In three days it will be August 1.

At our house, August 1st is when the wheels really start to come off.

At this stage of early parenting, preschool has been out since the first week of May which means all three kids and I have now been together all day, every day for over 2 1/2 months.

If you’re needing a visual representation of where that much quality time with a 4.5 year-old will get you, here you go:

June 1:


August 1:


Historically I’m not great at reading looks, but that one pretty clearly says “I’m thinking about killing you in your sleep.”

(“Because you won’t let me put dish soap on the water slide”)

Summertime at this stage of life is a lot like bedtime at this stage of life.

Bedtime is by far the most overpromised and undelivered part of early parenting. Despite knowing better, you have visions of sweet snuggles and quiet lullabies. I blame diaper commercials.

Turns out is very little sweetness involved. Instead, it’s a lot of loud demands and angry screams for more water, more snuggles, doors open, lights on, socks on, socks off, more covers, less covers, different covers, different parents.

By now I know I should lower my expectations, but my inner optimist just can’t do it.

Summer is the same way. When we’re on month 8 of a long winter and we’re all staring longingly outside, all these optimistic plans start to fill my head. Where we’ll go, what we’ll do, outings we’ll take…Writers live a rich fantasy life and I’m no different.

Come mid-February you can find me daydreaming about baseball season for example. I picture us strolling out of Miller Park as a family in the summer evening twilight, eating cotton candy together.

In my fantasy I conveniently forget two things.

For starters, cotton candy ends up looking like this and therefore requires significant cleanup, which is never popular with the child. This leads to screaming.


Second, and most importantly, another result of cotton candy looks something like this:


More screaming.

Then there is the sibling dynamic to take into consideration. Early in the summer I walk in to find a scenes like this:


Fast forward to today, when we had our first ever bite wound, and I think it’s safe to say they’re ready for some space.

Activity planning also takes a pretty significant hit. Arts and Craft time early in the summer was both well planned and well supervised.

Meanwhile this morning I sent Evelyn out to the garage in her pajamas and told her to draw a self portrait with sidewalk chalk.


Is it obvious we’ve been potty training her brother? 🙈🙈🙈

Meanwhile back inside, the supervision has also gotten a little lax.


You get the picture.

One of the trainers at my gym likes to say “finish as strong as you started” and it’s safe to say I’m not doing a bang up job of that.

I like to think that maybe as the kids get older it will get better. And if not, at least future me is getting some early training in spending the summer with a teenager, every time Evelyn looks at me like this.