The kids and I have enjoyed exactly three days of summer vacation so far. They've been good days, mostly spent outside, but I can already tell I'm going to need to impose a little structure on the chilluns, lest we all morph into lazy bums by August. Really tan lazy bums.
I've got a few ideas, but sometimes I'm not exactly the best at follow-through, so I'm going to share a couple of them here in the hopes that either: A) You all will help keep me accountable or B) I'll be spurred on by the simple shame of having told everyone I was going to do awesome stuff with my kids and then not actually doing it. Whatever works.
I recently read a fantastic book (which I will be posting a review of on the Books page here in the next couple days) about a mother of five who decided that she was tired of catering to her spoiled children and spent a full year teaching them to work: cleaning the house, cooking family meals, running household errands, etc. My first response was a little, ahem, extreme, but after all the ideas I'd gleaned from the book had been marinating in the cerebrospinal fluid around my brain (okay, sorry, that was kind of gross) for awhile, I started getting some pretty good ideas for our kids for this summer. The first one I'm going to try implementing is going to involve the Fruits of the Spirit, as defined in Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. Against such things there is no law."
You see, lately I've been noticing a small change in Adelaide. More scowling, speaking to her brothers, Derek, and I in disrespectful tones, ingratitude. She hasn't been doing any of these things a whole lot, and it tends to be when she's already tired or cranky, but it's been enough to make me sit up and notice. Of course we've been talking to her about it, disciplining when necessary, but I'm kind of tired of feeling like we're the ones on defense, and this definitely feels like behavior I want to nip in the bud. Adelaide has always been our easy child; obviously not perfect, but generally obedient and good-natured.
Enter my little plan. In the book, the mother adds a new cleaning task or way to serve the family each month; this summer, the kids and I will be discussing a different "fruit" each week. We'll start Monday, and this first week we'll be discussing Love. We'll talk about what love is, how we can show it to others- both within our household and without- etc. I have a fun little fruit-themed craft planned that we will add to each week as we add on different fruits.
I keep reading about how the best way to keep weeds out of your lawn is to have thick, healthy grass growing. I'm hoping that by really focusing on these fruits with Adelaide and her brothers, we'll plant enough good, healthy beliefs and behavior to help weed out some of those less desirable attitudes that have been cropping up. I do plan on doing a little update post at the end of each week so you can see how it's going, and also to keep the accountability/shame part of it in effect.
That's my biggest plan so far. We have a book of science experiments for kids (thanks, Stacie and Grant!) that I'd like to work through this summer, and I'm going to try and be purposeful about assigning Adelaide some simple math problems each week. Oh, and books. Lots and lots of books. And probably some story-writing. And I'm already starting to feel overwhelmed.
Now, for those of you who have stuck with me clear to end of this long post, here is your reward:
Last night, as I was trying to stuff Caedmon into his pajamas that may be just a teensy bit too small, Atticus was talking about the relative merits of certain parts of his anatomy- this fascination appears to start young in the male of our species. At one point, he paused, looking quizzically at one of his toys, and asked me, "Mom, why does Linda have a pee-pee on her head?"
Then I almost died.
Because Linda is a unicorn.