Thursday, May 14, 2009

Calender Girl

Anyone who has been to my house and looked on my fridge knows how my calender looks. Between Sharpie requirements and strict rules about what goes on the calender it's downright pathological.
Though I think I'm learning to let go. In February, the kids wants to put their animals' birthday on the family (my) calender. AND I LET THEM. See the YELLOW notations on the calender. That is not my handwriting (cleansing breath).Of course the calender is just the manifestation of my scheduling psychosis. The productive energy I expend in sorting out the kids activities could no doubt light up a football stadium. For me it about getting the right amount of activities THAT WILL MAKE MY LIFE EASIER. Sure, I want them to be well rounded, and they must learn to swim, but it's about finding the right mix of things they (especially the J Boy) find engaging and physical exercise to adequately wear them out. The what of course is less than half the battle, the when is the real killer. With our "no 2 days are the same" schedule, finding slots for activities is like looking for needles in haystacks.

Which brings me to the whole issue of summer activities. Anyone that was around here last summer may remember the J Boy was bored as soon as the bell rang at school signalling the beginning of summer vacation. Actually, I think he was bored for all of June and most of May too, but we had 6 hours a day of babysitting (grade 1) so maybe we didn't notice as much.

We had some great activities planned, but I thought having a less busy July and a more busy August would be a good thing. Wrong. By halfway through the summer Husband and I were on the brink of insanity and we spent our precious Airmile points so we could each have a weekend away from the nuthouse.

This year, I am heeding the advice I gave myself last summer and am determined to make July busier and to try to engage the J Boy in longer and more engaging (for his brain) activities. This has the domino effect on his sister as though she would be happier to have a mellow summer, she will not tolerate being at home alone, stripped of her favourite playmate for weeks on end.

This summer we have ten weeks to fill instead of nine. It's always been nine, I do not understand how the earth's rotation could have changed to give us ten weeks this year!

Now putting the summer together starts just after Christmas. In fact, I think at least one camp opened its registrations in October! Most places put out their catalogues in March or April, with the city rec centres waiting until May, if only to drive people like me insane.

So what was I doing in January? Well, first we had to sort out where and when to have our family vacation. We settled on renting a place at Cultus Lake. Lots of kid friendly activities, including a lake, water slides, a pool and hot tub. We picked the week (cross referencing my and Husband's work schedules, factoring in J's boredness proclivities and looking at weather trends) and then haggled over whether we would send a cheque to someone we only connected with over the internet. One week down, 9 to go.

Then I started looking at the calenders for camps and classes from last year. I tried to guess when things would be offered. Some things I know would be offered many weeks and I could choose. A few things only one or two weeks. So I gathered intelligence and printed out a calender and started piecing together the summer. I had to make calls and email people to try to divine when VBS and Legomation camp would happen.

When I pencilled in something for J, then I had to consider what to do with S that week. I also have to consider which and how many weeks we would need Nanny as some weeks with the kids in full day camps, I could adjust my work schedule around their hours.

So I made made slips of paper and started arranging on the calender, moving the pawns until I thought I had the right mix and combinations of weeks. I didn't want two "heavy" weeks in a row and wanted things to change up a bit. I also did not want the kids in week long activities all summer long. As the spring plodded on, the calender was starting to come together. Some things the kids were registered for, others I at least knew the schedule so I could pencil it in and then spend my nights having nightmares that I would miss the registration day.

I thought a couple weeks would do for every day swimming lessons as the lessons are only 30 minutes and would be good for an activity but would still leave time for beach trips and visits to the Aquarium. Of course, I had to wait for May and the rec centre catalogues to come out.

Swimming lessons was problematic as I could only find back to back swim lessons at an outdoor pool at starting at 9 a.m. I phoned and had conversations with the Head Lifeguard hoping that I could sneak S into the next set of lessons, which you start at age 6 and not age 5 and 11 months. I was not granted dispensation and had to live with the schedule as published. We ultimately went with the early a.m. lessons. I'll have to get S a neoprene swim suit like J has to make sure they stay warm enough in the cool summer mornings (hoping for a heat wave for 2 weeks this summer!).

Yesterday I dropped off a cheque (and I am fearful of adding up what this summer is going to cost us ...) for S's dance class and that was the last official act of organizing this summer. The plans are in place, the die is cast, the ducks are in a row. I feel like a brass band should be playing to mark the occasion. Of course, I now have doubts about whether we have scheduled too much in an over-correction last summer...

In case anyone is wondering where we'll be this summer, we'll either be gassing up the van or at the following places:

The second last week of the summer,
"Camp Sasamat", Husband and I learned from last year and we both took that week off work so while the kids are kayaking we can golf, do home projects, or just try to figure out the fall schedule.

You may notice the last week of summer is "FUN WEEK WITH MOMMY!" I'll let you know how that works out.

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