Not too shabby.
I have to admit I’ve been dreading it. Not summer itself, which I love about as much as I love being able to breathe. No, I’ve been worrying about day care summer, ever since a couple of spring break days when my own sons tormented me and I began to panic. I can’t do this for two-and-a-half months!!!
But today went really well. I only had my boys and two day care kids, so that’s pretty much why. Anyone can handle four kids. I’ll see if I’m feeling this optimistic by the end of this week (or maybe even by the end of tomorrow, when I will have all of them).
With just the four big kids, it was definitely a field trip day. Younger Son chose the park as our destination. We hiked by the pond and the boys looked for bullfrogs (found some huge ones already, how big will they be in August? Don’t go in the water!). Families of ducks swam by, and we were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of two herons gliding back and forth over the pond.
While we ate lunch we watched some kids who were already at summer baseball camp. Older Son studied pitching form while Younger Son and Mr. O laughed at the coach telling one of the kids to shutup (in a nice way). Then, of course, they wanted to play. I had no equipment but that didn’t stop them. We headed to the new fields and they played imaginary baseball.
Could I have invented a better summer moment?
While they ran around the field, Miss R and I looked for four-leaf clovers (in the shade – we’re no dummies) and found almost all the letters of the alphabet in the senior field dedication monument (it was only missing J, Q, X and Z).
After this idyllic morning, I can say that my panic has subsided – for now. Older Son of course pushed the boundaries, doing things the littles couldn’t, not listening to me, then denying it. “No one told me!!” he claimed, when something turned out differently than he expected. Um, Younger Son and I both told you twice, so — wrong.
He pushed me until I scolded him but it was different this time. I didn’t feel bad about it, where in the past I’d carry that guilt for a while. Why did I yell at my precious? Why did I let it go that far? Why couldn’t I control him? Why did I take this field trip? Why did I expect it would be any different this time? Why did I open a day care in my home to make my children miserable?
Seriously. That’s how my mind works.
The weird thing was, he actually took it. “OK,” was about the extent of his answer, and then he just moved on. I was surprised and relieved. I don’t credit myself much here, I just think he’s finally at the age to understand my pleas for cooperation a little better.
It’s always been a big challenge mixing him in with child care. For a long time I struggled with how to keep him occupied while I dealt with everyone else. Now I try to keep him involved with jobs and leadership roles. I also give him equal time and attention instead of putting the other kids ahead of him. I used to feel like, this is my work over here, and I’m being paid to watch these other kids, so you need to behave and entertain yourself over there. That was dumb.
I also think he finally gets that me being home so he can have the summer he wants is a very good thing. He wouldn’t have that if not for day care. As we watched the boys play ball and I told him he could probably still sign up, he said, “No way. That’s too much like being in school.” I said it’s not at all like school, he’d be playing ball all day and he loves to play ball. And he said, “Summer is for being lazy.”
I wholeheartedly agree.