Okay, seriously, I didn't realize how long 2 months really is until my first summer home full time with two kids. It doesn't help that the first few weeks of summer my kids were occupied very happily 100% of the time - first at my parents' house while we were on vacation, then on our family vacation with cousins last week. We have been home for two days, and I feel like I have been looking at two sets of unblinking, expectant eyes for hours on end.
"What are we going to DO today, Momma?"
It is so tempting to say "heck if I know - I'm going to kick up my heels and read a book - what are you guys gonna do?"
I managed to get to July 21st before the doldrums actually kicked in .. I guess that isn't so bad. Now we are sunburned and out of money, so the real work of negotiating a 6 year old and 3 year old through the summer weeks begins.
Organizing time has never been my strong suit, but I am slowly realizing that if I don't structure our day and set realistic expectations (mostly mine) it can be quite painful. We will have a 'mother's helper' starting next week - a local kid who will come play with them for a few hours a couple of times a week so I can get work done. But, thankfully, my business is quite busy, so I can't just bank on those few hours to accomplish everything.
So this morning I called a family conference. We plunked down on the floor in a little circle. "Yay! We're having a meeting!" Finn said. He sees me go out the door to my AA meetings at least three times a week, and he is more than curious about what-all happens there. "Not that kind of meeting, hon," I said, "we're going to plan our day together."
I explained that even though it is summer and they don't have school, that I still have to work. I said I know it is frustrating to them sometimes when I'm home but I can't play, and said that I wanted to plan each day so they know we will do fun things, too, but when I needed to work they had to find things to do together and not interrupt me.
"So," I trudged on, "this morning I am going to do some work, then we have to go to the bead store, and then in the afternoon we'll do something fun!"
"Is it aftahnoon yet?" asks Finn.
"Okay," says Greta, but she recognizes an opportunity when she sees one, "so if we're good and don't bother you this morning, this afternoon you'll give me ten bucks?"
"Is it aftahnoon now?" asks Finn.
"No, hon, this isn't about money," I say.
"But, you have to work to make money, and I think its only fair that I get some money, too. I mean, looking after Finn is a lot of work."
"But you aren't looking after him, you are playing with him. You know, because you love him."
She rolls her eyes.
"NOW it is aftahnoon, right?" says Finn.
It goes on this way for a few more minutes, until it occurs to me that I'm delaying the gratifying part of the day - they just don't have that kind of patience yet. So I switch tactics. "Okay, we'll play this morning, and then this afternoon I will do my work - how's that?"
"Is it morning now?" asks Finn.
I look at his sweet face and chubby little cheeks. "Yes, it is morning now, what do you want to do?" He wants to "play beach".
So suddenly I'm pretending to snorkel around on my carpet that needs vacuuming and wondering who is really in charge around here.
"Do I still get my ten bucks?" asks Greta.