing yet. We'll squeeze in what we can before the end of August rolls around, but I'm glad we're not keeping the same frenzied nonstop pace we were at the beginning of summer. Of course, the relaxed days of later bedtime and slow-paced mornings mean the school transition will be a shock to the system for all of us. Maybe a week before school starts I'll try to get us all back to early bedtime and early waking. Maybe.

We've had plenty of fighting in the house the last few days. The girls, now five-and-a-half and seven-and-a-half (those halves are so coveted at this age), have gone from whining, fussing, and bickering to wrestling, slapping, and kicking each other. Whether it's a product of doing too much or not enough, I have no idea. Maybe it's just from being around each other 24/7 since June. Come fall, they'll be separated almost seven hours a day and will have plenty to fill each other in on when they're reunited each weekday afternoon. I've tried separating them a few times a day, and although they each have their own room/books/toys, they simply refuse to be separated. Yesterday, at the peak of frustration, after the tenth physical fight of the day, I made the ridiculous declaration that for the rest of the summer they were not allowed to play together. They both cried: "But we love each other!" followed by lots of hugging and kissing that soon turned into another wrestling match. So there it is. So now I'm letting them fight it out with a little safety supervision. That's the point of having a sibling, right? All of those conflict management skills you rack up at an early age? So add that to the summer accomplishment list: perfecting the art of the surprise attack, self-defense, and learning when the best solution is to give up and walk away (or run to Mom, if it's the feisty five-year-old who is after you, because she won't stop until she has made her point--often with her teeth).

And despite the busyness of monitoring my kids' social schedules, I have found time to write. Thanks to my tireless Dad and step-mom, who watch the girls 2-3 times per week for a few hours, I've managed to finish a short story and start a new novel. I'm watching the calendar, waiting for the days when I'll have bigger blocks of time to myself for my writing, but in the mean time, I'm very happy with the progress I've made. And if I can just keep the girls from seriously harming one another, I'll consider this to be a great summer.

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