Month: May 2015

Summer With Children, and Other Terrifying Things

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was summer. Never has one word been so capable of triggering such a wide range of emotions. To some it means carefree days filled with pure joy. To me, it means trying to find ways to keep my 2 and 4-year-old entertained without clobbering one another MMA style, and still being able to hang onto a shred of my sanity in the process. So basically, it is terrifying.

My girls showing off their fighting prowess.
My girls showing off their fighting prowess.

Summer at our house had it’s unofficial kick-off last Wednesday with the last day of preschool/Mother’s Day Out. And because we operate under Murphy’s Law over here, we got to kick-off our summer with vomiting, back injury, head colds, and more vomiting; oh my! The second-rate kids did the vomiting, second-rate dad had the back injury (he was attempting to show the girls how to jump rope…), and both second-rate parents have head colds. Add to that the seemingly non-stop rain we’ve been getting in Texas, and it’s not exactly the way I wanted to start off summer and Memorial Day Weekend.

I started preparing for summer about a month ago. I got my 4-year-old signed up for Vacation Bible School and a weekly “camp day” at a local gymnastics school. Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for my 2-year-old as everything seems to require that she be 3 and potty trained. (She misses the 3-year-old cut-off by less than 3 weeks.) I had plans for limiting their iPad and television time. I even made a trip to Hobby Lobby where I bought arts and crafts supplies that I was sure would carry us through the majority of the summer.

So here we are one week into our summer. I’m almost certain my kids have already burned through an entire summer allotment of iPad and television time. None of our “camps” have started yet. And all those arts and crafts I bought? Well, we have glued, glittered, and painted our way through a bunch of it already and I can now see it isn’t going to take us as far into the summer as I had hoped. Maybe it’s just the cough syrup with Codeine talking, but I’m already worn out!

I’m a huge fan of all the mom-blog articles circulating about giving your kids a 1970’s summer. You know, the kind of summer where you have your kids play outside all day with their friends while allowing them to find ways to entertain themselves and drink out of the water hose. I love this. I’m fortunate enough to live in a rare neighborhood where we know all of our neighbors and our kids do play outside together all the time. But, my kids are too young to go play outside all day unattended. They still need me to act as activities director. Also, we live in Texas. It gets hot ya’ll. Real hot. There comes a point during the summer where no living thing wants to be outside between the hours of 10 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.

It’s time for the pep-talk!

So now that I have thoroughly worked myself into a terrified summer-time panic… It’s time for the pep-talk! It will be okay. We will all survive. The kids and I will get bored sometimes. That will only make us appreciate preschool/Mother’s Day out that much more. There will be days my kids will fight with each other from sun-up until sun-down. That will just make the occasional date night or night out with girlfriends that much more satisfying. There will be days I feel like I have failed because I allow them to be on the iPad and watch t.v. too much. That’s okay. Maybe they need something to entertain them while I allow myself a break from the constant onslaught of their neediness.

Hopefully, among all the chaos of surviving the summer, there will be memories that are created that make the inconveniences and headaches fade into the background. Memories of ice cream covered smiles, tiny hands smudged with sidewalk chalk, and chasing bubbles into the sunset. And on that note; I think the cough syrup buzz just kicked in…

Summer magic at work.
Summer magic at work.

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In Defense of SpongeBob SquarePants

He lives in a pineapple under the sea, and if “nautical non-sense” is something you wish then he’s your guy. I am, of course, referring to one Mr. SpongeBob SquarePants. I’m here to tell you, my friends, that I think this little yellow dude has gotten a bad rap.

Is SpongeBob my favorite show for the kids to watch? No.

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Is SpongeBob my favorite show for the kids to watch? No. It’s true that sometimes SpongeBob and his pals are a tad on the crude side. I don’t know about your kids, but mine happen to think passing gas is funny and I can live with that. Sure, there are options for more educationally redeeming children’s programming available. We watch those too. But sometimes, much like adults, kids just want to watch a mindless television show.

I often wonder if all of the parents that have forbidden their kids from watching SpongeBob have ever actually seen the show? It is not uncommon in my circle of friends for SpongeBob to be a forbidden program. Is it really that much worse than Tom and Jerry or The Roadrunner? I mean, let’s be honest. We all probably watched the classic Looney Tunes growing up, and violence was definitely not lacking. But, then again, Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam weren’t passing gas. So, I guess that’s the difference??

Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam weren’t passing gas.

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Commonsensemedia.org says, “SpongeBob SquarePants contains satirical humor that might confuse kids who can’t separate fantasy from reality.” They suggest that you know what your child can handle before allowing them to view SpongeBob. Wait. Are we still talking about the absorbent, yellow, porous sponge that lives in the sea with is pet snail, Gary? Yep. I think my kid can “handle” it. As for separating fantasy from reality, well, my kid still believes that unicorns and mermaids actually exist in real life.

Look, I’m not coming down on parents that don’t allow their kids to watch SpongeBob. Really, I’m not. We know everyone from neighbors to friends to 18-year-old babysitters not allowed to watch the show. It just seems like SpongeBob is the line in the sand and I’m just curious about the reasons poor Mr. SquarePants finds himself at the center of such parental controversy.

If I’m being perfectly honest with myself, I’d rather watch SpongeBob any day over Caillou or Dino Dan. Those kids creep me out! I’m not sure that Caillou the whiny tot and Dino Dan the delusional kid are the best role models anyhow. Seriously, why do all of the adults in Dino Dan’s life continue to participate in and even encourage his hallucinations?! But I digress…

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Perhaps Joyce Slaton at Very Violet best sums up my thoughts when she posted, “Look, you want the ultimate proof that SpongeBob is a show with high moral character? Unlike so many cartoon characters (I’m looking at you, Donald Duck), both SpongeBob and Patrick wear pants. If that’s not good enough for you, I don’t know what is.”

The defense rests.

Tell me your thoughts. Do you allow your children to watch SpongeBob? Why or why not? Leave a comment.

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