Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Since Charles was about two years old, I have loudly and often declared that my primary job as a parent seems to be exhausting him (and now his brothers) before bedtime.  It might be time to pull back on that.


Did I ever tell you about the time Charles had double-vision for an entire week?  Turns out he was just really, really tired.


The whole story is scarier than that, of course.  He first mentioned it on a Friday, after a long week at school this spring. 


“Mom, when I look at that tree, all the other trees around it are two.”


“They’re two?  You mean, they’re double?  Side-by-side or one on top of the other?”  (I can’t imagine how that question would have made any difference to me, but ask it I did.)




I admit, we were so busy, I just let it go for a bit.  Then he mentioned it again at bedtime.  Then again a couple of days later.  Finally, I got him into my eye doctor for a medical visit.


His vision was completely normal.  Verdict: he was tired.  I took him home and he slept for the rest of the morning, missing an entire day of school just to rest.  It was so totally weird.


Charles is my big, bold kid.  He rides his bike, jumps on his pogo stick, and climbs trees.  Until this past year, he was rarely still.  But occasionally, even he needs a break. 


This summer has been go-go-go.  Without Tony to help much, I’m responsible for getting the kids where they need to be on a daily basis, which means that they all get to go places while one of the other brothers gets dropped off.  Charles has been in camps all summer, outdoors and active for 8+ hours of each day.  Then we try to do fun things, like go swimming or visit the library, every week.  And of course, there are the things that I want or need to do, like exercise or go grocery shopping, plus the family things we try to do together, like go on walks or camping (where no one gets to bed early) or fishing (where no one gets to bed early and everyone gets up early).  When the kids finally get home after these busy days, most of the time they go off to play by themselves.  Solitary activities like LEGOs or reading have taken the place of elaborate games of tag in the front yard.  And I get it – as much as I love to see them be active and play with each other, the boys are around other kids and they’re moving all. day. long.  They need a chance to recharge their batteries.


Recently, Charles was again showing signs of exhaustion.  He chose to go to camp every day last week, but I forced him to sit and watch cartoons on Saturday and Sunday mornings (what an ogre I am!) and go to bed early.  I have decided to keep him home from daycare during his last week of summer next week.  He’ll have to come to the office a couple of days, but for the most part, he can play in an unstructured way.  Maybe he’ll even get a little bored.


I’m obviously still learning how to parent these kids.  Balance, we’re all seeking balance.  I haven’t found it yet, but I’m getting closer.  At least I know to watch Charles for circles under his eyes and to reign in his natural impulse to do it all.  I wonder where he gets that trait?

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