Hope everyone is doing OK.
I spent a lot of time over the past few days scrolling through headlines, but had to try to limit it at some point as I had the three younger kids and needed to keep my focus there. My husband took the older two boys to Texas for the Texas A&M/Alabama game — something they do (go to a football game with extended family) most years.
They left Friday night, at which point I took some of my daughter’s friends to a 6th grade social, and then they came back to our house for a spa party. We had cute little pink robes, plus face masks (and cucumbers — though they mostly ate the cucumbers), and they painted their nails and had pink lemonade. I’d arranged for our nanny to stay late and take the 8-year-old and 3-year-old out to Dave & Busters. They had the time of their life and it made the party much less stressful than my attempts to keep the little guys out of the 14-year-old’s party a few weeks ago.
On Saturday I took the three younger kids to Dutch Wonderland, which is an amusement park a little over an hour west of us. On some level, my timing wasn’t great. My daughter wanted to eat in a particular restaurant, which was doing a “dine with the duke” character dining experience for Halloween. So we had to get timed tickets, and thus show up at the park then (noon). Unfortunately, it was raining for much of the early afternoon. But we brought rain coats, and the upside was that there were no lines for anything. The older kids could walk right on the roller coasters and only waited one cycle to go on the bumper cars. A highlight: watching the diving show (they heated the pool). We left around 3:00, right as the clouds parted and the sun came out. But, as we walked out into the parking lot (to where our car was right by the entrance…) we saw that the security line to get in snaked around for a long ways. I guess with parks you pick your woe — weather or crowds. We stopped at Wawa on the way home, and I ordered sushi for myself for dinner (the kids ate mac and cheese).
On Sunday, the choir anthems were men-only, so I skipped church and took the 3-year-old to soccer practice. This was cute to watch, though I’m always amazed that among the 3-4 year old set, there is always some kid(s) who actually know(s) how to play, which makes the scrimmages occasionally lopsided. I hired a sitter to come in the afternoon, so I could go for a longer run, go work at the library for a while, and then go grocery shopping.
At some point during the weekend, I realized how different it is to have a 12-year-old, 8-year-old, and 3-year-old, vs. weekends when I had, say, a 4-year-old, 2-year-old, and baby. It feels more manageable. The fact that the 3-year-old can be reliably entertained by videos was helpful when he woke up, inexplicably, at 5 a.m. on Saturday and wouldn’t go back to sleep. He would watch YouTube for 45 minute stretches before checking in with me, so I was able to get enough sleep to drive safely.
Anyway, a few notes: I’m over at Elisabeth Frost’s new blog with a Q&A today. Please go check that out.
I’m looking to speak to a few more “real people” about social media and teen mental health for a magazine piece. So if you are young enough to have spent your teen years with the current big social media platforms (or a young person in your life might be up for chatting with me) please let me know. As always, you can reach me at laura at lauravanderkam dot com).
(I say “real people” as in not “experts” with books/degrees/jobs related to the topic.)
Tranquility by Tuesday turns one on Wednesday. I’ll post more about that later this week, but it’s been fun to see the book out in the world over the past year.