It’s that time of year. Wherein visions of sticky fingers, couch fort surfing ninjago divers and the threat of boredom all loom on the horizon. With the end of the school year gone, done and finished, two months of having our kids home full-time lies ahead for our little our family, much like many others everywhere. And while we have a calendar scheduled with camping, adventuring and a couple of day-camps planned out, there are still lots of blank spaces, un-planned days and work to be done. On purpose.
What’s this mom to do when she works from home and decides that this is the very last summer she may have her kids home full-time? Well, she thinks she can juggle it all and vows to savour the crazed energy and excitement of it all. That somehow she’ll get her work done and not slam her kids down in front of the T.V. constantly to make that happen. All of a sudden she finds herself talk-typing in the third person even though she hates that shit.
Is it guilt that made me take such a leap? No. After all, it’s just, One. Last. Summer.
One last summer before my youngest starts school full-time in the autumn.
I’ve done this maybe a few times before and the summer-break months always fly by at break-neck speed. Somehow everything ends up being alright in the land of parental responsibilites and deadlines. Mostly it’s a yearning. A yearning to embrace a slower pace and be in the moment. These moments of early parenthood are slipping between my fingers. There’s only so much time I have left to paint old fences with murals with them and run through sprinklers and muck about making general little-kid-kind magic.
How long do I have before they won’t want to go to the splash pad with me? Or the park? How long before they stop wanting to cut out shapes and toss glitter around like confetti under the shade of our backyard maple tree? Not long. Sure, these sweet things will turn into other sweet things as they grow and their interests evolve.
And yet, right now … I’m very aware that I’m on the trail end of one of the most treasured, memorable stages in parenting. I’m exiting these early years with one who has two feet out the door and one with but a year left. So. To treasure and adventure and savour it is. Everything else will be okay. However, we’re gonna have to lay down some house rules, becasue things can get cray real fast without them. Not that my kids are going to necessarily listen to all of these rules, because perfect they are not. And true, some of these are clearly just being released out into the internets for my own amusement/sanity. And perhaps yours.
MILLS SUMMER HOUSE RULES 2015 (*Subject to change at any given moment*)
- Cartoons are an acceptable form of entertainment anytime between 6am – 8am, especially on the mornings that mom has been up till the wee hours getting work done. Forbidden watching: Sponge Bob, Cailou, Barney and Barbie.
- You must crawl into bed with mom/dad and cuddle for at leat 10 minutes after you wake-up before doing anything else. Unless you have to pee.
- No diving off of the sofa table onto the couch, especially onto each-other unless a parental unit or babysitter is around to take part in the ruckus.
- No peeing (and definitely no poo’ing) in the backyard. That goes for the drain out front in the middle of our cresent.
- No peeing on furniture.
- No streaking out front, out back only.
- No naked down-ward dogs and bum slapping in front of strangers.
- No fighting, no screaming, no indoor running.
- No indoor karate (which turns into fighting) or nijna sword fights (which turns into fighting) and/or ball throwing (which turns into fighting and the breaking of things.)
- No breaking things.
- If you’re fighting know that you’re going to have to try and work it out yourselves first, unless there’s blood.
- No knocking on neighbours doors when you wake up at 7am. Or 8am. I don’t care if they have kids and they are your friends. And if they knock on our door before 8am, don’t answer it becasue …
- You’re probably naked.
- I’m probably still sleeping.
- No one’s allowed in the house until after I’ve had coffee.
- We wait until I (and other neighbourhood stay-at-home/work-at-home parents) give the green light for door-bell ringing and play date calling. It will never be before 8am unless otherwise planned/stated. This is a HARD RULE.
- Try not to interupt me when I’m working. If you’re bored you can PLAY OUTSIDE and …
- Go on a backyard/neighbourhood walk-about with your baskets and collect things for your scrapbooks and bug jars.
- Do NOT spray each-other with the hose. Only I can do that.
- Run through the sprinkler.
- Play in the sandbox.
- Ride your bikes, scooters, skateboards. ALWAYS with your helmet.
- Play in the kiddie pool if I’m working at the backyard table.
- Do not ever, ever, ever, cross the barrier that we all know about at the end of our crescent.
- Paint at the backyard art and craft/paint table. I will be happy to set you up.
- Paint the fence that has been deemed for your artistic vision and brilliance.
- Sidewalk chalk on our driveway only, anywhere on the back patio and/or fences.
- Play basketball, baseball or any other game you dream up.
- Play tag, hide and seek, water the gardens, pull weeds. You know how to do this … it’s on your chore list anyways. Extra brownie points (perhaps in the form of actual brownies!) for taking the initiative to do garden work yourself.
- Put weeds in the WEED BAG. Do not toss them around the grass.
- Pick raspberries and blueberries anytime you want and eat to your heart’s content. Invite the neighbour’s kids to do so as well.
- Stop eating so much clovers and grass. I know it’s cool that you learned these things are edible and will not kill you, but ease up on the foraging.
- Bring whatever arts and crafts you want outside and get busy. Make me something magnificent that we can hang on the wall.
- USE YOUR IMAGINATIONS! GO, PLAY AND BE FREE! BE WILD! (But rememeber, NO STREAKING.)
- Don’t try and guilt trip me about not playing with you or being bored. The amount of time I spend working when you are awake is minimal and SOMEONE (waves hi) is taking you to fun places, introducing you to intersting new art projects and general mayem and adventuring the rest of the daytime. Me. Or your babysitter. And then it’s me AND your dad in the evenings. So no, you are not hard done by and just PSH. I appreciate your tenacity though, and I love you too.
- Stop making so much mess. Please. It’s incredible really, I sort of appreciate your madness, but seriously.
- Clean up your messes. I mean it. No going from activity to the next leaving little hurricanes after yourselves wherever you go. We’re focusing on this hardcore this summer and it WILL BE ENFORCED. By myself and your dad when he’s home, the ULTIMATE ENFORCERS.
- Meal-times are still a thing. I am not your short order cook and there is no 7/11 open 24/7 kind of buffet happening here. So stop asking me ALL. THE. TIME. Try eating during the times I actaully give you food. You know, during the afore-mentioned meal and snack-times.
- If I make you you paleo-blueberry-oat and banana bars or any other test kitchen snackery, BE GRATEFUL. EVEN IF IT SUCKS. (If it sucks you don’t have to eat it. But you can also stop being so damn picky.)
- Pajama days can happen any given time and are perfectly acceptable, in fact embraced. But you still have to brush your teeth and wipe your bum, wash your hands and flush the toilet.
- Baths are so passe. This summer you’ll be showering, and learning how to do so on your own while I sit on the toilet to assist (aka: file my nails, scroll the instagram).
- NO SCREAMING AND SCREECHING IN THE HOUSE. PLEASE STOP THIS.
- While general outdoor nakedness is not encouraged, indoor naked dance parties will be encouraged. You’re only this age for so long. Embrace it. Your mom and dad however will not be partaking in this with you. We’ll dance clothed.
- Painting each-other is okay, as long as you let me know. Remember, do this when you’re naked and nakedness is only allowed in the backyard.
- No painting with permanent paint or with the use of permanent markers. (Where did you find those things anyways?!?!)
- The iPad is not an extension of your soul. If you start acting as such (aka: irrational, ear piercing meltdowns upon release from it’s zombie-like hold), you will loose all screen priveledges for a week. As per the usual custom.
- You must pay the toll whenever asked (aka: hugs and kisses given/received).
- I will wash, dry and fold your laundry. You will put it away.
- All laundry goes IN THE LAUNDRY HAMPERS. Not the floor, not under your bed and/or thrown all over the house.
- No food under your bed.
- No creatures from your nature baskets under your bed.
- No jumping on me when I’m doing my workouts or whipping around my general mat-area as if it were the only space in the household to co-exist.
- Please stop asking me so many questions when I’m doing burpess, sweating profusley and cussing at my computer screen video trainer person thingy.
- Definitely don’t ask me for a snack or tell me that you’re starving in the middle of the 30 minutes a day I take to help reign in the size of my ass.
- Note how much nicer and calmer I am after I get to do my workout.
- You can however “workout” with me. That action is cute as all get-out.
- Read these rules out at least once a day from the place they’ve bee printed and taped up on the wall, as a part of your reading activities. Wyndham – you can read these aloud to your sister, won’t that be fun! What a great big brother you are! Best story-time ever!
- And above all else, remember …