THE ART OF JUGGLING CHILDREN THROUGH SUMMER

Remember The Ed Sullivan Show? Truly a pioneer of introducing unique but anonymous acts, Ed Sullivan would bring the most awesome-- seemingly impossible-- demonstrations of skill into our living rooms every Sunday night. One curious but typical Ed Sullivan-type act featured people juggling bowling pins-- two, three, even eight at a time-- while they were simultaneously doing something else! Today we no longer have The Ed Sullivan Show to which we can turn for this type of eccentric entertainment. But don't despair, for today there exists a modern version starring: Mothers, Children and summer.
Did you ever inflate a party balloon, hold the end without tying it, then suddenly let go and watch the balloon spin quickly and erratically until finally coming to rest on the floor? A related phenomenon occurs around the last week of June each year when thousands upon thousands of young children are released from school for the summer. Filled with ecstasy-- fueled with seemingly relentless energy-- they tear out of school in every direction, the intensity of their movements exceeded only by that of their mouths. They invade their homes with such enthusiasm about the forthcoming summer and all it beholds, that they are uncertain and confused about just what they will do first! Usually, its a party of some type (depending upon the ages of the children). Next, they engage in a host of water activities and other outdoor recreation. And for the parents, sights and sounds of children at play create a collage of warmth, happiness; a reverie of innocence as we, too, recall this wonderful time in our lives: The Endless Summer; every child's dream. It’s the next-best thing to birthdays and Christmas. But like all good things...
As the days pass and the air in their balloons begins running low, time slows down. The wind is gone from their sails, and those smiling faces become placid. The Endless Summer has become a summer in search of an ending. Enter, a Mother who despite having accomplished activities all year, free from concern about the welfare of her child-- at least for six hours a day, now needs to perform a juggling act. The task is one of balancing her regular routine with the onslaught of childhood summertime demands. Every year it’s the same old story ;a very old story.
In the beginning the child looked forward to summer, and it was good. He (she) could call friends and plan to meet at a pool or town the mall and become lost in the Arcade Jungle or see a movie; or remain at home and busy himself with a project such as building a fort or a doghouse. But, alas, sampling the fruits of summertime rendered him sated, prematurely. And the child did not know what to do. And this was not good. Though the fruits of summer were still plentiful, the child could only bellyache.
"Mom, I'm bored! What can I do?"
Relax. It's a rhythm, that's all-- like any juggling act. Ask a mother who has acquired this skill through years of practice. After establishing the rhythm with a couple of activities, children and errands, the object is to add several more simultaneously without dropping any...especially the children. A good juggler knows how to make this possible:

  1. Create some space as you add new pins, by tossing one pin higher than the others. Plan ahead. Anticipate that your child will likely become bored at some point during the summer, and that will hamper your ability to conduct your activities. Enroll him in an organized program--camp, day camp, town park sports league--for a portion of the summer (such as two weeks). These arrangements allow you to juggle your time in order to accomplish desired tasks in his absence; so you may better assimilate his demands into your schedule during his presence.
  2. Tossing pins the same way becomes routine, lacks novelty, and causes a juggler to break stride and make errors. As you add pins, try some fancy footwork. If after announcing his boredom, your child suddenly becomes totally dependent upon you for his summertime entertainment, make fulfilling his demands contingent upon his fulfilling yours! An example will suffice. "Mom, I'm bored! Can you pick up Ben and take the two of us to the mall now?" "Now I was planning to vacuum the house. I have an idea, though. If you vacuum your room, the hall and the living room right now while I do something else I had planned for later, we can go as soon as you are finished."

Maintain your rhythm and those for whom you are performing will be truly entertained while others will simply be in awe of your performance.