Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Potpourri: A Wrinkle in Time

We're at T-minus one week until Spring Break, and we haven't even figured out what we're going to do THEN, but it hit me like a flash Friday morning that I HAVE FAILED TO PLAN OUR SUMMER.  AND IT'S THE FIRST WEEK OF MARCH ALREADY.

No big deal right?  IT'S THE FIRST WEEK OF MARCH.  There are, for all practical purposes, THREE ENTIRE MONTHS BEFORE SUMMER ARRIVES.  And yet . . . it appears that I may be behind the curve.  Oh, let's not mince words:  I am firmly behind the curve.  All but three weeks at our favorite summer day camp facility are already filled - to cite one example.

How, exactly, did this happen?  Not the "I got behind the curve" part.  I know how that happened - a combination of distraction and passive aggression.  No, I'm inquiring about the "June, July and August being all up in late winter/early spring's business" part.

Last year, I can distinctly remember pitching a fit because a particular summer program had not released its calendar . . . by the first week in January.  Ridiculous, right?  But most of the other programs had released their calendars by then, and you can't book these things in a vacuum, people.  If you just pick a random week because, what the heck, it's open, and in fact, THEY'RE ALL OPEN, because IT'S JANUARY and NOTHING in the middle part of the year is filled yet, well, here's what's going to happen:  a month or so after you send in your non-refundable deposit to hold your place, ANOTHER calendar will be released.  And that calendar will feature a summer program that your child will find so riveting, and so amazingly awesome, that the universe simply must align itself to allow him to participate.  Except, you will tell him, that he can't participate, becaused Mom double-booked him.

And the wailing and gnashing of teeth begins.

So the pressure is on all of the camps, museums, art studios, etcetera, etcetera, ad nauseam, to release all of their summer camp calendars at once.  While it is snowing outside.  And the pressure is on all of the parents to sign their kids up for things.  WHILE IT IS SNOWING OUTSIDE.  Because you know that, somewhere, another snowed-in mommy has fired up the computer and is crossing items off of her mommy to-do list.

No wonder I've been feeling a touch passive-aggressive.

To add to our issues, there's the chlorine blond swimmer/diver that resides in the middle bedroom.  Goes by Connor, has morning and occasionally afternoon practices four days a week, and participates in swim and dive meets on Wednesdays and Thursdays, respectively, from June through the end of July.  All of which practices and meets tend to overlap by a half hour with the various camp programs in town.

And then there's little bro - the one who doesn't particularly love the pool much, on account of an irrational fear that possibly, JUST MAYBE, there is a form of shark that resides in swimming pools.  A stealthy shark - possibly invisible - that likes to nibble on little boys.  So, at the age of six, notwithstanding the fact that he actually, factually can swim, he confines himself to the baby pool.  Where you can see the bottom.  No swim team for him, and certainly no diving. 

Little bro is finally old enough to participate in all of the cool camps - which overlap with brother's aquatic athletics schedule.  So, do you bench little bro?  Or do you adopt a man-to-man defense, with Mom acting as chauffeur for one child, and Dad acting as chauffeur for the other?

Looking at the TCU Extended Education catalog, I can see two line items - a 3D animation camp for the big kid, a LEGO camp for the little kid - that I know would rock my boys' worlds.  Educational and tons of fun to boot.   And - bonus - Mom and Dad would actually get a little work done while the small fry are being educated and entertained.  You know, to offset all of the time spent chauffeuring.  And, praise be, the camps fall in the same week.  Except . . . the starting and ending times are staggered for the two age groups, and they are staggered just enough that it doesn't make sense to return to the office.  So, really, you're talking about dropping off one kid, then loitering at Einstein Brothers across the street until dropoff time for the second kid.  And then repeating the same nonsense in the afternoon.  For five days straight.

Things were easier when I was a kid.  My mom was a teacher, which meant she stayed home in the summers, and so did I.  We did enrichment activities some days (trips to the museum, or whatever), other days I hung out at the pool or at a friend's house, and the rest of the time I followed my mom around on her daily errands.  Our kids get the same balance - except, somehow, Mom and Dad are working (theoretically) full-time jobs for the duration.  And that's where the summer camps fit in.  The kids get their museum or zoo or art class time without Mom and Dad having to be on the premises.  So Mom and Dad can get some billable hours in.  So they can pay for the camps.  So they can go to work . . . .

I'm adding another item to my weekend to-do list, just below "figure out the summer schedule":  "bedazzle my hamster wheel."  Because I don't think I'm getting off of it anytime soon, and I might as well enjoy the danged thing.

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