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Taking a break

Taking a break

I’m not sure if everyone’s kids are like this, but mine sometimes need a stimulus break.

Take this weekend for example. We had a first Thanksgiving dinner at my Dad’s place on Saturday night, with lots of cousins and craziness. The kids ended up watching most of the hockey game and getting to bed way too late.

Then we had a second Thanksgiving on Sunday at our place for my wife’s side of the family, with fewer cousins and craziness, but with another late night of sleep overs and movies and video games.

Then we had a third Thanksgiving dinner on Monday at our place for the Syrian family that we’re supporting and a bunch of other friends. There were no cousins at all, but oh my heavens was there craziness, with children everywhere, people talking at top volume in both English and Arabic, and three different screens playing a kids’ movie, a video game, and a football game all at the same time.

By the end of the third evening, the kids (especially the younger two) were a total mess. There was (in no particular order), swinging from a tree by a garden house, stealing and throwing of a friend’s shoes over the neighbour’s fence, breaking of a portable CD player, screaming, hitting, fighting, swearing, name calling, and total disobedience.

It was something to behold.

So, my wife and I had a little chat in bed (after everyone was finally asleep), and we decided that we all (parents included) needed a little break from all the stimulus. We decided to take this week and have everyone stay at home as much as possible and have as few visitors as possible. Instead, we’ll try to do a family activity each night (play some games, do some baking, make some crafts, spend some time reading – anything calm and quiet). And early to bed all week.

The children weren’t exactly thrilled when we shared that decision with them this morning. They made impassioned speeches about how they weren’t overstimulated and tired, about how their behaviour hadn’t really been so bad, and about how unfair we were being to them. They stopped short of actual tears, but there was certainly enough whining and complaining to make up for it.

But things have been going really well since they got home from school. My middle guy and I went to move a garden bench for my step-father. We all took a short walk down to the library to get books together. They shot some hoops in the driveway or played in the tree fort. Everyone seems much happier.

So far so good.