This is our first true summer vacation. The first time we’re finishing a school year and our summer isn’t being eaten away by something totally overwhelming, like our cross-country move last year. This is the first summer that I, alone, am responsible for the well-being and (more importantly) entertainment of my two high-energy children. This is also the very first summer I have feared, and here’s why:
1. The Weather
Welcome to summertime in Houston, where you’re either flooded out or scorching hot—one extreme or the other. And either way, you don’t want to be outside…unless you’re at the pool (have I mentioned that neither of my kids can swim??). So summertime means either sweating through your SPF 80+ sunscreen at the playground all by your lonesome (no one else here is stupid enough to go out in this weather!), or finding something to do indoors, which leads me to #2.
2. The Spending
Houston is one of those cities that’s well equipped with indoor activities for all those hot summer days when you’d be an idiot to try to enjoy yourself outdoors (that’s about half the year, in case you were wondering). However, it’s NOT one of those cities like Washington, DC, where there’s lots of free stuff to keep you occupied. No, a week’s worth of indoor activities in Houston could run you well over $100, and who on earth is budgeting for that?
3. The Boredom
The first words out of my oldest’s mouth each morning are, “What are we doing today?” Heck, I can’t fault her. I’m the same way!
When we travel, I want our vacations to be jam-packed with itineraries that would keep the Obamas on their toes. I don’t even know how to sit still! It’s genetic, so I can’t be annoyed by the presumption that each day will be filled with “something exciting,” as A requests. But the fact of the matter is the stakes are high, and I’m sure to disappoint. And boredom is known to lead to one of my favorite things…
4. The Fighting
I never thought I’d be one of those “Unless someone’s bleeding…” parents, but now might be the time to learn to tune out some of the bickering. Sure, my girls love playing with each other…sometimes. Other days—like when they’ve been in each other’s business for days on end—every little thing is an issue.
She’s touching me.
She’s talking to me.
She won’t give me a turn with this toy that I just ripped out of her hands.
That’s when I’ve just GOT to get us out of the house and into the car, where we’re all strapped into our seats with nothing to fight over. Now, if only I had a destination…
5. The Classes
I’m not sure if this is a local thing or if we’ve just entered that golden age of extra-curricular activities, but everyone here seems to be signing their kids up for camps and classes this summer. At first, I couldn’t figure out why parents would want to take all the unscheduled time we “get” during summer vacation and fill it right back up, but I’m beginning to understand…
Realizing that I was looking at an entire summer of absolutely nothing structured or scheduled with the girls, I did the unthinkable and signed A up for—get ready for this—a dance class. Despite my reservations and the cost and the commitment, we needed something.
We (as in me and A and Baby J), we ALL needed something (a few things, actually) scheduled during the week to keep us grounded. So maybe I’m a total sellout; maybe I’m exposing A to a world of body issues prematurely; maybe I’ll totally regret this. BUT, I have to weigh what I might regret against what I know will make us all crazy: sitting at home with nothing to do.
6. The Regression
It’s probably the teacher in me, but I do worry just a teeny little bit about A losing some of what she’s learned while she’s out of school. Summertime regression is a real thing, and I want to keep her mind from turning to mush, like a watermelon left out to rot in the summer sun.
That’s why I’m trying this homeschooling thing for the summer—something I vowed NEVER to do. I’ve been looking up Common Core standards for kindergarteners and coming up with a little curriculum of our own. I’m actually not sure if I’m more afraid of A regressing or me being unable to teach my own child. We’ll see.
So, what scares you about summer vacation? Or, do you just love it?