Our superstar Au Pair, Wiebke, was on vacation last week, which just happened to coincide with Looly's spring break. In the spirit of full disclosure, the prospect of five solid days home alone with my under-four brood was not exceptionally appealing. Judge me if you will, but really, one of the best things that's ever happened to us is the Au Pair program. Wiebke, and her predecessor, Debbie, have undoubtedly saved us countless hours and dollars in family therapy, visits from social services, and booze. You think I'm kidding. Sadly, come July, we will say goodbye to Vivi, as the kids have affectionately dubbed Wiebke, and move forward as a family of five, not a happy six, as we are now. I don't like to think about it but in essence this was a preview of the rest of our lives and the thought had me terrified.
Somewhat surprisingly we all came out of the week mentally and physically intact despite four prolifically runny noses, three hacking coughs, and little sleep. In our house, and many others I'm sure, sick kids mean no sleep. In our house, it also tends to mean lots of vomit. Fortunately, the sleep and vomit did not overlap this time around, so that was a bonus. I hate changing sheets and kids in the middle of the night. No matter what, it's just twenty times worse cleaning up a sobbing, stinky child in the dark in your pjs. Minor setbacks become the apocalypse after 2 am.
As for the success of the week, Mother Nature gets credit on this one. What a freakin' incredible weather week! If global warming means eighty degree temperatures in Chicago in late March, I am all in. My air conditioners will run year round. I will drive to the corner store in my enormous gas-guzzling minivan for plastic single-serving water bottles. I will rack up frequent flyer miles left and right. I'm converting the recycling bin to an ash tray. Okay, perhaps not, but I have been tempted. How much can a few measly degrees hurt? (Please no comments from those of you residing in low-lying coastal communities.)
Regardless of the reason, we took full advantage and played summertime. Shorts, t-shirts, and sandals all around. Playground, walks to the park, picnic lunches, popsicles, open windows, stories on a beach towel in the backyard. The water table was out in full force. It was awesome and we all had a blast. Yeah, even me.
Lessons learned from the week: My kids can get along for more than five minutes. Fingerpaint comes out of silk/rayon blends splendidly. Vaseline does not. Drinking standing rain water from the top of a paint can won't kill you. Shouting out the colors of cars as they zoom past is a great way to distract a couple of grumpy toddlers. I don't mind playing restaurant for the fiftieth time in a day as long as it's under sunny skies and light easterly breezes. Obviously, the main takeaway from this experience is that as long as we live in perpetual summer from here on out, everything will be just fine.