Thursday, September 3, 2009

Autopsy of A Summer

This summer was an experiment.

It was the first time I abided by my kids' wishes and let them stay home. 

When I told mom friends of our plans, I endured their quizzical faces and their gentle suggestions of, "Are you sure that's such a good idea?".

NO.  I wasn't sure.  But past history of spending thousands of dollars on camps only to have them come home whining about how much they hated them didn't thrill me as an option either.

So I went with saving the money.  (Hello, we have a Bat Mitzvah in October!) 

I turned the experiment into an opportunity.  My kids and I would enjoy quiet, no pressure time together.  We would play tourists in our hometown.  We would do ALL the things we thought about during the year but were too busy or tired to get to.

I diligently assembled a list of local sites: museums, the observatory, amusement parks.

This was going to be fun.

And, having no carpool schedule was, admittedly, a HUGE TURN ON for me.

We began our adventure with two weeks visiting family in Park City.    We hiked, we biked, we took boat rides.

This was going to be easy. 

Then we returned home, I took the path of least resistance.  No rules.  No regulations.  NO technological time limits.  I let my kids go with the flow. 

They slept in.  They stayed in their pajamas.  They ate breakfast for lunch.  My daughter was delirious.  She stayed in bed all day with her laptop.   The internet was her new boyfriend and she could survive the entire day without food or water escaping her lover's amorous grasp only to pee. 

My son had his own romance with the Wii.  He, and sometimes his friends, would play Madden '09, Ghost Squad, and NBA basketball for hours only emerging from the playroom for snacks and water.

But too much of a good thing... soon the drug of hedonism wore off.  My kids needed more to satisfy them.  And even then, the high just wasn't the same.  My daughter lagged.  My son whined.  I became cranky.

We needed to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. 

So, despite their screachy protestations (my neighbors must have thought I was taking my son for repeated limb amputations the way he yelled and shrieked), I dragged my kids to Chinatown, the Grammy Museum, the Petersen Auto Museum, Hurricane Harbor, the Malibu Tide Pools.  We even hit our local beach which is something we NEVER do. 

They loved Hurricane Harbor but predictably whined at the museums.  My son just wanting to hit the gift shop and my daughter only interested in how the colors of the cars matched her nail polish collection.  And though the beach sounds like a relaxing afternoon for most, my kids hated it, so, it was no day at the beach.  

Thankfully, as we were all at our wits end, my husband came home one night in the beginning of August, and after years of begging him for a trip to Hawaii, he decided it was time to oblige.  We used our miles, found a hotel, and off we went for five glorious days in Kona. 

And now, here we are.  Less than a week away from the start of school.

How do I rate my summer?

Well,  I can't honestly call my experiment a success, but I wouldn't call it an absolute failure either.  It was an experience.  Not all good.  Not all bad.  Just different. 

Would I do it again? 

I'm not sure. 

Am I looking forward to school?


and No.

Maybe I'm no smarter than I was in the beginning of the summer.  Maybe I have no real wisdom to share.  But in the end, we all survived.  We're all happy.  We're all still talking to each other.

And, the one thing I CAN take away from this experiment is...My kids can never again say I never give them anything.

And rest assured...I'll figure out how to use that to my advantage somehow.



Headless Mom said...

You're one up on us. We didn't hit the beach even ONCE!

phd in yogurtry said...

Experimentation and change are good. Your summer sounded a lot like ours. I look back and cherish my lazy summer days growing up. Sleeping in, eating meals at will, no schedule. And here I am, an avid reader, intellectually curious (I think?) and fully edumacated. So I think it'll work out just fine.

Besides. You got a trip to Hawaii out of the deal.


p.s. we are two weeks into school and whewwww. hello homework, hello mom's tennis raquet!

bernthis said...

oh the money I would have saved. Frankly, when my kid is a bit older I might just try the same thing, for a week.

anymommy said...

I truly think it's great that you tried this and that you were willing to let them direct their own time (to a point!). I always struggle with the overcommitted thing. I want my kids to be busy, but a lot of it is about getting them out of my hair!

©2010 All rights reserved. Reproductions of any portion of this website only at the express permission of