As long as Doug works in public accounting, Spring Break for us will always be more of a Spring Brake. We stay put. Take things slow. Go nowhere. And I like it that way.
The neighborhood empties out. Only a few cars troll down the street. We bake treats, eat outside for lunch, ride the quiet roads.
In a neighborhood with no sidewalks, this private drive that runs behind our house is a perfect speedway.
Here they go…
About a month ago, I stood here watching them with my hand clutched to my chest and one eye closed. We didn’t have helmets for the boys and the image of a major head injury kept flashing across my mind. They were going So. Darn. Fast.
So I texted Doug and said, “We need helmets. Stat.”
Bless his heart. A few seconds later, he replied. “Done. They’ll arrive in a couple days.” Now that’s service!
I’ve calmed down a bit. I’m okay with them on the private speedway now. But the streets? I’m a mess, wondering where they’ve tootled off to and yelling at them to move off to the side when a car is coming. It’s like trying to follow five pin-balls. Last Friday, Gordon had a near miss with a car that almost necessitated CPR. For me.
That day pretty much put me in the loony bin. Chasing them all over tarnation. I finally dragged all things with wheels into a time-out and shut them in our pantry. Wiggle cars, Skuuts, Scooters. (We put a lock on our pantry door a while ago. No need to explain that one.)
Days earlier, Gordon split his Skuut right down the fork. Apparently he’d gone looking for his sisters who had strayed too far from home.
He was flying down a side street when a truck backed out in front of him. Gordy had the presence of mind to move out of the way and ride onto some grass so he wouldn’t hit the truck, but he was going so fast he slammed into a fence, split his bike, and went hurdling into the fence. (All this from the man in the truck who followed him home.)
“I was wearing my helmet Mom, ” he said.
And good thing he was. All this wanderlust at high speeds is giving me angina.
If I survive boys it will be a blessed miracle.
We went through two boxes of band-aids over Spring Break. Road rash on Spencer’s upper-lip turned into an awesome mustache. Doug thought he looked like Charlie Chaplin. Fair likeness, I would say.
The boys have taken to exploring the neighborhood despite my attempts to keep them in our backyard. Thank heavens we have exceptional neighbors who welcome their visits. I gave the kids a little more freedom over the break because the neighborhood was so empty. But climbing on Marion’s waterfall is off limits. Yet there they are.
So is leaving without asking. And there they go. See those little specs on the hill across from our driveway?
I might need to invest in two long leashes, or a tracking device we can implant in their forearms.
The girls also did some exploring. They discovered Miss Susie’s cottage. A darling little playhouse with dress-ups, dinnerware, clothesline, baskets, and fairy-mushroom chairs.
They were in heaven, setting up house, decorating with tiny flowers, cooking for each other.
Susie is so kind. They purposely put an entrance to their yard on every side.
The boys dug in Susie’s sandbox. (Classic Spencer face.)
We were given charge of our friends’ bunnies while they were out of town. So we fed them each day, got them out to play. The kids fell in love with Theodore and Carly.
I’ve not been one for pets, but this week almost persuaded me to get our own bunnies. So easy to care for. Maybe once we get the boys potty-trained?
Speaking of potty-training… every time (EVERY time) we went to feed the bunnies, the boys wet their pants. And sometimes it wasn’t just number one. I kept putting them in underwear (silly, I know) because I thought spring break was the perfect time for toilet triumph.
But two weeks later, we’re still not there. And the fact that Gordon is climbing over a fence is oh so typical.
Some days it rained…
and Gordon searched for worms.
One day he and Sami found 26! (She counted.) Here’s part of their stash. Does that gross you out? For some reason, it doesn’t gross them out. They love worms.
Occasionally, being inside got to be a little much. We call this Refrigerator Gymnastics.
And I have to tell you a little more about our neighbor, Miss Marion. She is going straight to heaven.
Marion lives behind us. One day while she was out planting her pansies, my kids plus four extras descended on her and offered to help. Most of us would freak out with so many “helping” hands, but Marion just started giving directions, encouraging the kids, enjoying the moment. By the end of all their “speed planting,” every one of those kids felt like they were her favorite person. Like they’d saved her hours of hard labor. (Good thing pansies are hardy.)
Talk about patient love. Everyone needs a neighbor like Marion.
It was a good Spring Brake. I was a nicer Mom. With nowhere to go, no homework to do, no early wake-up or early bedtime. But despite all my attempts to slow us down, it was still kind of exhausting. And now all that freedom I doled out has necessitated a crack-down. A reigning in and retraining to keep the kids from venturing off without telling me. Hopefully we can restore order soon.
One day when I told Gordon they had gone too far from home he said, “Why you worried, Mom? You worried because you couldn’t see us?”
I said, “Yes.”
Then he said, “But we could see ourselves.”
Not bad logic. Not bad. Thank goodness someone else is watching over them besides me. I pray every morning for their safety. That God will keep them alive.
This spring has given me a taste of what summer might be like. I have spent a few days doing nothing else but chasing my kids around the neighborhood, trying to keep up.
At some point though, I do need to cook something, move the laundry, do the dishes.
Always dynamic, this mothering thing. We’re always changing, reinventing, strategizing.
I’m speaking at BYU Women’s Conference (a gathering for LDS women) on May 2nd about mothering young children. I’m slightly stressed because my talk isn’t coming together, nothing is flowing, and I’m straining to find the right words. I haven’t the perspective that seasoned mothers have. So I’m praying the right thoughts will come, that I can efficiently say what God needs me to say.
One of the gals I am speaking with (both are amazing – come hear THEM!) asked if I knew what I was wearing yet. Hadn’t even thought about it. All I knew was that it had to be something that didn’t show my sweaty pits. Because you can bet they’ll be working overtime.
And moving on to the good news: It’s April 15th! If you listen quietly you can hear me cheering across the northern hemisphere.
15 candles for April 15th. And M&Ms. His favorite.
Can’t wait to have Daddy home.