We are closing in on the end of our WE STAYED AT HOME Spring Break, and if you’d like to know how that has gone, let me share these things with you.
The boy discovered Johnny Cash. He also discovered that he prefers to listen to Johnny croon about walking lines at VOLUME NINE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED AND TWELVE. Johnny has become the fifth person in our house, as he wont. shut. up. Lest you think Johnny Cash is the only one playing music, let me tell you that Thing 2 is taking piano lessons now, and he has had a deep need to practice, regardless of the fact that he has not practiced his actual song for the week, as much as he has practiced banging on the low, baritone keys (which probably have a name, but HELLO, MISS MUSICALLY ILLITERATE!) in a rhythmic way that mimics the Jolly Green Giant running across your living room and putting his foot through the floorboards. Also, I needed ice in my drinking glass this morning, so I put it under the ice maker in the door of our refrigerator, and, along with five ice cubes, out came a frozen blue Nerf gun dart. It landed in my glass with a soft thunk. The boy and I stared at it, as he asked, “How did that happen?” I think it’s clear that the boy has never been a parent before, because honestly? A frozen-solid dart falling out of the ice maker with the ice cubes? I don’t even bat an eye at something like that. What I bat an eye at is the picture that was drawn on my living room wall, behind the sofa, in black Sharpie maker.
What else about Spring Break ’19 would you like to know? For starters, we got up at 5:08 this morning, because Thing 2 had wet his bed. This NEVER happens at our house, because Thing 2 is what you commonly call A CAMEL CROSSING THE DESSERT, as he never has a need to use the bathroom… ever. He has been dry at night since he was a tiny baby, so of course we would pull off a wet bed at 5:08 on a vacation morning. When he walked into my room and shook me out of my beloved REM sleep, saying, “I have wet every blanket on my bed,” I casually whispered a word that cannot be found anywhere in the Bible, because the thing I love more than waking up at 5:08 on a Spring Break morning is having gobs of laundry to do on a Spring Break morning. All the blesses and the lovely amens.
So… we were up early. Thing 2 made his own breakfast of chocolate Rice Krispies, because I caved at the grocery store earlier this week and bought SOMEWHAT HEALTHY CEREAL, when he pushed for some off-brand cereal which boasted that it had more marshmallows than all the other leading brands combined. Chocolate-flavored rice seemed a compromise that we could both live with. Naturally, the kitchen floor was covered in Rice Krispie pieces, because that’s what tends to happen when a circus monkey sits on his haunches on the kitchen counter and shakes tiny bits of food out of a big box into a small bowl. These Rice Krispies were then walked upon and ground into a nice, brown powder, that was vaguely reminiscent of the Great Dust Bowl in the 1930s. This was because the kitchen floors were cleaned to a pristine shine on Tuesday, and they’d obviously been clean long enough. And then, while the boy practiced his clarinet in his bedroom, because of something called I AM PLAYING A SOLO IN MY BAND CONCERT IN TWO WEEKS AND SHOULD PROBABLY PRACTICE, SO THAT I DO NOT PLAY THE WRONG NOTES AND BRING SHAME UPON MY FAMILY, Thing 2 used every chair and bar stool and blanket (save for his own blankets, which were in the dryer at the time) to build a fort the size of Texas in my bedroom. Our bed had become the south wall of the fort, while the rest of it extended across all eight acres of hardwood floor in there and completely blocked the doorway, because that fort was large enough to obliterate the sun. You can imagine that I was extremely relaxed and calm when I needed to actually get into my bedroom to put some laundry away that I had folded, when I moved Star Wars sheets and blankets from the washer to the dryer.
And… the Lego crisis this week has become an epidemic of proportions never before seen in the free world. Think THE PLAGUE OF LOCUSTS IN EXODUS, EXCEPT INSTEAD OF BUGS, IT’S ALL LEGO BRICKS FALLING FROM THE SKY AND COVERING THE FLOORS OF ALL THE HOUSES. Pharaoh’s magicians have no hope of ever being able to replicate the plague of Legos, because… well… it’s daunting, to say the least. We did clean up the Legos today… and we folded all twelve hundred blankets draped over all eight chairs and stools… and we put that clarinet away… and we went to lunch at a little posh place that uses linen napkins and serves wine at noon. And… as much as I thought about ordering a glass of grape juice, I ended up getting a Coke with ice… but no frozen Nerf darts. I believe the phrase you’re looking for is RESPONSIBLE PARENTING.
We met Hubs at the restaurant. The boy ordered a twenty-dollar plate of Cajun shrimp jambalaya, because he clearly wasn’t using his own debit card today. Thing 2 ate his weight in grilled chicken and fresh apples with fruit dip (which was some kind of delicious concoction, probably stirred up by Willy Wonka himself, with marshmallow cream and vanilla yogurt). We had a good time. When we left, I told the boy, “You be sure to tell all your friends who come back with suntans after being in Hawaii over Spring Break that YOU got the twenty-dollar plate of shrimp jambalaya, which you enjoyed as much as you would have enjoyed Maui, just without the price of the airfare!”
What Mama needed when we got home this afternoon was a little bit of quiet time, and that was EASILY achieved with the help of a little website called education.com.
I’ve done blog posts for education.com before. They’re a company dedicated to furthering little kids in their educations. My favorite thing is that they provide worksheets, which can be downloaded for free American dollars and used at home, and they are FUN TO DO. This is essential, because if it’s not fun to do, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth at our house. So, I printed out a couple of worksheets for Thing 2 this afternoon, and he plopped down at the kitchen counter with a purple marker and a pencil.
And. He. Was. Quiet.
On his first worksheet, he had to find all the hidden Easter eggs. He told me, “This is amazing! It’s like a treasure hunt… but for eggs instead of gold!” In other words, it was basically Oak Island for kids… but with a happy ending, where something was actually found.
After hunting for eggs from the comfort of our kitchen bar stool, we switched tactics, and Thing 2 had to do some genuine writing with a pencil. The worksheet from education.com had a little story for him to read, with spots for him to fill in the blanks with first grade, Easter sight words.
And… I only shook my head a little bit and sighed when Thing 2 announced, “I had no idea that I was going to have to read anything on my vacation!” Yes, my son. Sometimes we really DO have to read on our vacations. It can’t be PAJAMAS AND LEGOS AT 2 PM every single day!
But… read it he did! He read through the little paragraph, self-correcting when he decided to put the wrong word in the blank at one point. His mama clapped for him, because clearly his teacher has taught him well at school. He erased with enthusiasm and gusto… and then he brushed all the eraser crumbs off the counter, straight onto my kitchen floor, because OF COURSE HE DID! I had just swept the entire kitchen after our Rice Krispie debacle this morning!
Our little Thing 2 finished his worksheet, which was aimed straight at his first grade reading level, with a sense of pride and accomplishment. Never mind that he didn’t use his best handwriting; we are on Spring Break!
If you need fifteen minutes of quiet at your own house… or if you want to challenge your kiddos academically… I would like to encourage you to look at the education.com website. There are so many fun worksheets available for teachers and moms, to keep our little people thinking and learning and smiling and growing. Education.com is going to be our go-to source for enriching our summer vacation in a couple of months, so that we keep our little brain sharp for second grade!
And… while you’re sitting with your little man, wondering if BUNNY is spelled with one N or two, you can also work in a little conversation called HOW DID A BLUE NERF GUN DART END UP IN OUR ICE MAKER?