Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Into a Summer Swang

I would be lying if I said that we have kept up with our wonderful afternoon routine that was created at the beginning of the year. But in fairness, it was the first trimester yucks that pulled us from it. Our afternoon routine now consists of my pathetic effort to climb the stairs at noon after working for the business all morning, give a few hugs, toss the baby into bed if he is not there already, and then set the kids up in front of a 30 minute show so I can close my eyes and rest my weary body. I threaten them with all sorts of horrible things if they play or argue loudly enough to awaken me, and I leave them for a good ninety minutes. They are usually little angels. When I nod off cuddled up to my body pillow (thank you Megan), I catch some serious shuteye, usually rising only because the baby has woken up and started to jump and play in his crib. Now, after nearly a month of this "routine" my kids eagerly ask as I make my climb up from my office if I will be taking a nap today (reading between the lines, "can we watch a show, Mommy??"). Though this routine is nothing to be proud of, in the big picture, "no child is harmed in the making of this movie."

Getting back from my digression, the yucks remain for another couple of weeks (maybe less) but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and after the super-hot sunny wave we enjoyed last week, I also see that the routine that was so wonderful for the winter must be shipped off to Alaska or Sweden, or some other sad place where people don't wear tank tops while gardening. A new summer routine must be birthed.

I usually "think big" to a fault at first - to the point that I want to give up before I even start. I have wonderful, lofty, doomed-to-fail ideas of how I want the kids to do all these marvelous things without complaint, without hesitation, and with all the diligence of pre-adults. I have learned over the years how to actually make it happen: by building a routine around a fixed daily event (meal and/or snack time is my personal choice) adding to it slowly, one week at a time, one activity/goal at a time.

The first major change that must be made is that all the important stuff needs to take place first thing in the morning. In the warm weather, my kids play quite happily all afternoon outside, and I am happy that they do that. They get tons of exercise, and they get dirty-dirty-dirty. I love that. But I don't love it in the house. So the last thing I want to do is invite the dirt in prematurely. Not a very godly reason, but its the truth.

And since school is out, I want to take advantage of a slower morning to read the Bible together, have Bible quiet times again, and spend a little time alone with each of my bigger boys practicing reading. The kids will be devastated to learn that the summer daily routine will likely not include TV. I have other things in mind that I would like to build into the routine, but if I list them all I will get that hopelessly overwhelmed feeling in the back of my eyes and I will be tempted to just keep on napping.

Let's not go there!!

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