June: Summer has just started. Mommy has stocked the clean fridge with clear Glad-ware containers of sliced fruit and veggies. The filtered water pitcher has a new filter, and there are cups at kid-eye-level in the cupboard. Children wake, are given a good breakfast of whole-grain breakfast cereal, berries, milk. Teeth get brushed, shorts and t-shirts are put on. Perhaps we will read the funnies in the paper, then go out in the backyard. Lunch is sandwiches and cut veggies, served on the deck, under the umbrella. Afternoons, we go to the lake, the library, or the park. We come home to a snack of yogurt and crackers or fruit, then quiet time. Dinner is grilled, complete with vegetables, silverware, and a clean tablecloth. After dinner, outdoor play, books, and lightning bugs. Baths, tucked into bed with a good book and a kiss.
July: Summer's been around for a while. It's friggin' hot, and in Michigan, we don't have air conditioning. We wake up, sweaty, at 10 a.m. Mom is still asleep. She staggers downstairs, mumbling, "friggin' no air conditioning," and tries to remember if we have cereal. Oh, we do. Cereal is offered, in cups, with no milk. Milk is also offered in other cups. It's up to the kids if they want to combine them. Kids run around in underpants until almost noon, when mother realizes the folly of her ways, and insists they put on swim suits and go skim the pool until she has figured out what to do for lunch. THe answer: SNACKY LUNCH~! YAAAAY! It's a platter of cut-up bell peppers, some other veggies from the salad of last night, strawberries, crackers, and left over steak from last night. A few juice packs get tossed on the table. Children swarm like so many locusts. The snacky lunch platter is left with 2 mangled cucumbers, a wet cracker, and a flattened strawberry. Empty juice packs litter the floor. Kids run downstairs in wet swimsuits to watch Sponge Bob. An hour or so passes, and then Mom realizes the kids are still watching TV. She tosses them outside for "Pioneer Children" time. This is basically a modern version of "GO OUT AND PLAY, FOR GOD'S SAKE!" but with a better name. Mama plays on Facebook for an hour while the kids whine, swing in the hammock, squirt each other with the hose, and scream about bees. Dad gets home, and Mama quickly goes to stand by the sink, as though she's been cleaning. Dinner? Hotdogs on the grill, cooked by dad. Side vegetables? Chips. After dinner, mama has a cocktail, and kids ask to play on the Wii, while dad tries to get them to play outside. Mama shrugs. They remember to brush teeth and maybe their faces. Bedtime is after 10 p.m. and all the kids are told is "stay in your rooms." Mama hopes they will stay up until 3 a.m. and sleep until noon.
Kids are feral. They straggle out of bed at 10 or 11, wearing yesterday's shorts and t-shirts. Mama suggests they eat granola bars. Maybe lemonade? Kids shrug. Mama shrugs. Mama chugs espresso, contemplates trying to go back to sleep. Kids clamor for food. Mama looks at the clock and announces, HEY! BRUNCH! And mama scrambles some eggs, microwaves some bacon, and tells them to forage in the garden for raspberries and blackberries. THe kids sigh. Mama feeds them at maybe noon, and then declares "quiet time" for an hour. Mama tries to take a nap while the kids try to see if they can communicate through the heat ducts in their rooms. They succeed. After quiet time, the kids clamor for food again. Mama insists that European children ALL have yogurt and pretzels at this time each day. Maybe we should too?
Then mama realizes how slothful they've been and tries to recoup. Let's all go weed the garden! Shrugs. Ok, fine. I'll do it myself. You kids come out and play, at least. Shrugs, sighs. "I'll throw ice cubes in your underpants." OK. Out they go.
Mama weeds, kids pretend the ground is lava, and how can they get to Mt. Doom if it's all lava? Contortions follow, with much exclamation, shrieking, and laughter. Mama hears them and smiles. Now that's what summer is about.