Friday, June 1, 2012

Mom Angst Grows As Summer Break Looms

Today is the last day of school for The Peanut.  Ahead, the long summer break stretches before us like an inviting oasis of awesome.

At least, it does for her. 

Until the "I'm bored" portion of the summer sets in, anyway.  Which is inevitable about 3 days in, I fear.  (Anyone else's kids get there at the speed of light despite having a bazillion things to do in their own houses, too?  Crazy.)

For me, though?  I'm having a little bit of mom anxiety this morning.  We have reached that age where she has begun to assert her own, individual sense of self into the mix with ever increasing intensity. 

But I fear that I am not equipped to handle this stage very well. 

Don't get me wrong:  it is a really good thing, especially for a child who has been really, really good at following directions and trying to make the adults around her happy.  I am thrilled that her own opinions are surfacing and that she's confident enough to express them.  Truly.  I never got there as a child because, in my family anyway, I wasn't allowed to have a differing opinion without paying a hefty price for it, and I do not want that for The Peanut.  I want her to know that her own voice is important to us, and that her opinion matters a lot.

But I can be impatient, especially when I'm trying to keep us all on schedule or get something done efficiently. 

Sometimes my tone can sound a little too sharp when I don't intend it to because it is just the way things were at my house growing up and it is, I fear, ingrained and involuntary.  It requires a lot of concentration for me to moderate.  When I'm tired or rushed, it tends to slip out even more, and that is absolutely the worst time for all of us to go on edge.

The key is to be ever-conscious of my own tone, working on it from the inside so that it doesn't slip out so much.  I don't think I'm sounding hyper-critical at the time but, as Mr. ReddHedd pointed out this morning, it comes out a little more sharply than my own ears hear it because my own ears are hearing something much less sharp than I was used to as a kid.  Not an excuse, but definitely something to keep in mind.

And so?  I will be working on that for the summer as my own personal project:  use the tone you wish you had heard.

Beyond that, I've been trying to come up with a list of things we can do for fun when the "I'm bored" whining begins.  Here are a few options I've come up with for our house:

-- go to the pool
-- go bowling
-- go to the park
-- go for a walk
-- work on a puzzle and watch a movie
-- find a craft project to work on together
-- go for a nature walk and do some sketches along the way
-- play a board or an active Wii game
-- do some cleaning (if nothing else, that one is guaranteed to moderate the "I'm bored" whining)
-- read
-- read some more
-- read together on the big bed in our room in the air conditioned splendor on a hot day
-- turn on some music and dance around the living room
-- cook something fancy
-- bake cookies
-- color
-- take the dog for a walk
-- weed the flowers
-- get some ice cream
-- have a picnic
-- fly a kite at the park
-- make some new slides for the microscope and learn about what is on them
-- clean out the closets and take donations to Goodwill
-- paint our toenails an obnoxious color
-- volunteer at the local animal shelter

But I know there are more things that ought to be added.  If you have some good ideas, please add them in the comments.  Believe me, I am all ears!

(YouTube -- Martina McBride singing "In My Daughter's Eyes.")

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