Tuesday, August 28, 2012

it’s 2012. shouldn’t rosie be real by now?

t minus 21 hours, and the summer is, to all intents and purposes, unofficially OVER.

school starts tomorrow, ya’ll, and the drinks are on me.
and by drinks, obviously i mean a celebratory cup of coffee and possibly a bagel. cause that’s the way i roll. (get it? bagel? roll? whomp whomp)

this year’s a bit different though—only harrison and ava will be headed off bright and early tomorrow morning. guinevere is starting cyberschool this year, and her first day isn’t until the 4th. so for the first time in quite a few years i’ll actually have more home with me than headed off to school.


(field day, last year)

but even still—the return to schedules and predictability is welcome all around.

i struggle every year with the start of school. i said once that i never pictured myself being one of those mothers counting down the days until the first bell…but here i am. (t minus 20 hours, 57 minutes now) don’t get me wrong—by the end of the school year i’m counting the days and hours until my kiddos are home with me full time. i ache to have them back in my clutches--to erase the bad habits nine months of associations that i can’t control has created in them, to reinforce and reinstill the values we want in them 24/7. i love lazy days and lazy nights, sprinkler play and library trips, midweek sleepovers, day trips…to a certain extent i even enjoy the looks when i head out to the stores with my herd in tow. yup, all mine thankyouverymuch.

but it’s been a long and busy summer, and we are pretty much fully in the throws of FIVE KIDS. meaning: days are a whirlwind of diaper changes, fight refereeing, boredom busting, chore assigning…you get the drift. we run the gamut right now—baby, preschooler, school-age, tween—bordering on teen. the needs are many and varied and there’s always someone requiring attention.


beyond that—there’s the simple logistics of it. there are seven people in this house who need to be clothed and fed and washed every day, multiple times a day. there are seven people in this house creating messes, and i simply can not keep up. believe me—the kids have chores. they certainly do. i parked myself on the couch yesterday and supervised family room clean-up while crocheting, and did so unapologetically. i barked orders like a boss, yo. it wasn’t my mess, and they’re well old enough to clean up after themselves.
i wage a constant internal battle between wanting them to create and explore and make messes. i want them to have free access to the tools for that and the desire to do so.
and then there’s the other part of me that just wants my house to look clean and pretty for 15 minutes. i’m typing this now sitting in the bathroom while gigi soaks off the purple paint covering her head to toe from this morning’s bird house decorating.
and ava and harrison are on the their 2nd day of making a batman costume—involving cardboard, paper, glue, paint, fabric, sewing and cutting. the mess is spectacular—in both the dining room and harrison’s room. but how can i stop them? they’re coming up with ideas and solutions and creating and working together happily—laughing and talking all the while.

i can’t.

i’m going to grumble and complain when it’s cleanup time, because they’ll never get it all. they’re going to miss spots of paint and glue. and we all know the floor DOESN’T EXIST when mom says “clean up”.

the fact is that the onus of the work falls to MOM. and it’s a big job. we do at least 2 loads of dishes everyday. we do at least 2 loads of laundry everyday. the mess of daily life, x7, is great. and i’m very, VERRRRY ready to have the odds flipped a little in my favor.

i’m looking forward to days of daddy headed out to work, middle two headed off to school, the biggest hard at work in her school area, and the little two—more easily controlled. i’m looking forward to doing the dishes—and having the sink empty for more than 3.2 seconds. heading out to the store, only 2 googies in tow. (and i still get the “wow you sure have your hands full” comments even with just the two little girls. and i just chuckle and say yup. you have no idea)

and don’t hate me—because we all rise to the challenges we’re given—but when i hear or read about people who say ugh! i just had my 2nd/3rd baby and i simply can NOT get anything done! yeah, i’m laughing at you. just a bit. it’s cute. in the same way i’m certain the moms out there with 8 or 9 kiddos are chuckling at my whining right now. yup, it’s cute.


so today i’m enjoying this last day before school starts. these idyllic days where i can pretend that starting tomorrow my life will somehow magically be easier and that torturous hour between home-from-school and dinner time doesn’t exist.

oh man…maybe i’m not so ready for this after all.

okay, let’s discuss. do you let your kids have free access to craft supplies? or would they not recognize a tube of paint if it hit them in the face?
and what about school? are you ready? or are you holding on to these summer days as long as possible?
let me know in the comments…

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  1. My kids are grown now, but for some stuff, they had to ask and sometimes to get them started I would offer some of "my" stuff. I always did the bulk of the clean up too, and I'm sure I grumbled a bit, but I loved seeing them be creative. My oldest is now a great cook and prolific knitter. My middle girl, not much craftiness, but some and seems to get more with the passing years. My youngest, not so much at all, but not for lack of my trying.

    1. uh oh...you mean this could all be for nothing? i'm hoping that i'm creating the next generation of michaelangelo's and da vinci's...;)

  2. I let my five year old have her own craft stuff and I make sure it's cheap because from time to time I just sweep it all up and throw it away when she makes a mess that overwhelms me too much! The 20 month old I'm trying to teach how to color on paper. (easel good. Walls bad.) The 6 week old I'm just happy he seems to be over clusterfeeding 24/7 and I can get some things done once in a while. But expectations for his artfulness are high ;)

    1. okay with a 20 month old and 6 week old you DEFINITELY get a pass. if they've been recently fed and bathed within the last 72 hours you're a winner in my book. ;)

  3. Ack, my OCDness comes out in fury with crafty things. We haven't done the bird houses yet. Maybe this weekend at the beach out in the driveway where I can hose off the mess instead of getting down on my hands and knees and clean it up???!!!! Terrible I know. With three boys 6, 4 and 2 I don't let them get into anything without me. Drives me nutso if they do. I will say that a few weeks ago DB and Aunt Tess came over and the boys did a major playdoh afternoon. They made stuff for a beach scene and I let them let it dry out so they could HANG IT UP. Now that is major progress for me! Some day I hope to let them make a mess (AKA make your own moon glitter doh stuff you had the other day) but for now, I'm not that progressive :) P.S. At the time of this post T-minus 10 hours and 15 minutes to go....but who's counting!

  4. HA! I get to be the first to say it. Your kids are not going to say "Mom was so great,her house was always tidy." They are going to remember the fun and the doing.
    The mess part is harder till you remember they don't know how to tidy up. I KNOW !!
    We've gotta teach that part too. So it's "let's put all the crayons here, all the paper that's smaller than your hand in the recycling", and on and on and over and over. Sigh.
    Learning to clean up after yourself is a great life skill too, and probably goes hand in hand with creativity.
    When you have time, I'd love to hear more about cyberschool.
    Glad you're back,

    1. Joy, i have a dear friend who was one of five. one time in talking it was mentioned how her mother always kept such a tidy home. and her reply? "yes, but she never sat down with us. she never played with us."
      i'm not going to judge her, but it rings in my ears to this day.

      oh--and the "all the paper that's smaller than your hand in the recycling"--awesome idea!
      p.s.--cyberschool post coming soon. ;)

  5. I just discovered your blog and I just have to say, I love the way your personality shines through your writing! Also, I have 1 - yes one - child, who is almost 2 ... and I can't get anything done!! And I will also admit that I look at my friends without children, and roll my eyes a bit (on the inside of course!) when they complain about being busy. I guess it is all relative! Love your blog!


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