What Surviving Summer Break Really Looks Like

Three months ago I wrote my blog post, Realities of Working From Home with a Child.  Summer has come and gone, and it is time to send my little Evie girl back to school.  We had adventures all summer; hikes, vacations, staycations, movies, playdates, and lots of ice cream.  Last week, as she started her new life in Transitional Kindergarten, I gladly sent her off.

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Mama needs some alone time.

As I’m sure a lot of mothers can attest to, sometimes you just need a break.  We had some great times this summer, but I have come to the realization that this year was much harder than last summer.  She’s older and wiser, super active and lost interest in taking a nap in the day.  It’s a tough job, and it’s only going to get harder.

For the first time, I find myself feeling that I don’t want her to age anymore.  Can she just stay 4 years old forever?  I wasn’t a huge fan of infancy, even being a mother to a toddler was rough.  Then she was walking and talking on her own, then learning and understanding.  It has been such a fascinating ride to be on for me.

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So how did the summer pan out regarding the post I wrote three months earlier?

First, the amount of work I had set as a goal was a lot harder to complete than I had originally thought.  I had high hopes for myself, and got a quick reality check early on in the summer.  Even the days that I had planned to sit her in front of a movie as I worked on the computer next to her were difficult.  I remember times that she would ask me questions about what I’m doing every 5 minutes, the same question, even if I answered her each time.  So, I adjusted my schedule for less work and more Evie-time.  Some days I would ask her for a good 15-20 minutes to just focus on emails in the morning, she would kindly entertain my request for about 5 minutes, then start singing songs about wanting to play together just in front of me.  It was a little ridiculous, but super cute.

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Secondly, I would be lucky if I could get to all the activities that I had planned to do with her in a day.  It may have seemed like we did a lot this summer, but we had more planned.  It was exhausting.  We didn’t have as many playdates as we would’ve liked just because, just like us, everyone’s schedules change in the summer.  Between being out of town or taking a day trip somewhere, we weren’t always available.  She did prefer being at home some days, after being out and about she just wanted to color at her desk or play with her legos.  This would have been ideal for me working from home, but she always wanted me to do it with her and it was hard to break away.  Some nights I would be so exhausted from the day, and stay up late to get some work, photo editing, or some writing in.

Surprisingly, she did find an activity that she consistently wanted to do… riding her 2-wheeled bicycle.  At the beginning of the summer, she was still weary about riding her “big girl bike”.  It was much larger than the pedal-less Skuut bike that she was used to, and she isn’t too comfortable stopping yet.  Now, when she rides her bike, she wants to show off; going fast, kicking out her legs, and riding up to her favorite places.  It was something I didn’t expect, what a difference in three months can make. She’s so proud of herself about it and I love that she really worked hard to get that feeling.

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Lastly, I am so grateful to have a pretty cool support staff for raising my daughter.  From a husband who can handle the bedtime teeth brushing duties as I’m trying to get work done, to close friends who can take her for an afternoon so I can run an errand.  It’s so important to know who that cast of characters are because motherhood can be lonely and stressful at times.  With our families in Chicago, we do appreciate having friends here that we can count on for such occasions.

Now, she’s too old for her previous preschool classroom and too young for kindergarten.  Apparently, it’s a new world of “transitional kindergarten” which seems to be everywhere in the Bay.  It’s like a cooler, more scheduled preschool.  There’s a sense of more mature concepts like science through baking bread and a maker’s table for new outlets of creativity.  I think the big difference is actually having a bit more organized activities and scheduling to encourage self-regulating and increasing concentration, getting them ready for kindergarten.  Whatever it is, she is READY.

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I know this year has already been crazy in the sense of her development (so much, that I actually have feelings of wishing she would stay this age), that I can only imagine that there’s more just around the corner with this TK program.  For now, I’m just glad to have some time back to myself again.

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