School has been in session for about two weeks and things have been running very smoothly. This year I have my boys in two different schools for the first time. In anticipation of this added school to our logistics, I was worried that our schedule would be more harried than in past years. I was concerned about the boys adapting to being in separate places and for one of the boys, in a new place. With much relief, I can say that my fears were unfounded. Our schedule is quite manageable since the school start/end times are different enough to allow plenty of commuting time between the two. And the boys are happy and have adapted to the change better than I expected. But it is my job to worry, so I did and that one can be checked off the list.
There has been homework to which the boys' reaction has been very mature and responsible. They are doing it with little, albeit a normal, amount of revulsion. Actually, there haven't been the homework struggles that we've had in the past. As I said, things are going smoothly....too smoothly, in fact.
So what's going on here? I just realized what it is as I sat down with my calendar. The activities haven't started yet. This two week period has been a ruse. The boys have been able to come home from school, get a snack, do their homework and then have hours ahead of them to play and just be before bedtime. No rushing through homework to then gulp down a quick dinner so we can get out the door to Scouts, karate, piano, or other activity du jour. There's the harried schedule I remember! Now it's all coming back to me. And guess what? The first of the activities starts today!!! The honeymoon is over.
I know. We do this to ourselves. And I even said this myself, "Not every kid needs to play every sport every season." My kids only have one sport at a time. Check. But what about the other activities that are important - music lessons, Scouts, church groups? These activities round out a child and a family. How do you say no to these things? It's hard to pass on activities that you recognize have this type of value. But what also has value in our home is family time. We have been trying very hard recently to keep family time at the top of the priority list. So this year, before we sign up for every activity that my boys want to try, I will be counting the times we sit down to a family dinner each week. That is one benchmark that is quantifiable and controllable.
My oldest informed me recently that he is a "Tween" and that he can't wait to be a Teenager. (These words are capitalized and italicized here to show you how he enunciated them with a smidge of prepubescent attitude.) Both of those "T" words stopped me in my tracks. Actually, my youngest, by his status as second child who does everything earlier than the first child did, is for all practical purposes a Tween too. So as we gingerly enter the "T eras", the importance of family time ramps up.
I'll try to keep the balance between family time and keeping the boys engaged in an appropriate amount of well-rounded activities. In doing so, I may go a bit greyer (but only my secret hair lady could confirm) and my slowcooker will definitely get used more often.