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Summer Epidemics

What do we have planned for summer? 

Anarchy and liver destruction. 

You?Three weeks into summer vacation and I'm already seeing the posts my friends are writing on Facebook about how they wish school would start soon. It is an epidemic of "my-kids-are-driving me-fucking-nuts", and it seems to be everywhere, including my house. 

We went away for two weeks right after school ended. We were busy and had a mission. Every day had an activity and the days were full.  But our first day back to normal, I wanted to hide in my closet and write blog posts while drinking vodka. At least they would be funny. The twins were attached to me. My two little mini-mes followed me everywhere and when they lost sight of me, they screamed as if someone had chopped an arm off.  I couldn't have one minute alone without a child demanding something from me. #2, the Aspy, wanted to tell me everything that was on his mind about how movies were rated. "A 'G' rating is for everyone, but 'R' is for adults only because they use explicit language. Mom tell me some of the explicit words they use." Nice try. Nice fucking try. #3, PDD/NOS/ODD, had to scream above everyone else just to be heard and when it finally got quiet enough to hear him, he couldn't remember what he had to say or #2 said it for him already. #1, textbook Autism, was running between two TVs, his computer and the DVD player downstairs. He was interval watching; a new cardio-sport that makes watching TV the primary focus. He started at the computer watching "Just Dance 2014" on YouTube while getting his Bar Mitzvah moves on, and then he'd run into the family room to watch Doc McStuffins, then he'd run into the family room to watch whatever show the boys were watching and then he'd run into the basement and watch the Wiggles. Then the cycle would repeat. If I was daring enough to turn off one of the TVs while he was in another room, he'd approach me and say, "now, why'd you do that? I was watching that." So much for trying to reduce our carbon footprint.

True, the kids may drive us crazy, but the unstructured time is when they can have spontaneous interactions with their siblings. Ok, some of that may require a referee whistle, and some may involve various types of antagonistic behavior, but some of that also involves reciprocal language, game playing, turn taking and laughter. I love watching the girls play stuffed animals together. They have a plot, dialogue and are so entertaining that I could watch it all day, or until they disagree and grab each others hair. It is quite a sight to see multiple children playing "Just Dance" together. I also like watching #2 and #3 play Legos together. #2 narrates the entire story and #3 goes along with it until he disagrees and then they have to compromise. Sometimes it works out and sometimes they wind up fighting. That is when I have to step in and teach them how to navigate out of conflict.

The craziness stems from the transition from structure at school to Saturday-Land. It is logical to be proactive and plan activities for the kids, but taking five kids anywhere is hard. Especially if one of them has a tendency to wander off. Bowling isn't just bowling when you're constantly telling your kids to get away from the video games to take their turn. Taking your kids to the library is hard when they have issues with modulating the volume of their voices and they head in different directions. And the pool, forget about it. It's a drowning waiting to happen.

My friend Becky wrote on Facebook that she fantasizes about the Staples ad. Nothing erotic with staplers, But the idea of getting them ready for school and sending them away from home for six hours a day is enough get excited about.

I did get a little giddy while I was going through the mail and saw the Toys R Us ad advertising their "buy the Backpack, get the lunch box free". Woo hoo, it's July! To me, it signifies that school is just seven weeks away, plus, free is my favorite "F" word. Totally getting a bargain. A free lunch box!

So how are the next seven weeks going to play out?  The boys extended school year (ESY) starts next week, and the girls are in a mini-camp for July. But we also are going to enjoy harvesting our garden, capturing fire-flies, watching butterflies(we live in the butterflies migratory path), visiting friends, hosting play-dates, playing video games, teaching the kids to design and sew their own ugly dolls, and maybe even a road trip to Massachusetts. 

Regardless, the summer will fly by, and before you know it, they will be going back to school; armed with their new backpacks, free lunch boxes and school supplies for another year. Which for some of us, couldn't come fast enough.



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