Last summer I mocked all the mothers who didn’t want to send their kids off to camp the day after school ended and keep them there until the day before it began again. But at the end of the summer I realized I hadn’t spent the time I’d wanted to with the kids and I was actually (gasp) sad to send them off to school when the fall came back around. This summer I tried something else. I know full well that any version of full time “mother camp” is just another way of saying “mummy will spend all of the Fall in therapy recovering from the summer,” or “start drinking at four, and keep going until you’re vegetative,” so I modified things somewhat and put the boys on a swim team. They’re at the pool all morning, swimming, playing tennis, and diving, and in the afternoon, they’re my headache. Twice a week they have swim meets starting at 4 p.m. (I have to add here that it’s been about 65 and rainy all summer here, with the exception of a handful of days in the low 70’s, and those boys have gotten in the pool in weather that I won’t even leave the house in.) The girls have been home full time — I tried to plonk Francie in camp, but she said, “If everyone else gets to be around you, why can’t I?” Fair enough.
I don’t have a verdict yet. As I said to some friends today, I may need to wait until after the summer when nostalgia settles in to really assess this all, but I do know that all this free time has given someone time to do the following at home:
1. Break into my Amazon account and order stuff he wants.
2. Message my friends from my cell phone while I’m cooking.
3. Plant a small vegetable garden in his room.
4. Try to shellac his dresser with Aquaphor.
5. Concoct a substance out of my most pricey creams and potions and shmear it in his hair.
6. Build a twenty foot pipeline out of straws and attach it to the shower head in his bathroom. Soak entire upper floor in process.
So, while I am conducting something of an experiment, he is conducting several of his own. I know I’m forgetting some of the biggest projects here, but I think exhaustion has addled my brain. The baby is still an intermittent and unreliable napper, Fiona seems to be channeling a toddler version of Bellatrix Lestrange (complete with meltdowns and with freaky facial expressions), and because the weather has been so craptastic, my house looks like Dunkirk.
Otherwise, once we got through an initial two weeks of non-stop bickering, things seem to be going alright. The kids are getting used to being around each other. They are getting used to helping each other, and calling for me less. Both of these were among my summer goals, so I suppose I’m pleased about that.
Now, if I could only do something about the constant cloud cover and spitting rain, I’d really feel like Superwoman.