Posts Tagged ‘activities’

Out of hibernation

Monday, March 30, 2015
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“Despite the forecast, live like it’s spring.” – Lilly Pulitzer

With our quest to avoid cold weather and the flu, we fell into a hibernation-like state this winter. Most days we didn’t make it anywhere but work and day care, and for a couple weeks in February we didn’t even make it to those places.

I don’t care if it’s cliché; I am not a fan of winter. So, as April descends upon us, my heart beats with the flutter of anticipation for hot weather and long days.

March gave us a few warm(ish) days and a few more cold days, and while the weather has a long way to go to my ideal (85 and sunny please), I can finally feel the fresh air of spring.

This spring is extra special because it is my first one with AJ. I’m determined to get outside and avoid the monotonous weekday routine. Our house might end up a wreck, but it’s a price I’m willing to pay. Here’s what we have on the agenda for spring:

First and foremost, we plan to get outside as much and as often as possible. We made it to the park on the warm days in March, and the sight of teenagers playing basketball, kids riding their Christmas bikes for the first time, dogs crazy with freedom and everything in between felt like fresh air to my lungs. AJ is big enough to sit in her stroller without the car seat now, so she can see the world around her. She loves going on walks and runs and it’s an activity I plan to incorporate into our daily routine.

We are planning to start swim “lessons” this spring. I was amazed to find out babies as young as 6-months-old can participate in swim lessons. Naturally it will be more about getting used to the water rather than learning any strokes. This will be our first out-of-the-house parent/child structured activity and I’m looking forward to it.

Another goal for spring is to go somewhere to see animals. Ideally, I’d like to make a trip to a zoo, but if that doesn’t work out I will try to find somewhere local. AJ loves our dog and cat and I think she would enjoy getting to meet new types of animals.

Unexpectedly, running errands with AJ has become a fun activity. When she was a newborn, it wasn’t hard to take her places because she mostly just slept, but the window of time in between feedings was too short to get anything accomplished. In the winter, I simply avoided taking her out at all. Now that I don’t have to worry about bundling her up Randy-from-Christmas-Story-style, it’s slightly easier to get out of the house. Yesterday, we made a Target run, and she had a blast sitting in the child seat of the cart and looking around. And she hasn’t entered the temper-tantrum stage, so for now, running errands can be a nice way to get out of the house.

Moms, what activities do you have planned for your babies this spring? Are there any activities for babies less than 1-year-old that you would recommend?

Kelly Weikle and her husband Chris are navigating the uncharted road of parenthood with their infant daughter, AJ. Kelly shares the ups, downs, laughs, and cries of new motherhood on The Mommyhood every Monday. When not discovering what everyone else who has a child already knows, Kelly works full time in corporate communications.

What the Ocean Said

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
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The ocean waves were crashing at our feet, but my friends and I were more interested in the gifts those waves offered.

Each rush of salt water provided another message from the sea. To the average observer, the ocean was giving us shells that had been beaten down into in all shapes, sizes and states of disrepair.

But we knew better.

We knew that Mother Nature was sharing her secrets.shells

My friend Sara got a message as she searched for shells with shades of purple. The shape and size didn’t matter. Color speaks to Sara, and the ocean understands that we all find beauty in different ways. That’s why it provided her with shells with streaks of purple, spots of purple and just a hint of color.  The ocean knows that when we truly look for it, we can find beauty no matter where it is hidden.

My friend Betty got another message as she picked up shells for her yard and garden. Even though she’s already collected hundreds of shells for outdoor decorations, there is always room for more.  Each shell has the potential to fit into its own find its unique space.  None of the shells are perfect and many aren’t even considered attractive by most people, but collectively they make the world a more beautiful place. The ocean knows that is true for all of God’s creations.

My friend Venetta heard the ocean whispering to her as she sought shells with interesting textures. Some shells are rough with knots while others are as smooth as glass. Some resemble the shape they carried through most of their life while others look nothing like they once did. Some appear untouched by the ocean while others seem worn down. The ocean reminds us that none of us can control all the circumstances in our life, but we can control our responses. The ocean knows those responses will continue to shape us throughout our lives.

While my friends were looking for shells, I was thinking about the sand. Each grain was once a shell that has been broken into tiny pieces. One grain of sand generally goes unnoticed, but millions of grains of sand create vast beaches of exceptional beauty.

The ocean knows that we often don’t notice what is hidden in plain sight. We don’t see our child’s classmate who is struggling to read has a gift for music; we don’t realize that the neighbor kid is shooting baskets until midnight because his parents are fighting inside the house; we don’t recognize the quiet girl who would have strong opinions if only someone encouraged her to speak out; and we give little thought to the fact that a pregnant teen is carrying the future inside of  her. As individuals, these people may only make a small difference in the world. But when their skills, gifts and knowledge are supported by others, we can collectively make the world more like a beach – a place of exceptional beauty that everyone can appreciate.

That’s what the ocean said to me.

Trina Bartlett lives with her husband, Giles Snyder, their teenage son and daughter, two cats and one enormous German Shepherd. When she’s not being a mom, volunteering, writing, biking or walking the giant German Shepherd, Trina works full time as a director at a nonprofit, social service organization.

Alone On the Curb

Wednesday, January 21, 2015
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I have no doubt that every child who went to elementary school during the 1970’s experienced the same trauma I did. Fortunately, I only experienced it once – or at least I only remember one incident. There may have been more, but none has stuck with me like the one that occurred that day in second grade.

I remember feeling completely lost and alone as I sat on the curb waiting for a mom who hadn’t arrived.

I don’t remember why I had stayed after school. I just remember that I did and was quite excited to do so. Bon the curback in those days, afterschool activities weren’t the norm for the under ten crowd. We had music lessons and 4-H and Scouts, but none of those activities were associated with school and there was no such thing as afterchool care.

Whatever the reason my friends and I had stayed late, it must have been  a special occasion. I still remember chatting with my friends as we stood on the sidewalk by the playground fence waiting for our moms to pick us up. (In those days, the moms were always the ones who picked up the kids.)

As other moms began to drive up to the curb and my friends climbed into their cars (usually into the front seat, generally without seat belts and always with absolutely no concept of contraptions called car seats), our group got smaller and smaller and smaller.

Eventually, I was the only one still standing on the sidewalk until I tired of that and sat on the curb.

I know anyone born after 1980 is wondering where the adult supervision and teachers were. My answer is “I don’t know.”

Back in those days, vigilance didn’t exist like it does today, and teachers usually went home when the students did. There was a sense of trust in the parents and a sense of safety in daylight – especially in small towns. There was also a belief that situations usually worked themselves out.

Except when they didn’t.

As the sun started making its journey behind the Juniper-covered hills that surrounded the town in which I lived, I sat on the curb and waited. And waited. And waited.

Eventually, a teacher who had stayed late happened upon me as she walked to her car. She didn’t, however, see the same gravity in the situation that I did.

“What’s the matter?” she asked. “You look as though you lost your best friend.”

I remember contemplating her words. My good friends had all left me, but I didn’t think I’d actually lost them. But I didn’t share those thoughts. Instead, I told her I was waiting for my mom.

“Oh, I know your mom,” the teacher said. “I know she’ll be here soon.”

And she was right. My mom did arrive…eventually,

In those days before Google calendars and other electronic reminders, she had simply forgotten that she was supposed to pick me up at school. And, in those days before cell phones, answering machines and vigilant school personnel, I was powerless to remind her. Those things just happened to those of us who grew up in the 1970’s.

Mom may have told me why she didn’t worry when the bus arrived without me. Or she may have told me that she had a meeting and she thought she had babysitting duties covered. I don’t remember because her words never registered. I was too relieved and grateful that I wasn’t going to have to spend the night on the curb and wear the same clothes to school the next day.

I was reminded of this incident a few weeks ago as a read a post that has been recycled through social media a few times. It is a reminder of what would now be considered parenting fails but  were acceptable when I was young. And my generation survived anyway.

We didn’t wear bike helmets (although I do remember the humiliation of swimming caps). We played outside with no supervision (unless you count our dogs which all ran free without any type of fence – even electric.) And we weren’t electronically connected to everyone we knew.

If we were out of our parents sight, they never knew where we were, if we were safe or when we would actually arrive home.

I can’t imagine being a parent during that time period, and I give my parents kudos for being so strong.

Apparently, I am much weaker.

Both of my children have cell phones with which they use to constantly communicate with me.

I know if their plans have changed and they are going home with a friend after school. And when they text me such information, I can immediately text the friend’s parents to confirm.

I know when the band bus is running late or early, so I can arrive at the school in a timely manner. I don’t have to sit in a parking lot for hours waiting for a bus to arrive and imagining all that could possibly have gone wrong.

And I know that the school has my cell phone number so I don’t have to be sitting at my office desk to get a notice that my child is sick or is in detention (yes I have experienced that parental fail.)

Those of us who had the true 1970’s childhood experience may laugh at how much we protect our children these days, but deep in our hearts, we are also extremely grateful. Changes in technology and society ensure that our children will never be sitting alone on a curb waiting for a ride home.

And if that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.

Trina Bartlett lives with her husband, Giles Snyder, their teenage son and daughter, two cats and one enormous German Shepherd. When she’s not being a mom, volunteering or writing, Trina works full time as a director at a nonprofit, social service organization.

Life with a 5-month-old baby

Monday, January 19, 2015
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The great unknown – that’s what I considered my future when I was pregnant. I had no idea what life would be like with a baby. So, instead of consulting a psychic and a crystal ball, I read mommy blogs. My favorite? “Day in the life” posts. I read them all: stay-at-home moms, working moms, work-from-home moms and everything in between. For me, it’s reassuring to see that I’m not alone in having weeks of clean laundry living in a pile in my laundry room, or that in that “cooking dinner” is sometimes throwing in a frozen pizza. So here it is, your stereotypical “day in the life” post. If hearing about how long it takes me to get out of the house in the morning isn’t your cup of tea, then I suggest you stop reading now. I don’t pretend that my days are especially difficult or original; I would say they are pretty average (or below average!). Enjoy…

  • 3:00 a.m. Wake up to baby crying on the monitor. Change diaper, nurse baby. She luckily goes right back to sleep. Crawl back in bed.
  • 5:30 a.m. Wake up to baby crying on the monitor. Chris gets up, changes her diaper, and brings her to me to nurse. Then he takes her downstairs to eat breakfast and I get in the shower. The day has begun!
  • 6:05 a.m. Realize I am not in the shower but still in bed. Actually get up and get into the shower.
  • 6:30 a.m. Chris passes AJ on to me. Take her downstairs with me to eat breakfast (cereal) and make coffee.
  • 6:45 a.m. Back upstairs to finish getting ready. Put AJ in her bouncer chair and she watches me put on makeup and do my hair. Talk nonsense to keep AJ entertained, topics range from how to put on mascara to why I love Taylor Swift. Then Chris picks her up and changes her into her clothes for the day.
  • 7:15 a.m. Finished getting ready. Wonder how early I am going to have to get up once AJ is mobile and I have to chase her around all morning. Go downstairs and pack my pumping gear; Chris gets AJ’s bottles ready. Say goodbye to Chris and AJ (he takes her to daycare) and leave for work.
  • 7:34 a.m. Walk into work (thankful for a short commute).
  • 7:34 – 8:30 a.m. Emails, read news, to-do list, coffee.
  • 8:30 a.m. Pumping time. Bring computer into the motherhood room with me so I can continue working.
  • 9:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Work. Return phone calls, write emails, tackle to-do list.
  • 10:45 a.m. Pump again, earlier than normal because I have an off-site meeting during lunch.
  • 11:15 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Off-site lunch meeting.
  • 2:30 p.m. Pump.
  • 3:00 p.m. Work.
  • 4:30 p.m. Leave work to pick up AJ at daycare. Wonder if she will still be in the clothes she arrived in (it’s about a 50/50 chance). She is!
  • 5:15 p.m. Arrive home after a car ride of AJ crying. I think she prefers 102.7 to NPR. Lament that it takes me 10 minutes to get to work and 45 to get home. Throw on black yoga pants and a T-shirt and immediately change AJ and get her in the bath, something we’ve been doing to combat cold and flu season.
  • 5:45 p.m. AJ is out of the bath, toweled, diapered, lotioned and PJ’ed. Nurse her. Chris gets home around this time.
  • 6:15 p.m. Chris plays with AJ while I tackle dinner. Despite not having been to the grocery store in ages, decide that we absolutely cannot eat out and scrounge the fridge for something edible. Surprisingly come up with an egg, cheese and Quinoa combination with a side of green beans and a slice (or three) of bacon.
  • 7:15 p.m. Eat dinner, then play with AJ. Make lots of funny faces, help her sit up, and listen to the chirps and squeals of her toys. Chris cleans up and washes the dirty bottles and pumping accessories.
  • 7:40 p.m. AJ gets fussy and I know the reason. So it’s upstairs for bedtime, which involves nursing, lullabies and rocking.
  • 8:30 p.m. AJ decided to rally and is wide-awake. Give up on the rocking and take her into our bedroom, where she falls asleep to the sounds of the previous night’s episode of Modern Family.
  • 9:00 p.m. Put AJ in her crib and creep out as quietly as possible. Choose bill paying over laundry folding for my end-of-the-evening activity. Wish that a wiggle of my nose would transfer the two baskets of clean, unfolded clothes neatly into drawers.
  • 10:00 p.m. Wash face, brush teeth, and call it a night.

Sprinkle in a few meltdowns and a diaper run here and there, and this is my typical day with my 5-month-old. The weekdays go by incredibly fast, and the weekends even faster.

Schedule, What Schedule?

Friday, September 26, 2014
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Am I the only one who was delusional about babies and routines? When I was pregnant, I imagined my maternity leave on a daily schedule. Every day would have set walks, playtime, naptime and feeding times. Every night would have a set bedtime. I thought I would have time every day to cook dinner and get some things done around the house. I even thought I might tackle some of my long put-off projects and personal goals.

I quickly learned that newborns have a schedule of their own. I’m now learning that it will be a while before I can expect AJ to be on a schedule at all. And my hopes of completing those projects gathering dust in my house and brain? I now call it a successful day if I have time to unload the dishwasher.

AJ was eating every three hours almost on the dot for about two weeks. Then she had a growth spurt, and would go an hour and twenty-two minutes and need fed again, then it would be three hours and fifty-two minutes, and so on, driving my structured-minded-self crazy. Now the times she eats differ day to day.

Some days she sleeps almost all day, while others she doesn’t nap at all. We will have three or four days of almost no crying, and then a whole day is spent in tears.

If I wake up wanting to go somewhere by 11, I’m lucky if I can get us there by 2. There is always a diaper blowout, unscheduled feeding or random cry that puts a kink in my plans.

We are currently trying to set a bedtime, which has gone about as well as everything else I’ve tried to do on a schedule.

I thought I was the only one struggling with this until the topic came up while catching up with a friend. We realized we were both going through the same thing. Although I feel for every mom struggling with this, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

I know eventually AJ will get on a schedule. It will be when she’s ready, not when I am. So for now I’ve decided to (try to) embrace the spontaneity of each day.

I’m learning new things every day as a mom, flexibility being the latest.

In Defense of a Little Drama

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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I spent lat week immersed in drama.theater mask

The drama became so all-consuming  that I actually had to take a couple of days off work to deal with dysfunctional family dynamics, jealousy and romance. And I enjoyed every minute.

That’s because the drama was on stage, where drama belongs.

My daughter was in a youth summer production of Cinderella, and her involvement required parental involvement. I supervised, ushered, sold gifts, stayed up past midnight several nights in a row and made food for the cast party.

But, as my husband so eloquently said, since I’m the one who got my daughter interested in drama, I’m responsible for all that involves.

What he doesn’t realize is that, for such a generally pragmatic person, I crave drama. I grew up with a dad who performed in local theater, and I loved going to plays, especially musicals. But even at a young age, I knew there was more to theater than the story the audience sees on stage.

In reality, the audience members actually get the short end of the deal. That’s because the genuine magic of theater doesn’t happen on the stage. Sometimes, it doesn’t even happen backstage.

It happens with the voice teachers who encourage their students to take a risk and audition for a part in a musical.

It happens with artists who can envision a set and the carpenters and painters who can build it.

It happens in the pit with musicians who can pick up an instrument and learn a piece of music instantly.

And most of all, it occurs in the relationships that are built not with the intent of beating another team or winning a championship. but on making people smile, think, cry, imagine and relate to others.

When a team is focused entirely on that, they can only encourage each other and cheer each other on.

Last week, an adult (make that this adult) made a comment about an actor’s off-key performance. My daughter didn’t even let me finish the sentence.

“He’s nervous, Mom,” she said harshly. “Don’t be critical.”

Last week, I heard parents debating why some youth always get a speaking part while others don’t (yes, this parent was involved in that conversation.) My daughter told me that being part of a cast is fun no matter what the role is.

Last week, I tolerated mothers who worried over hairstyles and costumes. At the same time, I witnessed kids who are generally labeled as misfits being included, hugged and encouraged by their peers.

Last week, I saw adults bringing in large bouquets of fresh flowers to bestow upon the actresses, musicians, directors and producers. At the same time, I sold four plastic  flowers to a member of the cast who spent a great deal of time deliberating over just the right message to send to four girls in the chorus: girls who didn’t have any lines.  According to the notes the actor finally wrote, all four girls were “amazing stars.”

And he was right.

Everyone involved in the production was contributing his or her unique gifts to make the show a success. Every parent who lost sleep and hauled kids to performances and fundraisers made the show possible. And each person who bought a ticket was telling our young people that theater is important.

I never had that opportunity. For whatever reason, the theater department at my high school was defunct when I graduated. The football, basketball, baseball, track and volleyball programs were all fully supported, but I never heard one person complain that my class never put on a school play.

That saddens me as much today as it did when I was a teenager.

I know the odds of anyone becoming a Hollywood star are just as astronomical as the odds of  someone becoming a star athlete. But the odds of a person using the skills they learned in theater – confidence, positive relationships, public speaking and public relationships are extremely good.

And if we support local and youth theater – and the drama that comes with it – the odds are even better.

It’s time we play those odds.

Great (and Not So Great) Expectations

Wednesday, July 17, 2013
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Sometimes, I think the hardest part of being a parent has nothing to do with my children and everything to do with how I react to other people.

I know most are well-intentioned, but their expectations of my children are sometimes completely off base.

Take, for example, the assumptions people automatically make about my teenage son and the sports he plays.

The thing is, my son has never had much interest in playing sports, and when he hit adolescence, he lost any interest he once had.

Over the years, I’ve come to accept that their questions have absolutely nothing to do with my son and have everything to do with other people’s perceptions of how the world works. They are trying to make conversation and often feel bad when their efforts fall flat.

So I generally try to move the conversation forward by talking about his musical interests.

But a few weeks ago, I started redirecting questions about my daughter.

She has been rehearsing for a local stage production of the musical Annie, and naturally everyone is asking what character she is playing.

Initially, I said “she is only in the chorus.”

But Kendall doesn’t think she is “only” in the chorus. She believes she is a part of something great, and she doesn’t care that she doesn’t have a speaking role.

She simply loves the theater.

She’s always loved singing and dressing up, and musical theater provides the opportunity to do both. While I am surrounded by parents bragging about their children’s roles, I’m not bragging at all. Instead, I am watching my daughter glow because she is doing what she loves.

Her happiness on the stage has served as yet another learning stage for me as a parent.

There is nothing wrong with having pride when our children excel, but there is even greater satisfaction witnessing them get passionate about something bigger than themselves.

Nice Girls

Wednesday, June 12, 2013
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The girl’s costumes matched the costumes of the other dancers, but her moves were nothing like theirs.

Instead of tapping, she stood awkwardly in the middle of the stage and occasionally shuffled her feet. Instead of jumping and leaping, she swayed from side to side. And her arms hung limply at her side instead of moving in sync with the other girls.

But as both of her dance numbers ended, she waved wildly at the audience then clapped three times.

Not only did the audience cheer enthusiastically, but so did the dancers backstage.

Even though she’s been in my daughter’s dance recitals for the past few years, I only recently learned that the girl’s name is Grace. I still don’t know the exact nature of her cognitive disability. What I do know is that I’ve never once heard anyone make fun of her or complain that she is ruining a dance number.

In fact, the only time I’ve heard anyone talking about her was this past weekend when I spent numerous hours as a backstage mom “supervising” a group of middle school dancers.

In reality, I did very little supervising and a whole lot of listening.

As the girls watched the performances on a grainy television feed in their dressing room, they didn’t point out anyone’s mistakes or missteps. Instead they cheered on and complimented everyone, including the dancer who didn’t really dance.

“She is always so happy,” said one girl. “That’s just adorable.”

“She has a signature move,” said one of the star dancers. “She claps three times and then everyone else claps.”

“Have you noticed how all the other girls in her class take care of her?” asked another. “That’s so awesome.”

I agreed that was awesome. But I don’t think the girls recognized just how awesome they are too.

In a society in which adolescent girls are often depicted as being self-absorbed and mean-spirited, the dancers were building each other up instead of tearing each other down. In a world in which out performing others is often described as success, they were more focused on being kind. And on a stage where a disabled girl simply wanted to dance, they simply wanted to cheer her on.

If that isn’t reason to have hope for our future, I don’t know what is.

Whatever Happened to Sundays?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
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I generally don’t wallow in memories or think my best days are behind me. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy reminiscing. I do.

But I also know that everything looks better in the rear-view mirror when there’s no place to turn around, and life wasn’t really any better in the past. Well, it wasn’t any better with the exception of Sundays.

Sundays used to be the one day of the week that families were guaranteed time with each other.

Not anymore.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when youth sports and other activities began creeping into Sundays from every other day on the calendar. But they are no longer creeping. They have arrived and are taking over.

Just last week I was talking to an Episcopal priest who was lamenting that even though confirmation has been on her church calendar for almost a year, her students now have conflicts because of sports.

That saddens me.

I believe our children should be involved in activities, but they shouldn’t be over involved. Building resumes for our children shouldn’t be more important than building in family time.

Family time isn’t a few minutes of conversation in the car while rushing a child from activity to activity.

Family time isn’t sitting on the bleachers with other families while you talk about, rather than with, your children.

And family time isn’t about ensuring the homework is done or that the latest musical number is rehearsed.

Real family time is about shutting out the rest of the world and simply spending time with each other doing nothing that will ever be in a college application and everything that will create life-long memories.

Sundays used to be the day that everyone got that, and my parents were masters at making the most of them.

My mom always had Sunday dinner on the table by 1:00 PM, and we were all expected to be there no matter what. Sunday afternoons were magical because we were never expected to accomplish anything. And every Sunday evening, we made popcorn and watched television together. At some point in the evening, we had to begin preparations for the next school or work day, but for a few hours on Sunday we were simply a family unit.

I wish I could say I’m following the tradition my parents set, but I’m not. I too have gotten sucked into a culture of  “go.”  If and when my children don’t have something on their schedule on Sunday, I’m trying to tackle all the chores left undone during the work week.

But they say that recognizing a problem is the first step, and I’m definitely taking it.

I don’t want to look in the rear-view mirror and regret everything I didn’t see and enjoy because I was going to fast. I may not be able to turn around and go back, but I can slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life – simple pleasures like spending time with family on Sunday afternoon.

Dog days of summer

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
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One of us is having fun this summer.

  I have a confession to make: I hate summer.

  I didn’t always feel like this, certainly not as a kid, certainly not when I lived in Florida where it is summer year-round.

  But now I have a preschool-aged daughter. And I work from home. So summer has become a challenge.

  In a perfect world, our summer would be filled with things like sunscreen, freeze pops, lightning bugs in glass jars, hot dogs on the grill, splashing in the pool and sleeping late.

  In reality, it’s me struggling to come up with a cheap activity for each day that will entertain and/or wear out a 4-year-old. It’s me struggling to get a few moments to edit a few stories so I can get paid. It’s me struggling to stay awake late into the night to work after getting up at the crack of dawn (that sleeping in thing hasn’t caught on with my small person yet).

  Summer is also a struggle for me, because, well, I’m a homebody. I like my house. I like being in it. I feel safe and comfortable there. But when the sun is shining I feel like I should be out doing something. I love those winter days when we don’t even get out of our pajamas. In the summer though, I feel compelled to get my daughter outside. Of course within five minutes we’re both covered in mosquito bites…

  I also like structure and routine. So does my daughter. These endless, unscheduled days are a bit scary. During the school year, we’ve got it down pat. Wake up early, preschool dropoff, rush home to work, preschool pickup, have lunch, hang out, sometimes a nap, playground or playdate or playtime, prepare dinner, play, read, bath, bed. Rinse. Repeat.

  Don’t get me wrong. We are spending lots of quality time together and doing fun summer stuff. We’ve been to the pool and library, we go to the concerts on the levee every Friday, we’ve done FestivALL, we’ve hit every playground, we’re learning to ride a bike, we’ve been to the Clay Center, we’ve been to movies, we’ve taken a trip into the mountains. Sometimes we just run up and down the steps in front of the Capitol. (Hey, whatever works.)

  It’s the working from home thing that’s throwing me. It’s virtually impossible to accomplish that with a loud (but adorable) 4-year-old in the house.

  I’m guessing I’m not alone in my summer conundrum. What do other moms do during these long summer days trying to juggle work and childcare? I’m trying to plan ahead to avoid this next summer. I’ve sent my daughter to a few camps at her preschool. But I’m wondering what the other options are in Charleston. Do you send your kids to daycare? Hire a babysitter? Any other fun camps around? Or do you just suck it up and count down to fall?

  And what about moms who stay at home with their young kids, because I fit that bill too? How do you fill your days to keep yourself and your kids from going totally mad?