School's out, but can the kids survive?

Family Frolics
By Jennie Lundgren

Summer vacation snuck up on us pretty quickly this year. Before we knew it, it was Memorial weekend and the kids’ last week of school. I am a bit of a super planner. I think this annoys my husband but also secretly he appreciates it. He knows he really doesn’t have to do much planning for our family. He packs for himself, shows up when I tell him to, and we continue on our way. So I think it came as a bit of a surprise to him that summer came and I had not lined up any daycare for our children.

In all fairness, I had ideas in my head, I had just not implemented them yet. I wanted to see how the kids would do on their own first. We had left them alone for a few hours at a time. It seemed as long as they were together, they did fine. Yes, there was the occasional call from my daughter telling me her brother had hit her or thrown something at her but if the calls weren’t accompanied with tears, I didn’t put too much worry in them.

So in one of my non-brilliant moments, I decided to give these kids a chance to take care of themselves. They are 11 and 9 years old. When I was 9 years old, I was babysitting my brother. Course I wouldn’t trust my son to watch a dog, but he should at least be able to handle himself, right? Well, I was in for a rude awakening.

Turns out when my children are left alone too long, they are like a pack of wolves that turn on each other. It’s subtle at first. They watch TV, they spend some time outside, they even help each other with food. Then, as boredom sets in, they start getting snippy with one another. My son, who is by far the more self-centered one, will complain his sister isn’t doing enough to help him. My daughter, who is the calm one, tries hard to stay out of his way but eventually his arm swings one way or another and lands on his sister’s arm. And let me tell you … the muscles he has built up from smacking hockey pucks around have given him some strong arms. And he is not aware of his strength, nor is he in control of it sometimes.

So after about five texts from my daughter telling me her brother is being mean, I got another three texts from my son informing me his sister is lying about him on the texts. Boy, did I wish I didn’t have text messaging on my phone.

The gem to the first day of summer vacation came when my daughter called to tell me that they had somehow, magically locked themselves out of the house. But don’t worry, they had broken back in through their bedroom window. They had found some type of ruler that would slice through the screen and grabbed the stepladder and with an extra heave ho from his sister, my son found his way back into the house. No worries, my daughter said, we are fine now. However, my son informed me it was getting a bit dicey. He was starting to get dehydrated and was forced to drink water out of the water balloons he had.

I got the pleasure of calling my husband to inform him how his children handled their first day at home. His response … "REALLY? On the FIRST day?" I asked him if we should be mad they did this or proud of them for figuring out how to solve the problem? All he could think about was he had to now rescreen a window.

I, on the other hand, came home and immediately called the babysitter I had lined up previously and told her the sooner, the better. And just like that, the village of Norwood Young America will be spared from my hoodlum children! There was no telling where their destructive behavior would lead them to by August!

Jennie Lundgren is a local mother who enjoys small town life with her family in Norwood Young America. From time to time, she shares her adventures in Family Frolics.