Oh, You Kids…

I can report with confidence now that summer vacation is in full swing. My evidence for this assessment is that my children have been docked two weeks’ allowance for making it so that whenever you pull the string in my, their mother’s, back, I frantically repeat the words, “stop it…stop it…stop it…” while making a list of every single thing I can take away from them.

Saturday it was the complaining, punching, and kicking. Sunday it was the sand-throwing (and punching and kicking). Then it started in again yesterday with the grouching and exasperated sighing, and it peaked yesterday afternoon when their blatant disregard of my instructions landed them at opposite ends of the couch for half an hour doing absolutely nothing.

In case you’re wondering, the couch thing wasn’t so much a punishment as it was a last ditch rubber room type effort to put them somewhere that they couldn’t emotionally or physically hurt themselves, the house, or me, thus earning themselves a 20-year stay in their rooms and a middle school through post-grad correspondence program.

I’ll spare you the gory details, but I’ll say that the whole experience, and the events which followed, ironically have kind of renewed my faith in my children. Our accidental family motto could be, “Don’t make a bad thing out of a good thing,” and I’m proud to say that the kids really snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. After the punishments were handed down, and the couch sitting ended, they moped, but remarkably recovered. Once the frowns grudgingly turned upside down, we shared laughs and snacks, and then took our planned evening trip to our local pool. It was there that some magic happened.

Somehow 12-year-old Jake ended up in a leadership role among the late night boys’ crowd who, at the urging of the lifeguards, participated in an impromptu water treading competition. The winners? My children. Those two little heads just sat there in that water forever. While other kids razzed the guards, got booted for cheating, and generally floundered, my kids just stayed where they were and kept on treading. Hayley managed about 20 minutes—far more than most of the boys (when she got out of the pool, I whispered, “Girls can do anything boys can do.” And she whispered back, “Better.”). Then Jake treaded for an astonishing 30 minutes and was declared the winner mostly because the guards were tired of watching him. Wet, shivering, and wrinkled, he told me that his marathon effort was really inspired by a grudge against a girl who always outlasted him in swim class—like 4 years ago. She wasn’t there, but he had something to prove, and he did it.

So the day ended on a high, if wet, note, and everyone closed the night tired and happy. Nice.

Now for today…


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