In the 14 days since the school year officially ended, vast modifications have already taken place in the Beam household to combat the restlessness of summer break. Some of which have been good, some bad, and some downright ugly. But, like the Uruguay rugby team stranded after their plane crashed in the Andes, we do what we must to survive.
Already, the kids have switched to their summer sleep schedule. The aforementioned schedule being that there really isn’t a schedule, more of a window of bedtime opportunities as varied as their never ending excuses to stay up late. But since we’d rather watch the NBA playoffs than the early morning Today Show, my husband and I submit.
Each night, we pray the late night hours will erase the kids’ learned routine of waking at 6:30 A.M. during the school year, when they’d grumble and cry about getting out of bed so early. In the winter, a promise of perennial presents underneath the evergreens couldn’t arouse these hibernating cubs. But now, like a rooster or a guy who makes donuts, they wake at the crack of dawn; eager for a day where we have nowhere to go and nothing to do. How to reverse this seasonal situation is one of the great mysteries of the parenting world.
Likewise, the boys already have been sent to their respective timeout corners on numerous occasions, their brawls quite reminiscent of the “Thrilla in Manila” except I’m the one throwing in a chlorinated beach towel after round 14. At least 500 sentences have been written ranging from “I will not eat hand sanitizer when someone dares me” to “I’ll never again get my brother in a submission hold called The Walls of Jericho. “War and Peace” will have fewer pages than the collected summer sentence archives of the brothers Beam.
In an effort to stop this rough housing, I’ve tried introducing my two oldest to stories of siblings throughout history who have worked together and achieved great things, like Orville and Wilber Wright or the Kennedy brothers without the girlfriend sharing. Somehow, the kids have decided the Marx brothers should be their role models. I obviously play the straight man to their vaudeville-like behavior. So long as they don’t discover the story of Romulus and Remus, I think we’ll endure until August.
Giving them some much needed time apart from each other, and from me, I’ve enrolled all three in summer camps. The amount and types of programs amaze me. Parents may pick from camps specializing in nature, Taekwondo, ballet, science, Legos, music, drama, art and every sport imaginable. We’ve stayed away from fencing, archery and certain science labs for obvious reasons, as if my children need any incentive to turn our backyard into the fourth installment of The Hunger Games. These skills could tip the odds forever in their sibling rivalry favor, a chance I’m not willing to take.
Survival of the fittest has been proven this summer. Now if Darwin could have advocated a theory of poolside parenting, my world would be a much more relaxing place.