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Seeking Summer Solutions for Must-Have Parents

Must-Have Parent

The very moment I sat down to write this column, Child Two began asking me the following questions:

  • "Can I color on your desktop with crayons? I think I would like it better with more colors."
  • "Well then, is it OK if I turn your desk over and use it as a slide?"
  • "Do you like the haircut I gave this (Madame Alexander) doll?"

Not to be outdone, Child One chimed in with these:

  • "What is 'embezzlement?' "
  • "Can I have a RPG?"

All the while, Child Three just sat on the floor and screamed, in absolute anguish, because her blue nail polish was chipped.

It's been a rough summer. Let me say that again: It has been a ROUGH summer.

The thrill of not yelling "Hurry up or you'll miss the bus!" every morning was quickly replaced with the agony annoyance of having three kids in my face, day in and day out.

Add to that a Must-Do Parent schedule that has included weeks spent away from home this summer at the request of the Army. AND a deployment that is fast approaching. AND a home renovation project that kept us out of our house for two weeks.

Hank, my 100-pound yellow labrador, managed to escape from the kennel where he stayed during the home project. He just opened his crate from the outside and just let himself out of the locked-up-for-the-night building, and then he just tore down a section of 6-foot-tall privacy fence and ran about seven miles before a kind person caught him and returned him to us.

Somewhere along the way, Hank (who is now known as Hankdini) stumbled into a colony of ticks. To date, I have picked 123 -- that's one hundred and twenty three -- ticks off of his deliriously happy, tail wagging body.

All of this is to say that if I could actually see my nerves, I suspect they'd look something like my hair's split ends -- you know, because having the kids with me 24/7 means that I haven't been able to visit the salon.

But thanks to Mommy-and-Me swim lessons with Child Three, I've got a decent tan. And it looks great with the claw marks she leaves on my neck each day during swim class.

Summer used to be my favorite time of the year, but now I'm partial to mid-August. Back-to-school sales in stores now make my heart do a little pitter-patter. I took the kids backpack and lunchbox shopping on July 5th, the day many stores replace the red, white and blue items with school supplies, just to remind myself that there is a light at the end of this hot and sunny tunnel.

This is the point in the column where I'd really like to offer you all some tips for thriving -- or even just surviving -- a summer of children and mostly solo parenting. But I've got nothing. I'm taking things day-by-day and calamity-by-calamity over here myself.

This week alone, Child One and Child Two surreptitiously engaged in a battle that involved Nutella and Grape Jelly, and Child Three added two more rooms to her Crayon Scribble Wall Mural project.

We've had three toads brought into -- and lost somewhere inside -- the house and saved one big toad from certain death at the hands of a rather large snake on the front porch. (Though I'm not sure at the hands is the best way to phrase that. Nevertheless, many thanks to my husband for tackling that one.)

And, speaking of snakes, the plumbing auger has seen a lot of action this summer. We're still not sure why. It might have something to do with Child Two's Orbeez in the bathroom sink project.

We still have a few weeks of summer left so I'd love to hear your suggestions for getting through it as a Must-Have Parent or barring that, your misery-loves-company stories.

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Military Parenting Family and Spouse Rebekah Sanderlin

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Contributor

Rebekah Sanderlin is an Army wife, a mother of three and a professional writer. Her work has been published numerous places, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, and in Self and Maxim magazines. She currently serves on the advisory boards of the Military Family Advisory Network and Blue Star Families.

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