February break. If you don’t have a school-age kid in public school, maybe that phrase won’t chill you to your toes. A long time ago, in the Carter years, when there was an “energy crisis” (remember that? when we all get het up about energy conservation? yeah. that worked) — but that’s when this “break” started: saving schools on heating bills by closing ’em down.
And then, sort of like daylight savings time (seriously? the farmers still need an extra hour for the cows? tell it to the automated milking machines), the February break got entrenched, stuck around, like those last filthy lumps of snow in the shady parts of the streets.
February break started this afternoon, when kids poured out of the public schools crazed by the weird spring-time heat. I’m looking down the throat of the weekend plus the President’s Day holiday, and then a week when the boys are home and I have to do this odd thing called work. I compared notes with other parents whose schedules also prevent them from taking a vacation this week–we’re a motley assemblage of play dates, a grandma visiting, a few days of a “camp” at a gym or a YMCA, maybe a day trip, maybe a museum.
I’m feeling the need for Some Plans and I don’t really have any. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all in favor of unstructured time; I’m not Tiger Mom by a long shot. More of a Tigger Mom, bouncing from place to place, soccer game to soccer game. But without some structure to the day, here’s what the boys would do:
Roll out of bed about 630AM and turn on the computer. Play on computers until they realize they’re starving, about 9, and whine from hunger. Bicker over breakfast about who can drink his milk faster or whose vitamins taste better. Return to computers. Hit each other when Liam tries to “help” Caleb but essentially takes over his game. Yell at me when I suggest we go outside. Return to computers. Repeat this process, with slight variations for lunch and dinner and the occasional kicking of a soccer ball in the hall. Maybe a little wrestling and karate kicking, preferably near the glass-fronted cabinet where we keep the pretty champagne flutes. (Yes, I know, totally tempting fate. But hey. A gal’s gotta live on the edge, right?)
So here’s what we’ve got thus far: an indoor soccer game for one kid on Saturday; an hour at New Victory theater on Sunday and the promise if you behave of dinner at our favorite pizzeria on Sunday night. And then…then the abyss of the week. Museum of the Moving Image? The “Guitar Hero” exhibit at the Met? Lunch with Grandpa in his neighborhood? Go play in traffic while mommy has a martini? Go on a nature walk in Wave Hill? See how long the fish can survive outside the tank? Steal candy from toddlers in the playground while mommy checks her twitter feed? Make a chart that details how long a young child can survive on nothing but oreos and goldfish crackers?
Really, the possibilities are endless.
You could always come here Monday!
Okay, you will all hate me for saying this, but Pete, (who’s home with the kids much more than I am) cooks a LOT with the kids. They bake. They make pasta. They do a lot of cooking, honest to god, and they really enjoy it — been doing it since they were really really little. It can make a huge mess but now they can all sort of even cook. It’s not a plan for the week, but it’s a thing to do once a day, and gets their face de-stuck from a screen for an hour or so. And at the end you have a meal. Or a cookie.