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Just a Few More Sleeps

Just a Few More Sleeps

We’re just days away from the Christmas holidays. The anticipation is killing my kids, and by extension it’s also killing me. They couldn’t be more jacked up if I filled them full of energy drinks and gave them packing bubbles to play with. They can’t sit still long enough to read a book. They can’t stop arguing long enough to remember what they’re fighting about. My sanity is fraying dangerously.

My coping techniques are as follows:

1) Send them to the workout room. We have a room (the old coal bin, actually) outfitted with a punching bag, a little trampoline, an elliptical machine, some light free weights, and some exercise balls. Even just 15 minutes down there can take the edge off the craziness.

2) Send them outside. The snow is too wet for sledding, and the downtown rink isn’t open yet, so there isn’t much to lure them outside, but there are still snowballs to be thrown and forts to be built. They might not stay out very long, but every little bit helps.

3) Send them to the library. We’re fortunate enough to live a block away from the public library. When the kids try to say they have no books, it’s my cue to send them down the street, lending cards in hand, to get something they like.

4) Send them to separate rooms. Dividing and conquering is an old technique precisely because it works. If I can get the youngest playing with Lego in the toy room, the middle one listening to music in the living room, and the oldest drawing at the dining room table, the chance of injury and property damage diminishes drastically.

5) Send them to a friend’s house (or have a friend come here). The benefit of sending a kid to someone else’s house should be obvious, but it also works to have other kids come to our place. It might seem counter-intuitive, but having a friend over keeps at least one kid distracted, which means less brotherly pestering, which means less fighting, which means less parental eye-twitching.

6) Send them to do chores. If they can’t get their energy out in ways that are positive, I channel it into activities that are at least productive. There’s always something that needs doing – tables set, dishes washed, garbage out, laundry put away – something. Doing a chore or two is sometimes just the ticket to call them down. And if not, at least we got some tasks accomplished.

That’s what I’ve got. Most days it gets me through until I can send them to bed. And, hey, it’s only a few more days until Christmas. Just a few more sleeps. So hang in there.