Breaks from school tend to be painful events. The spring and fall ones seem more bearable since we are required to be full-time companions for only a week or so duration.
Winter break can be somewhat murderous since it is longer and at three weeks virtually every patient fiber of a persons character has been worn thin and the weather is usually not compatible with much needed outdoor time. Thankfully though, the miracle of Christmas provides the minions with new interests that keep them occupied during the extended break.
It was only after I became a mother that I fully understood just what cabin fever was; the torturous bickering and whining of very bored children who are aggravated by the mere presence of each others company. It can drive a mama mad.
There is no vacation that brings about cabin fever faster than summer ones. Reliving those lovely three month spans of time which are mercifully forgotten by the time colder temperatures arrive. By the time the year rolls around and the next summer is approaching, the only living memory of them is that they are long and very painful. So much so that the reflexive response to teachers gleeful expressions of the nearing end of school sends nearly every mother into a state of panic and denial.
In an attempt to combat what all relevant data indicated was to be one ‘hellofa’ hay ride of a spring break, an extremely lucid dream provided us with a solution;
Like a honey-do jar, a lidded glass container was filled tiny folded strips of paper upon which ideas of fun activities the kids wanted to do were neatly written. Also included were simple but much needed tasks such as ‘go thru winter clothes’, ‘find the PSP’ that had been lost and so on.
Each day one strip was excitedly removed by mama while BW and JB excitedly danced around, waiting to see what adventure was to ensue. Originally it was thought that BW and JB would take turns selecting the little strips of paper, but that changed after a quick test run one weekend proved that the minions were preferentially selecting ‘their’ activity thus reducing the random nature of the jar and instead inciting riots between BW and JB.
Over the course of the week we had several adventures. We visited a local fro-yo place and the kids brought their books so they could “work and be ‘big-jobbers’ like adults because we are so grown up”. Wardrobes were selectively pruned, rooms cleaned and organized and the long-lost-PSP was at last found. As a family we went bowling and visited the DQ that had opened for the season and had ice cream for dinner.
By Thursday though, it became apparent that the fun was over.
While running errands, the bickering between BW and JB escalated to the point where intervention was needed or first aid would be required.
“Guys! Please stop bickering, you know how I feel about that, and you know that is not the way we respect each other in this family – keep your hands to yourselves, quit spitting, and stop calling each other stupid!”
The fighting in the back seat stopped momentarily, and a high-pitched voice stated matter of factly “Oh, we aren’t fighting mama. We just hate each other.”
BW quickly agreed saying “Yeah Mama… D’uh!”
And as if on cue, the two began to laugh at us.
All Charles and I could do at the moment, was sigh and look at each other knowingly.
The long break had just begun.