The Baytown Sun
Published May 24, 2006
Summer's almost here!
That means it’s time for snow cones, sunscreen and waiting in line for the Bolivar Ferry.
It’s also time for stay-at-home moms like me to have their kids home. All day. Every day.
Let me be honest. My 20-month-old’s last day of Mothers’ Day Out was last week and, oh, how I grieved that day.
Of course I love my children. But I also recognize the fact that I am a better parent if I get a break from them every once in a while.
Apparently, the schools need a break from our kids, too, because they all shut down for the summer. Tomorrow is my 7-year-old’s last day as a first-grader. Then she and her baby sister will be mine. All mine. For 10 weeks. Ten weeks that will, in large part, be unstructured.
This is part of my problem. I thrive on structure and sticking to a schedule. I didn’t know this about myself until I gave birth to Julia and then stayed home with her for six weeks. There is no structure involved in taking care of a new baby. They just sleep and eat whenever. I don’t do well with “whenever.” I nearly lost my mind.
For this summer, I’ve tried to plan things to keep us busy. Julia has two weeks of swimming lessons coming up. She also has lots of friends with which to arrange play dates. She’s going to camp for a week in July. We’re getting a membership at our neighborhood pool. We’ll also be participating in the summer reading program at Sterling Municipal Library.
That should take care of Julia. It’s her younger sister that I’m worried about.
If you haven’t met Jenna, picture blonde curls and blue eyes. Now, put them on the Tasmanian devil. That’s my child. Who can demolish her bedroom in mere seconds? Who lets us know she’s done with dinner by hurling her plate against the wall? Who grabs knives out of the drawer and runs through the house with them? Who throws my grandmother’s heirloom jewelry in the trash? And who is so dang cute that she gets away with every last bit of it? Our little Jenna. And believe me, sometimes I need a break.
The problem is that it’s hard to find summer activities for toddlers her age. If they did have a weeklong baby camp, I’d be the first to sign her up.
The next best thing to baby camp, however, is Granny and PaPa’s house. It’s just a short drive across Houston, and it’s staffed by a couple of people who have an uncanny ability to forget how draining a 20-month-old can be.
“Please, please bring her over,” my parents plead on the phone.
“We’ll be right there,” I yell, frantically throwing stuff into the car.
Jenna really is a very sweet child. She’s just ... well, “active” is a good way to put it. And she won’t even hit her “Terrible Twos” until August. But by then, she’ll be back in school two days a week. I have her first day at school already planned out. I’m unplugging the phone and going back to bed.
Just wake me up when she turns 3.
Deana Nall lives in Baytown with her family.