I remember summer vacations as long stretches of time that rolled out in front of me into forever. The lazy days stacked up as my skin changed colors and my adventures petered out into afternoon snoozes in the shade.
But now I’m a mom and summertime means that my kids get to experience this annual bliss while I run around like a maniac feeding, clothing, soothing, cooking, and cleaning for everyone in a 25 foot radius. And when I’m not doing that I am summoning up deep reserves of patience in the face of screeching pleading voices that are wild with want for ice cream or water pistol wars in the back yard.
Which brings me to my list of 5 unavoidable certainties of summertime with kids.
1) Dead Bugs And Other Assorted Fun
What’s laundry time without the occasional (in my house daily) surprise buried deep in pockets and hidden in socks? From rocks to bottle caps, dead bugs and unidentified plant matter, I have seen it all. And so has my washing machine. I’m waiting for the day when I rush through sorting the laundry and jam my hands into a pocket and pull out something with a pulse. I live in a house with all boys. This day is most definitely coming.
2) Changing A Wet Child
I’m not talking about diapers. The wet child I am referring to here is the one soaking from head to toe in water logged clothing. Have you ever tried to peel clothing from a wiggling and seething mad toddler? It is fresh hell. The clothing sticks like glue to skin. And when you add flailing angry movements to it (because what kid wants to get dry after they just beat the snot out of the opposing team in a game of water tag) then you have one heck of a challenge.
3) The Sun Sets MUCH Later
Before kids entered the picture this light until nearly 9:00 pm at night was fabulous. After kids have entered the picture the late setting sun means bedtime also gets later and later. Why? Because a four year-old will not get that when you tell him it is 7:30 pm and bedtime he will immediately assume you are pulling his chain. If I get the kids both to sleep before 9:00 pm then I am looking around with tears in my eyes because a miracle of heaven has just been performed in my house.
4) Sugar in 500 Forms
Popsicles, ice cream cones, Snoopy ice cone experiments, s’mores, marshmallows, strawberry short cake, berry pies, 37 birthday cakes, and brownie sundaes round out the boatload of expected summertime dessert fare. Guess who gets to clean up the sticky, gooey mess and then mediate the impending sugar crash? Yup. Mom.
5) Bug Bites and Heat Waves
First come the black flies, and then the mosquitos buzz into town, followed by no-see-ums and effing deer flies. If the bug bites or stings aren’t bad enough there is the humidity mixed with high temperatures to pair with car trips and sun burns. These knots of annoyances create the perfect conditions for summertime bellyaching. So stock up on the wine coolers and earplugs, Moms…you’re going to need them.
As the June bugs fly wildly into screen doors and the air wafts with the stink of sweat and bug dope, may you find your little piece of summertime bliss.