Back to School

©2013 CE Stankiewicz all rights reserved

I hate to break it to you, but summer — with its sunny-skied promises of pools and picnics and plenty of days to laze around — will soon come to an end. Depending on where you live, back-to-school season might be a mere week away or a full month from arriving. Still, it’s coming. You can tell from all the store flyers and commercials chock full o’ notebooks and backpacks and glue and crayons.

Speaking of which, I’ve always loved this Staples commercial, pitch-perfect in its depiction of parental glee this time of year.

Here’s the thing, though. As dour as the faces of those two little kids in that ad appear, I’m not so sure that they’re really all that bummed to be going back to school. I know my girls would never cop to it, but I firmly believe that when August 26th (our first day of school) finally rolls around, they’ll be just as eager as any gloating parent to welcome back the structure and routine that school brings.

Just don’t let ‘em know that I’m on to them.

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Back to School

They couldn’t wait for summer
with its drowsy afternoons,
its swimming pools and lemonade,
its lovely midnight moons.

They couldn’t wait for summer
and for staying up past ten,
for waking when they wanted to
and napping now and then.

They couldn’t wait for summer
to stare into the sky
while spying birds and bunnies
in the clouds that floated by.

They couldn’t wait for summer
to lie around all day
to laze about from hour to hour
as time just slipped away.

They couldn’t wait for summer
to do nothing much at all;
but by July, when boredom hit,
they couldn’t wait for fall.

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©2010 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

©2013 CE Stankiewicz all rights reserved

Summer of Their Discontent

©2013 CE Stankiewicz all rights reserved

It’s hard for me to fathom, but our school year ends this Wednesday. And while the official First Day of Summer doesn’t come for a few more weeks, at our house the season’s start isn’t defined by the tilt of the earth’s axis or how the sun appears to move in the sky. Nope. ‘Round these parts, the onset of Summer is heralded by a number of other telltale signs, manifested in the demeanor of my two daughters. Here are just a few:

heavy sighs

general crankiness

glassy stares

increased sibling infighting

dramatic, aimless wandering about the house

more heavy sighs

Once these start to occur on a regular basis, I know that Summer Has Arrived.

Now, I firmly believe that in most instances, boredom breeds creativity in kids. (What’s bred in those other instances? Crime.) But when you’ve got a long, hot, school-less three months ahead, it’s the parents who have to get creative to fight the summer doldrums.

For moms and dads who might already be at their wit’s end this early in the game, rest assured there are plenty of resources out there, including this clever idea.

In the meantime, Happy Summer (or Almost-Summer) to you. And to all…Good Luck!

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Summer of Their Discontent

They’ve got a trampoline
and bicycles
a pool just down the street

a cabinet full of art supplies
a chess set that’s complete

a couple shelves of good books
a library nearby

a sibling and a hamster
and games in good supply

a best friend ‘round the corner
and another right next door

a basketball
a volleyball
a soccer ball
and more

a skateboard and a scooter
a fishing pole and net

a Frisbee™ and a dog
(that pet we had to get)

a front yard with a tree to climb
a back yard with a swing

a water hose
a sprinkler
balloons to fill and fling

a Game Boy and a Wii
a stereo, CDs

a laptop and a tv
a zillion DVDs…

With all these things to play and do,
I have to say I’m floored

to hear that dreaded, dreadful phrase –
You know the one:  “I’m bored.”

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©2010 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

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©2013 CE Stankiewicz all rights reserved

To the Lifeguard

Yesterday was the last day of school for my two daughters, which means today was their Official First Day of Summer.

Even though I haven’t always lived in the warm climes of Texas, when I think of Summer, I always think: Pool.

I grew up in Michigan, Colorado and Virginia, and I have fond memories of each of the pools in each of those places. Perhaps my favorite was the base pool at Fort Carson, Colorado. I spent four pre-teen and teenage summers whiling away the hours there, slathering on baby oil and listening to disco and David Soul blare from the snack stand.

This year, instead of attending a series of day camps, my daughters will have a mostly free-range summer. We live a few blocks from a public pool, which is just around the corner from a cool little coffee shop and bakery, a grocery store, and a groovy gelato joint. My plan is to let them hang at the pool as much as possible, with only their bikes or their feet to get them around the ‘hood.

I’m hoping my daughters will enjoy their unstructured time as much as I enjoyed my girlhood summers, with nary a care in the world — other than wondering when is this darn swim break going to be over?!!!

   

            To the Lifeguard

Before we can swim again, splash again
Before we can dip again, dash again

Before we can punch the water with cannonballs
Or try to stay under the longest of all

Before we can play again, spray again
Before we can squirt and submerge again

Before we can dance our liquidly lovely ballet
Or “Marco” and “Polo” the day away

Before we can float again, flop again
Before we can drip, drip, drip, drop again

Before we can stand on our hands spouting fountains of feet
Or meet underneath for a tea party treat

Before we can down, down, down, dive again
Before we feel cool and alive again

You

have to blow

the whistle.

 

©2011 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz