Stressed out summer

I just read a blog about summer camp for at-risk youth and I realized that that meant mine. Because as of today, their third full day of summer vacation, they are at risk of being throttled, pummeled and bound and gag by none other than their delirious mother who is truly at the proverbial end of her rope.

Summer sucks. It’s hot. I feel perpetually lethargic. Stepping into my car is like being rolled through an easy bake oven. AND THERE’S NO SCHOOL!!!! Help me someone.

About two months ago, while I was furiously researching summer camp options for my 8 and 11 year old sons, my husband made the case that the boys did not want to go to summer camp and he insisted that they were too old to be forced to go. While I vehemently disagreed, I also have a very keen memory of my nephew, several years back, who ran away from summer camp and refused to ever go back. Besides, according to my husband, all the boys wanted to do all summer was frolic happily in our newly added swimming pool in the backyard.

“They’ll be bored,” I asserted. “Nonsense,” he proclaimed. “They’re kids. They just want to play. We need to let them be kids for once. Enough with the over-programming and the rushing between activities. They need down time. It’ll be good for them.”

Fast forward to today. They are mopey, depressive, and completely unimaginative. They don’t want to do any of the myriad of activities we had earlier outlined. They find each other positively detestable, so the idea of even being in the same room with each other is wholly unacceptable. They wont read, (an activity they cherished up until three days ago.) Board games are out because they can’t agree on which one to play. The only shared activity that will be endured is watching “Myth Buster” reruns over and over ad nauseum.

Yesterday my 11 year old son, Levi, decided to put together a professional resume so he could go out and seek employment. Anything would be better than being at home all summer. I have to say that his CV is really rather impressive. But his research was discouraging. He’s still got to wait at least four years to even be considered for a bagger position at Safeway.

My full time summer sitter seems to be sprouting grey hairs even as we speak (and she’s 20), and I haven’t been able to do a stitch of work since this awful summer break began. It’s like I’ve become this powerful magnetic suctioning device. They wont leave me alone for one single nano-second. I work out of my house most days. This is impossible. I even fled the domestic abode for a few hours this afternoon to work on a project at the Coffee Bean. But I was inundated with phone calls about who said what to whom, who wont stop talking, and what kind of gelatin is kosher. It’s too much.

I texted my husband that my life had become unbearable. I haven’t heard back. I’m thinking he’ll find a way to work late tonight.

I know there are moms who are good at this. I’m just not one of them. At a certain level, I accept that about myself. I have a lot of good traits. Parenting full time is just not one of them. But why isn’t that okay? Why do I feel so gosh darn lousy about myself because I need time to work and to be with adults and to challenge myself artistically? I need alone time. Why don’t they?

Look I am fully cognizant of the fact that in a few more years they wont want to have anything to do with me — ever. But right now that actually looks rather appealing. This clingy, needy, unable to walk to the mail box themselves thing is suffocating me.

I love them. I do. I would easily give my life for them. (Which at this point is also sounding rather attractive.) Taking a bullet would be preferable to 3 more hours of uninterrupted “Marco Polo” in the pool.

So I know this is asking a lot; but if anyone of you could tell me that this is normal or at least not identifiably psychotic, I would owe you a debt of gratitude. And if I don’t write back right away, don’t worry, I’ve just checked myself into some insanely expensive sanatorium near Sedona where they don’t take insurance or allow children visitation rights.

Hey Voldemort, watch out for Yoda!

Watch out Voldemort!

What would happen if Luke Skywalker met Harry Potter?

My kids have been fighting like fiends lately. It’s becoming unbearable. Most of the time I try not to get involved, believing some advice I read somewhere about letting them work things out on their own. At my less self-actualized moments, I throw my arms up in despair and ponder why I ever thought that having two children would improve the overall quality of our lives. And on a really bad day, I try to yell down the louder of the two kids. “STOP SCREAMING!” I shriek, never missing for one moment the irony of my poor parenting practice.

But today, I actually had a break thru. The hysteria had climbed to near violence level. I knew I had to insert myself into the fray. Turns out it was all about which pretend game to play. Levi, my 9-year-old, wanted to play Harry Potter. He was all set, wand in hand, ready to cast the first charm. Eli, my six-year-old on the other hand, lightsaber pointed, was prepared to do battle against the Grand Army of cloned human warriors. My intervention seemed about as hopeless as an Palestinian-Israeli conflict resolution.

But I did not despair. Instead, I simply said, “I wonder what would happen if Luke Skywalker met Harry Potter. I mean, do you think they’d be friends? Maybe together they could save the universe.” Then, as swiftly as I appeared, I stealthfully faded back into my office.

After about five minutes of no yelling, crying or hyper-ventilating, I popped my head into the living room to confirm that both children were still alive and well. To my amazement, I saw an astonishing sight. Luke Skywalker, lightsaber aglow, was battling the one who must not be named. Then, in a flash, Professor Dumbledore appeared in deep collusion with a green faced, cloth caped, Yoda. It worked! My kids had merged their two obsessions and were playing heartily.

They continued to play (and I’m not exagerating) for at least two more hours without a single moment of conflict (well, not counting the near destruction of the Galactic Empire.) There was one tense moment when my 6 year old declared that the Immobulus spell his brother kept casting upon him was not really fair because he was constantly being rendered immobile. I had to rule, as the Supreme leader of the Republic, that the Immobulus spell could only be used once an hour. After that, the boys played on happily.

Sometimes I wonder why I don’t always opt for using my creativity when dealing with my children’s issues. It seems so much easier. Everyone’s happy. I’m no longer stressed. And the universe is being saved from the dark side. Come on, what could be better than that?