Monday, July 12, 2010

Catching Up on Summer, Part 1

My son is at his friend's house. My husband is still not home from work. And my daughter is asleep on the sofa. I haven't felt this alone in months!

Every single summer I have these fantasies about enjoying an idilic summer full of beach days, art projects and popsicles. But the truth is I'm scared of the jelly fish at the beach, I suck at art projects, and popsicles make my teeth ache.

So I fill our summers with stuff. I never mean to. It just happens.

We started this summer with a trip to Washington D.C. for a summer violin institute. It's hard to explain what the institute is like. It is intense. It is one of those great experiences that teaches the kids that hard work has its own rewards. That fun doesn't have to be frivolous or silly. That enjoyment can come from immersing yourself in a challenge and exceeding your own expectations.

It's kind of like one intense week of college for young musicians. The kids work hard but have fun too in "play ins" and at the pool. I attend parent lectures while they have fun.

This particular institute is very competitive, but they're really not supposed to be that way. Imagine spending at entire week with the stage moms of 260 kids. My son wants to go back to the same institute next summer. My daughter wants to try another one. (Probably because she happened to fall into that place where she was at the top level of each of her classes and she didn't enjoy it. She even had orchestra with her baby brother. She's right on a cusp and that is no fun for a tween.)

Also this summer, we finally let our little princess talk us into letting her play ice hockey.

She's wanted to play for years but hockey is so expensive. It was also the one thing her brother did that she didn't do. It doesn't seem right that they both play violin, both are taking theater class, and both are joining the swim program at school. Don't they need their own things? We figured they could at lest have different sports.

Bu she kept asking to play hockey and she has to go with me to the rink for her brother's games and practices anyway, so it did kind of make sense to let her. A few grand later (and a pair of $350 ice skates!) and we have two hockey playing kids. They're even on the same team.

So much for having their own things.

I guess I have to remember that my kids are kind of weird in one key way. They really do enjoy each other's company. They really are very supportive of each other. It's like they totally missed out on the sibling rivalry gene. It's kind of weird. I hope it doesn't mess with their future development.

Even though she is way better than him, my son still loves to have his sister on his team. When she scored a goal last week, he was the one who announced it to us enthusiastically in the locker room after the game.

I don't know how long the ice hockey thing will last for a girl in a place where she has to play with 6 through 10 year olds this summer and then 11 through 18 year olds this fall, but we'll see.

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