We’re Getting to the Good Part Now

(Breaking news…I had a whole thought! It only took me three years to develop! At this rate I will surely be a rocket scientist in the next century or so.)

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Here we are in the downward slide towards back-to-school, and I find myself with the strangely familiar late-summer feelings toward my children. Feelings like: wow, I really love being with them. I mean, I always love my children, of course. But being with them–all of themall the time–is not always fun.

I find that I start my summers with expectations. Expectations of time, of quiet, of toys put where toys go. I’m spoiled by preschool hours, and early June is a rude awakening. I spend the first month of summer struggling against it. If you’ve ever had toddlers, you know this is a losing battle.

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By late July, I’ve given up my expectations. Quiet? Don’t remember it. Toys? The floor is their new home. Water balloons in the late afternoon? Consider yourself bathed.

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Miraculously, just when I lay down my rights to personal space and an audience-free shower, it gets good.

Case in point: I started the summer determined to break Bo of his infuriating habit of whining. I gave him five whining tickets a day and when they were done he had to go to bed early. (Thank you, John Rosemond, for that two week long experiment in banging my head against a wall. I kind of suspected that I disliked you, but now I know for sure.)

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Somewhere toward the end of June, even more irritated than before, I threw up my hands and started a Warm Fuzzy jar. Suddenly, instead of noticing how much he whines, I notice how much he helps and how incredibly generous he is. He still whines a lot. I mean, a lot-a lot. I just care less. And it’s so much better this way.

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I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I will be glad to regain some of my mental bandwidth when the boys are in school a few mornings a week. It will be much quieter around here, for sure. The toys will stay in the toy bin. I might actually get a few minutes where someone is not demanding a snack ten minutes after a meal.

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But before that happens, I’m going to try to squeeze in all the kisses, all the popsicles, and all the sweetness of three babies in the summertime. They will never be almost 6, almost 4, and almost 2 again, after all. There’s mess here– no doubt about that. But there’s magic, too. Late summer magic.

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Thoughts, Half-Chewed Again

So last November I wrote a post called Thoughts, Half-Chewed. What I didn’t realize at the time, as Tucker sidled his way into full-on toddlerhood, was that those were the only kind of thoughts I would have for a long, long time. I’m smack in the middle of the tunnel– not nearly close enough to the end to see any light at all. So here are some more semi-thoughts.

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Tucker is throwing down some words lately. They’ve been slow coming, but in the last few weeks he’s piped up with a bunch. His favorite noise is still the squeal, though. My ears are constantly ringing, and I have daydreamed of wearing earplugs.

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MB and I start homeschooling in the fall. What I have learned about homeschooling this summer is that one key component must be that we stay at home for several minutes in a row on a daily basis. At this, we have failed so far.

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We took the kids to Disney in May. We carefully omitted the fact that Elsa and Anna were there because we weren’t about to wait in a three hour line. This was one of the many times I have been glad that Mary Bullock is not quite reading yet.

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We took our annual mama + kids road trip in June. I think I have PTSD. I just finished unpacking this morning (a month later!)¬†Nevermind I still haven’t unpacked the way back of my car. I love seeing my people (I can call them my people because I’m from Eastern North Carolina and people say that sort of thing), but it stretches the limits of my patience and fortitude. It will take me until next June to restore my traveling strength.

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Jen and I took all these monkeys to Mount Vernon and here is what my children remember: George Washington is DEAD. He died ON HIS BED, AND WE SAW IT. There was also a BIG WAR. The end.

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I just figured out the two secret words that will get Bo to put on his own swim suit without whining, crying, or writhing on the floor. Those words are: WATER BALLOONS. I have never seen that child move so fast to do anything in his life, ever. Just a little tip for you.

Speaking of water balloons, I just spent 30 minutes painstakingly filling 20 water balloons in our kitchen sink. The bursting of said water balloons lasted 45 seconds. And now they are outside unsupervised with the water hose while I type these half-chewed thoughts.

I don’t know what kind of mess I will return to, but I’m pretty sure they’ll make me wish I had swallowed these particular thoughts whole. {Gulp.}