Friday, April 29, 2011

Mother's Day Out and Summer Break: A Mommy Plans

For several weeks now I have been fretting over it, biting my nails in trepidation. I've started lists and made charts and still don't feel peace. I wake up in the night with cold sweats, worrying about it.

What am I talking about?

The end of Mother's Day Out. For the entire summer.

Three whole months.

I know what you're thinking: "What a horrible mom! She can't even handle taking care of her own children. And it's not like she has 4 or 5 kids to manage. Just two!"

But I have grown to anticipate...crave Tuesdays and Thursdays with just Cora. Don't get me wrong. I adore my firstborn but let's just say she's a fireball, and there are days when we both need a break from each other.

Honestly, I believe Kate would prefer to be at "class" rather than home most of the time. And why wouldn't she? There she can play with her friends, swing, jump in the bouncy house, make crafts that mommy is far too incapable of doing, and get away with just about anything, including taking short naps and eating only her favorite parts of her lunch. But she has fun, she smiles and her cute little face lights up when we pull into the entrance and she realizes we're almost there. I think she rather enjoys rubbing it in Cora's face that she goes to school and Cora doesn't.

And Cora and I go home, and while she naps, I clean house, cook, write, read and just relax without a two-year-old demanding constant attention. Then, when Cora wakes up, we play, read books, and play some more. It's quiet and peaceful and a break that I love.

Yes, I once felt guilty sending my daughter to a place where someone else takes care of her and teaches her but that is no more. Now I see Mother's Day Out as the blessing it truly is: a time and space for Kate to build her own friendships and develop in new and different ways as well as a special place just for her and a time for me to spend with just Cora and, during naps, a time for me to be still.

There are only two more weeks of Mother's Day Out, and I know that means I need to get organized. So, I'm making monthly and weekly plans for fun outings including trips to the Nashville Zoo, the Warner Park Zoo in Chattanooga, the Tennessee Aquarium, and The Discovery Center as well as free places like Barfield Crescent Park, the Greenway, the library, and various playgrounds around town. Also, we'll be going strawberry picking in Wartrace and swimming at the Rec Center.

In addition to field trips, I'm trying to plan more at-home learning activities for Kate. We already "do school" but I need some new, more advanced workbooks. Plus, I need some good craft books to keep my active child stimulated and motivated. Any suggestions?

With all this planning, I'm actually getting excited about having Kate home every day because we can start a new routine. And Cora will finally be able to take consistent naps.

Yes, we'll be resuming Mother's Day Out in the Fall, but for now, we're planning for the summer.

If your children will be out of Mother's Day Out, preschool or regular school for the summer, what do you plan to do with them?
I would appreciate any ideas or thoughts.

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