By: Carol Rood
I love summertime. Ice cream, summer fruits, hot beach days, lying by the pool, drinking frozen drinks, hanging out with friends, staying light outside until 9:00 pm, and NO SCHOOL!!
I am a college student with three kids and two part-time jobs. I also have three cats, a dog, and a beautiful partner who works full time and also goes to college. My kids are 16, 14 and 12, so they are too old to be enrolled in a summer camp and too young to be able to stay home by themselves for long periods of time without getting into trouble. So, I don’t go to college during the summer, and try to work as little as possible during the week. I usually work on weekends.
It defies physics and logic, but somehow having that third child at home seems to be a catalyst for trouble. I can have any combination of them home as a pair and things will go smoothly and I don’t even have to bat an eye with worry about what is going on at home. But add that third kid and it is like fire around dynamite. I get phone calls, I come home to horrible messes and lots of tattling. It is inevitable. I just don’t get it.
They each have their own rooms, we have at least three tvs in the house so they can each watch a different show, we have plenty of food, drinks, and we even have a Wii if one of them wants to play video games. As a matter of fact I won’t even buy games that are for only one player, so there is never a possibility of only one child being able to play by themselves. Even the Wii can always be shared…
We also have a MAC computer that they share to play World of Warcraft (yes we are THOSE people), and goof off on Facebook. Actually, the oldest kid has his own phone that he pays for, and he can access the internet with it, so he just uses Facebook on it, and the middle kid has internet access on his iPod so he doesn’t use the computer for Facebook either. Keeping that in mind, can you believe they fight over the computer also? They each get two hours at a time on the computer, yet I still hear complaints about “He went over his time” and “I didn’t get my full 2 hours.” Really? Is that what I want to hear after coming home from seeing patients? I think not!
So what is it about having that third kid home that causes trouble? I have yet to figure that one out. And of course my partner works full time, so she goes to work and the kids know they better not bug her unless there is copious amounts of blood or broken bones, or the police at our door. Nothing less constitutes calling my Bluebell at work!
This arrangement of course leaves me to be the prime caretaker of the children, especially in the summertime. During the school year, Bluebell arrives home about 30 minutes after the kids arrive home, so we share parent time equally. But in the summer, oh my gosh, I am flying solo most of the time.
We were lucky this past summer because from the day after school ended until the first of August we had at least one kid gone every week. The oldest went to visit Bluebell’s family in Minnesota for most of July, and the middle one went to Boston for a church trip, then to Boy Scout Camp, then to visit my mother in Florida. The youngest really didn’t go anywhere (except when we visited my mother), but he did enjoy complete mom attention, and made out like a bandit with treats. With only one kid it is much more affordable to go out for lunch or grab a drink at Starbucks, so he was one happy camper!
But then August came, and baby, that was a blur. I don’t even really remember August 2011, except for the constant barrage of “can I go here or there?” “will you drive me to (fill in the blank)?” “Can we go bowling?” “Can we go to the beach?” Oh My Gawd! I just couldn’t catch a break. It was as if my three handsome boys were replaced by some aliens. It was exhausting and just a bit scary.
As a matter of fact, even after all of that, Bluebell and I must have had one too many beers the night we told the boys they could each invite a friend to go with us on our annual vacation to a summer rental house in Sandbridge Beach. WTF?! What were we smoking when we thought THAT was a good idea?
Can you imagine having six teenaged boys in a house together for a week? The good news is they all already knew each other because they swim on the same summer swim team and we all live in the same neighborhood. Actually, they all got along beautifully. To be honest, we really had a great time with them! Having a house full of teenaged boys is quite cool, and TONS of fun!! For example, I did not know prior to that week that playing Rock Band on the Wii is MUCH better when played in boxers with shorts on your head. That was a smidgen of information I didn’t have in my arsenal of knowledge. (Can you believe I didn’t have my camera at that moment?)
Now however, all of that summer fun is over, and the kids trudge out the door every morning at 6:45 to catch the yellow vehicle that takes them away to their institutions of learning. We only have to make it through nine more months until we can begin having more summer fun! I can’t wait!