Every year, I get so excited about summer. I have visions of relaxing beach vacations, fun days at the pool, cookouts with friends, kids staying up late to run around and catch lightning bugs. (Insert sound of record screeching to a stop here). That vision of summer is just that - a vision. Not my reality. I'm not alone, I know, but here's a breakdown of those fun summer events in my world:
1) Relaxing Beach Vacation: (hang on while I catch my breath from laughing at that notion). We got to the beach pretty frequently, and try to stay for a week at a time. From the get-go, it's anything but laid-back. First, there's the packing. That involves moving the entire contents of our house into our car. Then we load both kids and the dog, and off we go on what should be a 3.5 hour drive. But no. We must take bathroom breaks. Or food breaks. And frankly, I think the husband takes as many of those breaks as anyone else. In the summer, meals have to be consumed in the car since we have the previously-mentioned dog with us. Feeding a meal to a toddler in the car is not exactly ideal. I don't think they're known for their tidy eating skills. Finally, we arrive at the beach, and we then unpack the contents of the car into the condo. This requires several trips, even using a luggage cart. Ava then immediately wants to go to the pool. And we just want to grab a beer, a couple of chairs, and go sit on the beach and let the kids run around and wear themselves out. Isn't that how it's supposed to go?
So, a typical day at the beach goes something like this for us:
1) Spend one hour getting kids sunscreened & in bathing suits. Hope baby does not pee in his swim diaper, since they lack absorbency.
2) Gather towels, beach toys, snacks, chairs, hats, sunglasses.
3) Head to beach.
4) Realize we forgot the cooler, and kids are thirsty.
5) Go back up to condo, get cooler.
6) Listen to baby melt down because he has a sippy cup and his sister has a juice box.
7) Go back to condo to get juice box for baby.
8) Return to beach, only to find hot, whiny children who want to go to the pool.
9) Go to pool.
10) Eat lunch, rest, and repeat steps 1-9 later in the day.
Please note that the beach tends to have a nice breeze, while the pool is surrounded by a wood fence and gets no breeze. And we live in the South, so 98 degree days are kind of the norm. Plus, we pay good money to have a pool membership at home, so can we not just pretend the pool at the beach does not actually exist?
And speaking of the pool, that's a lot of effort, too. I'm not exactly complaining. I feel so lucky to have a great pool close to home that we belong to, where I can wear my kids out. But, you may know that a 15-month-old boy at a pool requires much work on the part of adult caregivers (me). He would jump straight into the deep end and think it was lots of fun. So, I spend lots of time in the water with him, thus feeling guilty that I am not giving my (almost) 5-year-old the same attention while she is trying to show off her new swimming skills. The good thing about the pool, though, is that when we go late in the afternoon, I pack pajamas, feed the kids dinner, shower them, and dress them in pj's before heading home. They love the pool showers, and Davis the semi-public nudity as an opportunity to run around the locker room holding on to what we around here call his "boy parts."
As we approach the end of July, I can't believe that summer is getting away so quickly. I had lots of great things I wanted to do with the kids, and there's so much we haven't done. I feel like I spend lots of time thinking about how great it will be when school starts back up, but I know I'm going to miss our not-so-laid-back summer days. The temperatures here are absurdly high right now. Heat indexes are way above 100, even 110 this week. So, despite the heat that's keeping us indoors, I'm going to try to make the most of these last weeks of summer, even if the days don't quite line up with my picturesque vision of the season. After all, September will be here before we know it, and who knows? I might miss having my little munchkins around all day.