The kids will probably get you up early (between 6:15 and 6:45 a.m.). They will expect to be fed upon awakening from their restless slumber. They should only have two breakfast items (ex: a piece of fruit and some cereal). They will beg you for more, but BE STRONG. They can smell fear.
The three-year-old will probably be wet when she wakes up. After you take off her pull-up, that now weighs more than she does, make her sit on the potty. She will tell you she doesn’t need to go, but she should at least try. You don’t want a puddle on the floor.
I have picked out enough clothes for the kids to wear for the time that we’re gone. The preteen will try to try to create her own outfits. This is okay, but make sure all parts of her body are covered and she has shorts under her dresses. She might also try to “fix” her own hair. If you are okay with her looking like an extra from Annie, then feel free to let her fix her own hair. If not, then it might be better if you fix it.
When it’s time to get dressed, the six-year-old’s limp limb disease kicks in. When this illness strikes, he cannot lift his arms or legs to put them into shirts and pants. He will insist that you dress him because he’s “just so tired.” He is not tired or sick.
The preschooler will hinder the dressing process by dancing around naked just out of your reach. It’s a pretty fun game.
The preteen will eat anything you put in front of her as long as it’s not an avocado. If it is something she doesn’t like, she will say “ew” in her most teenagery voice. The three-year-old is the one that will give you trouble. Just keep chicken nuggets on hand, as well as yogurt and cheese sticks and you should be fine.
Also, the kids will not sit still for any meal. They will try to stand, dance, bounce and twist and shout through the entire meal. Remind them that they are eating a meal, not performing in a musical or shooting a game-winning basket and they should come back down to earth.
The children will try to convince you that they have snacks around the clock. These are lies. They can wait. They won’t die of starvation.
Riding in the Car
The pre-teen will try to convince you that she is allowed to sit in the front seat. She is not. Then she will dissolve into a pouty puddle and slink back to the very back where she can make grumpy faces at you in the rearview mirror. The two younger kids will argue about everything. The. Whole. Time. He will sing too loud. She will touch his shoe. He will say she is a “little kid.” And she will pelt him with a Goldfish cracker.
It is in your best interest to keep their bedtime as close to 7:30 p.m. as humanly possible. Because if they stay up too late, they begin to turn into gremlins. They grow sharp teeth, they make weird noises, and they try to climb the walls. You don’t want to see this. It’s not pretty.
The six-year-old will try to set the record for the world’s fastest toothbrushing time, so make sure you check that the toothbrush actually touched his teeth. Also, every kind of toothpaste is “too spicy” for him, so he will try to get you to put an undetectable amount on his brush. The preschooler loves to brush and floss, so she will try to make the process last all night. And they will all fight over the sink while they rinse and spit. It’s best if you just accept that this will happen.
The almost-first-grader will want to read to you, which will take approximately seven hours. If he takes too long, tell him you’ll finish the book and he can read to you in the morning. The three-year-old will also insist on “reading” the book, but try to distract her from doing this because it also takes approximately seven hours.
Once you have read all the books and sung all the songs and you’re making your exit, the children will then become stricken with a thirst that can only be quenched with kitchen water in the cup with the red lid. And once they have this need met, they will suddenly remember all the questions they’ve had for the last two years. And these won’t be easy questions like “what's our phone number” or “what did we have for dinner last night,” it will be head-scratchers like “what is a color” and “why do people die.” Thankfully, they will be so tired from a day of avoiding UV rays and splashing in the water that was supposed to stay in the kiddie pool, that they will eventually fall asleep mid-sentence and be ready to do it all again the next day.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.