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So it’s officially the last day of summer vacation (for the kids anyway) and I’ve just put the little one to bed and I am soon going to begin the fight to get the older one to turn in.

The summer seems to go so fast no that I’m older. I felt like it lasted forever when I was a kid. And I never seem to be able to cram everything into the time off that I want to anymore. Most of the summer was too rainy, too cold, too hot and too busy.

When we weren’t running around from baseball game to football practices, we were trying to make the best of our days and nights.

Despite this, I still think it was a pretty good summer because the kids told me it was. Apparently that’s all that matters when you’re a parent anyway.

So I am sitting here a little misty eyed, feeling rather nostalgic as I reflect back. Or maybe it’s the sangria I made…but anyway, I’m thinking about what I’ve learned this “vacation” and I’d like to present it to you, in no particular order.

#1: “Never wake a sleeping child” is probably the worst piece of parenting advice I have ever received. In all fairness, I think the saying is actually, “never wake a sleeping baby”, but still, crappy advice. Because sleeping preteens will actually sleep until noon. Which would be fine except the fact that they are then up at midnight. And well beyond.

And you spend much of your night climbing up and down the stairs screaming for them to shut their light, go sleep and stop posting pictures on Instagram. Every night is the same battle, same threats, resulting in one exhausted mommy the next day and one chipper kid when he finally wakes up in time for a late lunch. And it’s a vicious cycle….until the day school starts. Man, is his head gonna hurt tomorrow!

#2: Never say to your family “Let’s do something fun today!”. Their idea of fun and YOUR idea of fun are two totally different scenarios. Their idea of fun is tossing all your clean blankets on the floor and building a fort while spending 14 hours watching the same episodes of the same stupid Disney channel shows over and over and over again. On a beautiful sunny 82 degree BEACH day.

Or in a husband’s case, sitting with his feet up at the computer, clicking his pen while making “dire” financial decisions (not really). Did I mention my husband is home almost every single day in the summer with us??? How I haven’t driven a stake through his neck yet boggles my mind.

#3: Your children will never want to go in the very nice pool you maintain in pristine condition for them in the backyard. They will only want to go in everyone else’s pool, leaving your pool very sad.

#4: Kids need more food in the summer than any other time of year. You can buy a gallon of milk on Tuesday and it will be gone on Wednesday. The chips you cleverly hid for company will be detected by the little scavengers when you go to the bathroom and they will devour the bag before you can even zip your pants up.

Because they are constantly snacking and not waking up till noon, will also not want to eat meals at normal hours or when you want them to eat. They will announce “I’m hungry” as you are backing out of the driveway on your way to the mall or to run errands. Even though you TOLD them to eat before you left the house.

#5: If you give your husband a project to complete before summer is over, you must be more specific in your instructions. For example, “please have this done by July 31st of THIS summer”.

#6: Sunblock works best when applied on BOTH sides of your body. Similarly, holding a crying child, scream child tightly against your body outdoors in the sun will result in imprint of crying, screaming child on your lap, chest, etc.

#7: Sleep overs that involve multiple 12 year old boys are ALWAYS a bad idea. Something or someONE always ends up broken.

#8: Always bring extra flip flops and sunglasses wherever you go. Yours WILL break. And then you’ll be limping along on the sand with a floppy flip flop and cockeyed sunglasses. And you’ll look drunk.

#9: Preteens do not like for you to make small talk with their friends when you are playing taxi cab all day and night. They prefer if you stare straight ahead and drive the car. They do not like if you tell corny jokes, sing along with the radio or fart while shuttling them around. Apparently, those are embarrassing. Oh and dancing to any song that comes on the radio is completely grounds for filing for emancipated minor status. Especially “Baby Got Back”.

Finally, #10: Do NOT, under any circumstances let a third grader pack her own book bag, no matter how many times she tells you, “I’ve got this”. The night before school starts you will discover her pencil case contains 2 lip glosses, 5 hair bands, 16 pencil toppers, an extra pair of earrings, 7 nickels, a dry erase marker, half used tube of glitter, a stuffed bunny and absolutely NO pencils, erasers or anything remotely useful for school.

You will sigh in frustration as you unpack the bag and tears spring to her eyes while she tells you she “needs” that stuff. You know she is going to shove all of it back in when you leave the room and part of you is annoyed, but the other part of you hopes that she stays so young and innocent for just a little bit longer.

Soon, she will refuse to let you talk to her and when she does it will be to tell you off. That’s when you will wish for those days of arguing over nonsense in a pencil case and reminiscence about when they were only 12 and 8.

Ok, you’ll have to excuse me while I go cry now. ( and dance a little jig).

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