After-School Fun

by

And yet they look so harmless?
And yet they look so harmless?

Whenever I see a young family struggling to get through those oh-so-trying early years with their children, I always do my best to encourage them and tell them to just hang in there. After all, before they know it those days of endless diaper changes and sleepless nights will be a thing of the past as their kids grow up and head off to school.

And then it will get much worse.

Don’t get me wrong, school is definitely a blessing for the stay-at-home parent. Then 3 o’clock rolls around and all hell breaks loose.

I remember how I was actually tearful when my kids first went off to school. How would I ever get through the day without them? The house was going to be so lonely, so terribly quiet!

HA! What a laugh. It only took a few hours before I learned to embrace — and LOVE — that beautiful, quiet window between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., when I can actually work, read, and most important, nap, without being disturbed.

But of course, all good things must come to an end, and this particular good thing ends the minute my kids and niece walk through the door. Actually, they don’t really walk through the door. It’s more like an explosion. They burst in like a gang of violent criminals in a home invasion. Because basically that’s what it is.

From this moment on, it’s virtually impossible for me to think, let alone get any work done. Heck, my son and niece are already pushing and kicking and tackling each other before they’ve even gotten out of the foyer. They’re a dangerous combination, those two. Apart, they’re pretty much harmless, like a match and a stick of dynamite. But put them together and — BOOM! — you’ve got one volatile combination.

I mean, you’d think they just got released from prison, the way they carry on. Usually they head straight for the kitchen to raid the cupboards, ravenous because they barely ate any of the food they packed for lunch that day. Believe me, I know. I’ve worked the lunch hour at their school many times, and I can tell you that very little actual eating goes on. Screaming, yelling, bouncing, jumping, laughing—yes. But eating? Not so much.

If I somehow manage to escape back to my desk once my kids get home, it’s just one interruption after another. One of them will come in, tears in his or her eyes, claiming that one of the others was “looking at them” or something terrible like that. Then, after I send them on their way, another one will come in to defend him- or herself, adamantly claiming their innocence. Again, I’ll send them on their way, only to be interrupted again minutes later because someone is touching someone else who doesn’t wish to be touched, someone is not sharing his or her toy, or, the most common complaint, someone is “being mean”.

Fortunately I only have to experience this 180 days of the year.

Okay, so here’s the part where you all chime in and tell me that I better “cherish these days” and that one day I’ll “miss it all”.  Yeah. Thanks for the tip. By the way, if any of you out there are feeling nostalgic for the good ol’ days when your kids were young, just say the word and I’ll bring mine over for a visit.

How’s 3 p.m. work for you? ~

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Copyright © 2016 Valentine J. Brkich

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