Have you ever tried putting sunscreen on a toddler? Imagine greasing a back-talking cake pan who has been given the gift of questions while also holding his younger sister, a slippery watermelon with "boundary issues." Does that sound fun?
When my husband told me about the adventures he and our oldest son had planned for Camp Dada, I immediately felt the seeds of jealousy growing in my gut. I quickly pushed those feelings aside and praised him for his great ideas.
I chased my kids across cement pool decks convinced they would rearrange their teeth with a single misstep. And just when one child was old enough to understand the rules, the next was ripe and ready to give me a workout.
They scatter. I put my towel on my chair. I settle in. I start to sunscreen myself and wonder how the hell the hair on my legs can grow so damn quickly. Within seconds, someone is back, dripping on me. "I'm bored." "I'm hungry."
As much as these days are a ritual designed to connect us, they too are a lesson in mindfulness. A reminder of the present moment, an inventory of what we have, how far we've come and to whom we owe at least a few hours of gratitude.
The neighbor we rarely see whose kids are grown and gone but still come home to pass footballs in the cul de sac. Whenever I see him and his wife I feel like we offer each other a trade of sorts -- a look at their past for a peek at our future.
When you're a parent, along with all that summer goodness comes a few other things -- namely, hot, whining kids; boredom; and if you're anything like me, a last-minute panicked quest to entertain the children each morning.
For most kids, the start of the school year is still weeks away. But whether they're enrolled in camp or you're heading to the town pool to beat the heat, filling those long summer days with activities can easily add up.
Sitting here in my grown-up office, I've somewhat accepted the whole "you don't get a three-month summer vacay" reality of adulthood, but I'm still a sleepaway camp kid at heart. And in my 100 percent biased opinion, your child should be one too.
If space is an issue or you have older children, a pizza garden is a lot fun and keeps them really engaged. In a small bed or pots, plant a few tomato plants, basil and oregano -- all of the garden ingredients that you need for a pizza.