What am I tooting my horn about today? I'll tell you in 4 simple words - I LET IT GO.
For those of you who don't know, I live in Arizona and we are done with school and have officially started summer vacation. Allie doesn't start camp for another week and since school has been out she has had lots of wonderful play dates and done lots of fun things.
We love our neighbors - not only do we enjoy getting together with them for family holidays but our kids have fun together and its been very convenient to call upon each other for watching each others kids.
Over two months ago they asked me if I could watch their 3 kids on Monday, June 2nd as they were going to be getting back from vacation in the late afternoon. I of course immediately said yes. But as the day drew closer I was getting more and more nervous - I am used to one child who is a pretty easy going and compliant kid and because she isn't used to siblings, she doesn't like to bicker with her friends. I'm not saying she doesn't fight with her little girlfriends (because she does!), but she doesn't like to engage in that sibling-type bickering that quite a lot of kids do (and only because they are used to it and it probably doesn't phase them as much as it does mine). And we weren't talking about a play date - we were talking about THE WHOLE DAY!
So, as the day got closer I began to ponder about what in the world I was going to do with 4 kids (3 of them being siblings that do bicker with each other) from 9am - 5pm without everyone killing each other? So I decided the only thing that would keep everyone moving and not having any down time to kill each other was to plan every minute of the day. I had lots of activities planned: breakfast, crafts, baking, game playing, a movie, visiting the science center, swimming, riding bikes and scooters, lunch, snacks, I made sure there was not going to be a moment of "nothing to do" and I knew I had a 100% fool-proof plan for fun and no sibling bickering!
I even worked myself up to get really excited for Day Camp with Mommy Meryl ! I woke up early and was raring to go at 8:45am when the kids showed up. Allie was on Cloud 9 because she had a whole audience of kids to play with her - not just Mommy today! Allie asked if anyone wanted to play Uno or Mancala with her and a sea of voices said "I do", "I will" -we were off to an excellent start!
Do I even need to tell you what happened by 9:10am? You can write the script from here. . .after breakfast and in the middle of my perfect "let's play a game now" plan, 2 of the 3 siblings started bickering. I intervened and thought it was handled. They they resumed playing and within 2 minutes, the bickering escalated to fighting and yelling and tears. Ok - activity change, clearly games are not working when all you hear is "you always cheat" and "why do you always have to go first?" and "you just went, its my turn!"!!
After once again redirecting the fighting, I excitedly asked them if they wanted to do a craft project? I heard every answer from "no" to "maybe later" to "not now" to "I want to do my Nintendo Lite" to "I want to play on Webkinz" to "I'm hungry again". And before I got a chance to answer every one's questions and comments, I looked around and they were all happily playing - maybe not what I had organized or suggested, but they were happy and playing and not arguing. And so you know what I did? I LET IT GO!!
Yes, Yeah for Mommy Meryl! I scrapped my schedule and just decided to let the chips fall where they may and you know what, we had a GREAT day! The kids did a lot of vegging, playing, hanging out and we decided to go to a community pool for a couple of hours(we have a pool but it doesn't have a "cool slide" or 3 diving boards or water play structures) - a change of scenery always does wonders for everyone's spirits! When we came home from the pool, we still had a couple of hours before their parents came home and everyone was just really happy playing and enjoying each other.
So, good for me, I LET IT GO and after I did that - we all were relaxed and had a beautiful day!