Three and half weeks of school left up here in Canada.
Our morning, day-time, after school, and evening routines (so everything) have gone to hell. Every year that seems to happen in early May until school lets out in late June. I hear people saying “we just all need a break” but I’m not sure that’s truly the case. I think it’s because we know a break is coming…
My mind says, “Ok, it’s almost over. A change! Thank god! I want that. Agh! I can’t make it two more months. I want my break from routine right now!” And suddenly everything goes to hell. If school got out in March, would I start slipping in early February?
So anyway, I’ve got to do all the end-of-the-school-year stuff, some basic garden maintenance, preparing things for summer (Why do we talk about that like it’s just one thing? It’s 2 months of childcare, special activities, plus family vacations and camping trips — that’s more planning and preparing than we do the entire rest of the year. Talk about emotional labour.), preparing for baby and doing prenatal and adoption appointments, helping out baby’s birth mom with her life plan after she moves out of our place, managing my writing work (which I’ve stepped up a lot to try to make headway on before baby arrives). I also had to do medical testing the last few weeks and take a course of antibiotics that knocked me out. And our social worker never came to do our final home safety check and certification, which was due a month back, so I keep stressing every time the house gets messy/dirty thinking that I should be keeping it “show ready” as that appointment could creep up on us any day. I’m also very aware that new baby will be arriving in 3 months or less. And that Big Son will be starting school, and having a birthday right around her due date. Not to mention impending birthdays and Father’s Day.
In this chaos all the other little things start to pile up. I’ve had an almost empty to-do list for quite a while (a busy daily/weekly routine mind you that requires maintenance, but an empty list of other tasks), but now seemingly overnight it’s 2 typed pages long.
Polar Bear has been extremely busy at work the last 3 or 4 weeks, which is pretty unusual and which has definitely contributed to stuff piling up/us accomplishing less on weekends/us giving up and going to bed early on weeknights. This morning he mentioned possibly leaving town to go out camping with the guys this weekend (including a Friday PD day when Big Son will be home driving me nuts all day and preventing me from working) and I nearly had an aneurysm. Although I now grudgingly admit that a restful weekend could be helpful to him, if not to me, and that he is not the kind of husband that does such things often.
One fantastic thing is that Big Son’s summer is now planned out and filled up. Thank goodness! I got him into 2 summer camps (for 2 weeks each) even though I’ve been behind, so that takes care of 4 out of 9 weeks of summer (not sure how it worked out to be 9 weeks – I think it’s usually 10 weeks of summer vacation here. But I’ll take it). Then we have one week of family vacation, so that’s 5/9. Of the remaining four free weeks I have stuck two at the beginning of summer and two at the end.
I signed him up for a swim lesson every morning of the first 2 “free weeks”. And, last weekend I had everyone make a list of their summer wishes (beach trips, swim days, movies, family BBQs, bus rides downtown etc). This week I penciled them into the summer calendar wherever there were gaps.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we believe strongly in unstructured free (vaguely supervised) outdoor play for kids and would never want to eat away at that important time. Yesterday I saw Big Son walk back and forth in front of my kitchen window with his friends for 2 hours after school, hauling buckets of water around to pour into a big hole they dug, and I could not have been happier.
However, Big Son is a very high energy, intelligent, demanding, and spirited child. This is no problem when other kids are at home as he is very social. But if he’s the only kid at home this summer, which looks like it may be the case, he requires a lot of pre-planning.
A few other successes over the last few days:
1. I have all the baby clothes. (At least for the first 6 months). I had collected about half what we needed bit by bit at thrift stores over the past year (my make-shift therapy as I dreamed about finding our baby), and I got a massive bin of hand-me-downs from a mom in our neighborhood last weekend. So I picked out the last few pieces we needed from there. It was also super cool to have birth mom at home for that so we could squeal over the cutest pieces together.
2. I felt the baby kick!
3. Over the weekend we had a very late afternoon lunch with family, and inadvertently skipped normal lunch. Meanwhile Big Son was out living his best feral life around the neighborhood and simply never got called in for lunch. When he did arrive home, looking starved, he was a bit manic and refused to eat, but threw himself on the floor whining. Over hungry child = child refusing to eat. So as I ran through a list of possible lunch items that were all immediately rejected, I tried out some “kid-logic” on him: “What if… no, it’s too crazy. Nevermind. Well… I was gonna say, what if… you had an apple, and apple juice, and apple sauce?!” He was so charmed by this idea that he made most of it himself and then declared, “It’s apple time!”
4. I was also encouraged, on a particularly stressful day last week, by a visit from this bumble bee, who came to rest on my kitchen window sill. No one but the dog was home with me to be excited about it. I wanted to offer the bee a bottle cap filled with water to drink but realized that would involve removing the window screen, which would likely chase him away. It’s funny how seeing a bee used to be so mundane and now I feel the need to offer up my own lunch and the shirt off my back.
We love you bees. We’re all gonna push through hard times together.