Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rethinking Summer

My kids are out of school - for a whole four days now. They are already climbing the walls looking for things to do or places to go. The changes we have been making over the last six months or so are kind of putting a cramp in their carefree summer style.

What?!? No more Gatorade? No more Chips Ahoy cookies in the individually wrapped blue pouches? Why is the air conditioning off? (I say, just ask Chile and they wander away making the coo-coo motion around their ears. They have no idea who Chile is...) Can I turn the fan on? Will you drive me to the store? Can I download more iTunes? Where's my book / PSP / Gameboy / gum / basketball / squirtgun - fill in the blank here. Yeesh, I say - When does school start?!?

Oh, I thought I was prepared for summer all right. I bought a bulk amount of organic lemonade that I mix in the glass pitcher in the fridge. Yes, boys, you have to pour that into the shiny new SIGG I bought for you. And, yes, you MUST remember to bring it home from the park. That thing cost me $18. Oh, you're hungry too. Well, then make a sandwich. No, there aren't any premade frozen PBJs in the freezer. You need to get out a knife, find the peanut butter, stir it and spread it on a pita.

Doing all of this used to feel like more effort and work for me in the beginning. Now, I have adjusted and it actually feels simpler to me. There is less to shop for, less to worry about, less to store and organize. However, this is all new for my boys now they are home for the summer. Apparently, they didn't notice the changes throughout the school year. They are middle school students after all. As long as they have lunch money and a ride, they say nothing, see nothing and hear nothing.

This is the part where I realize that the changes I choose to make, affect everyone around me. It's not a bad change, it's actually good for them, but they now are forced to adjust how they go to the park, what they carry with them, how to plan to make their lunch and so on. I tell my husband, it's a good thing. They will grow up to be men who shop at Farmer's Markets and plant tomatoes on the balcony of their first apartment. I hope. Oh, I'm sure there will be fast food and beer and *shudder* girls. But, I hope along with that, the appreciation for farmers, food and family that they wouldn't have gotten from me without going through this change together.

The first week has been a learning curve so far. I am betting though, in another week, filling up the SIGG, tucking it into the handy new bottle holder their Dad installed on each bike, and heading off to the park will just be part of the daily routine!


Green Bean said...

They will grow up to be men who shop at Farmer's Markets and plant tomatoes on the balcony of their first apartment. I hope. - love that. I feel the same about my much younger boys.

One of the many things I enjoy about your blog is the view into the future. How older kids cope with all this stuff. Keep sharing!

Chile said...

Oh right, blame it all on that loony Chile. Sheesh.

LOL! I'm betting they'll adapt quickly. What will be interesting is the start of school again. Will the other kids look at them and make the cuckoo sign?! And will they then win them over with their green ways?

Have a great summer!

eco 'burban mom said...

GB - Well, they're coping all right. Funny, I made all these changes months and months ago, but they really didn't notice. I am a bit of an enabler it seems. Through the school year, I still pack them their lunches, fill water bottles and make breakfasts and things. I like to make sure they are well fed, well rested and prepared for school. Some say I do too much for them, but they get great grades, never get into trouble and participate in lots of extracurriculars. If it ain't broke... But in the summers, I want them to learn to be self-sufficient, so I let them fend for themselves more. Wow, what a wake up call this week has been for them!

I'm glad you like the blog, and the glimpse into middle school boyhood. Though, I wish I would have made more changes when they were younger. It would be easier today...

Chile, I can't really blame it all on you. They are almost teenagers. I get the cuckoo thing a lot these days... Last school year they did get teased a little about the healthy lunches. One kid remarked that their fruit leather looked like poop. Nice, huh? This year we will be packing the SIGGs instead of packaged drinks. I say just whack the bully with the full SIGG. That sucker will leave a mark! :o)

arduous said...

Hey, what a great post. It is interesting how our eco-nuttiness affects others. And I bet your boys will ultimately grow up to be better and happier for your eco-changes. Because as Cindy W pointed out, there's nothing hotter than a man who frequents the farmers market. You can tell them that when they get older and start becoming interested in girls. ;)

Melissa said...

it's funny about the changes affecting others, isn't it? my husband agreed to not use paper towels, but couldn't remember (!?) what drawer I kept the cloth napkins in. So I moved his to a prominent spot right on the counter, and told him, "Just throw it right on the floor when you're done with it and I'll leave you a new one" but I'd still catch him tearing paper towels. Finally, I had to hide them on him! It wasn't a lack of desire to change, the habit was just so ingrained in him!

lauren said...

Your boys' future partners will thank you.

I myself have a very nice "Eco-Boyfriend" :) who appreciates those same things. He also likes fast food, sports, and beer, but in moderation (well, except for sports).

eco 'burban mom said...

Arduous - you're right! It is almost funny to see how my nuttiness affects my husband and my kids. The local chocolate milk was an easy transition. The veggies and homemade granola... not going so well! Oh, and the girls? Too late! They already like them.... ARGH!

Melissa - my husband STILL has a hard time with the paper towels. I have been on the same roll for two weeks now and he's getting better, but it's still a habit for him too.

Lauren - I hope my boys find girlfriends who appreciate these qualities in my boys - and who don't think I'm a total nut to boot!! :o)