Sunday, December 1, 2013

Driving Me Crazy

Hey, there! I’m writing to you from a whole new era. A very good friend once described being the full time parent of kids between the ages of five and sixteen as being a “stay in the car mom.”

Hello, new job title!

I nearly fell out of my driver’s seat one day this fall when I realized I’d gone 70 MILES in the 24 HOURS since I put gas in the car. How do you drive seventy miles without going anywhere? The farthest I ever travel from the house is ONE 18-mile round trip to school a day. That leaves the remaining 52 miles for trips less than five miles from the house.

Audio books, here I come.

And, as expected, my schedule has shifted now that Little A.’s settling into big kid school. There’s the brutal morning marathon from 6:00 when I wake up to 8:45 when the bus picks up S., then I have a relatively peaceful five and a half hours alone. And, I admit, I have been going wild with all that time!

I mean—five and a half HOURS? I can’t remember the last time I had that kind of time. I know when it was, but I don’t actually remember it. Occupational hazard! Anyway, I went crazy this fall. If crazy means getting a huge backlog of doctors’ appointments and such things out of the way. I also did a little DIY home improvement. But I may have mentioned that….

So what is the biggest change in our day? The hours between school and bedtime.

I really believe that most of us modern Americans are overscheduled. In our house, we really try to keep it simple, but…holy moly! Both kids are involved in church activities one night a week, S. has scouting one night, piano one night, and circus most Saturdays. Little A. has clubs at school one afternoon and tae kwon do twice a week. Nothing unusual at all there, but…holy moly!

And, to top it all off, the kids change every time I look around! S., possibly the messiest and most creative kid ever, spent one weekend effectively cleaning her room for the first time ever—voluntarily! I mean, has she already left behind her childhood of collecting rocks, leaves, scraps of paper, scraps of yarn, and old cardboard boxes because “I’m going to make something out of this”? Is she already into the pre-teen “arranging” phase?

Little A. is “stealth reading”—as in, he can read just fine, but he doesn’t want to say so. Yet he points out jokes to me, like Ms. Frizzle of Magic School Bus fame making a speech while standing on the “speech” center of the brain. He read “speech” all on his own, folks. And he made a sign for his room that said, “Doo not entr.” Apparently, he’s going straight from kindergarten to age fifteen!

Maybe he can drive next year….

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