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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

The First United Methodist Church in our town has a program called Parents Day Out.  In the summer they provide week or two-week long sessions -- sort of like day camp.  I signed up all three kiddos for the past two weeks.  So, from 9 - 2 every day each child goes to their own "classroom" and has a day full of fun activities planned for their age group.  This is probably the most time my kids have spent apart from each other since birth.

Each of us learned a few things.

Samantha -- Age 5
Sam made new friends right away.  She learned how to do a cartwheel and especially loved packing lunches. She wants to do that even at home this year, she said.  She made a different craft every day (her favorite thing on the planet). Some examples: a nail board (you see Chase carrying it to his classroom to show off below), a rain/shaker instrument thing, and a cowboy vest.  Here's the challenge for me:  can I make Kindergarten at home as fun for this social girl as she wants it to be?

Chase -- Age 3
Chase made new friends, too and had lots of lessons in how to get along. After a while some of the boys didn't play so well together and he came home with a few scratches on his face one day. Momma was defensive and protective in a flash! A fine line men must walk:  don't pick fights, walk away from a bully, stand up for your friends. So how early do you teach them to stand up to a bully?  Maybe not at three.  But obviously sooner than I thought!

Ava -- Age 22 months
Ava loved the other "babies" and loved getting messy in the water play and finger paints. Every day the notes came home that she was so sweet and loved playing with her friends.  We always picked her up last and Sammie and Chase would run to her and hug her and say, "Hi, Girlie. Did you have fun today?"
Kristin -- Age 36 
I've spent my time reading some (Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult and Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.) I wrapped a few Christmas presents I picked up at a yard sale and also researched and ordered Sammie's Kindergarten curriculum (more on that later).  Oh, I also colored my hair back to its almost natural color (I don't exactly know anymore what it is -- some sort of mousy brown or dark blonde or some other flattering way to say drab) and rearranged some furniture (again) downstairs.

Every day we packed their lunches and backpacks with swim suits, towels and extra clothes. Well, I packed them.  Oye. I learned I don't want to have to get all three kids ready with breakfast finished and lunches packed by 8:30 a.m. on a daily basis ever.  (I'm not saying never, I'm just saying I didn't like it for this two week stint.)

I got to spend some one on one time with Grandaddy.  Once he knew he had me to himself I heard again the jobs he had from 1930 to 1945 (after that, he had the same job until he retired.) I tried to seem interested, I really did.  I also had lunch with some girlfriends.  I even had a phone lunch with my long distance friend in Arkansas.  Don't worked!  No interruptions and no fight over the bill.

I did enjoy the time at home without the kids, but I was reminded again how much I love being with them.  I found myself wondering what they were doing, wondering if they were having a good time.  I also found myself wanting to be the one finger painting, playing in the sprinkler and reading stories with them.  

Is it true that absence makes the heart grow fonder?  It is for me.


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