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Family hosts own version of Olympic Games

By: Tony Overbay
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Well, it’s that time of year again. Back to school. Summer break, something that seemed to go on forever as a kid, now seems to last all of a couple of weeks as an adult. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but here I sit writing this column on Monday afternoon, realizing that we need to do some serious back-to-school shopping, as well as cram in a few more trips, movies and bike rides into the next 3½ hours in hopes of making this summer memorable for the kids. In reality, this summer we did a decent job. We wrote down the things we wanted to do and we did them all, at least as far as the kids are concerned. We hit the beach, went on a vacation, sunburned at Sunsplash, went on day-trips, had family movie nights and, well, look at that! Are those pencil eraser shavings on the summer to-do list? If you look close enough, you’ll see the word “camping” etched deeply into the paper. Last summer, we waited until the last minute to check off camping from the summer to-do list and found ourselves after being turned away all along Folsom Lake on the dusty shores of Camp Far West Lake. Nothing says camping like 100-degree weather. We even roasted marshmallows, much to the chagrin of the park ranger, who informed us that even camping traditions were banned on a no-burn day. Plus, if we headed out now we’d miss the Olympics! Olympic fever has truly caught on in the Overbay home, or better yet, our Olympic village. Right now, my wife and I compete nightly in popular events such as “synchronized child bedding.” We try and see if we can have the kids in bed within an hour of when we first make the announcement that it’s bedtime. Each time we feel the need to repeat ourselves and remind our kids that they are supposed to be brushing their teeth or putting on their PJs, we’re docked a minute. Right now our record is 2 hours and 17 minutes, far behind the 3 ½ minute record held by the German parenting team. My 4-year-old son is seriously threatening my oldest daughter’s record of 11 drinks of water after being put to bed. The difficulty level on this event has risen dramatically as he only recently shed his Pull Ups. He’s now competing in the “undies” category, and not very successfully, I might add, making the Olympic janitorial staff quite frustrated on a daily basis. Speaking of undies, at least he leaves those on. He’d be a gold medalist in the floor exercise, as in leaving his clothing on the floor. He’s worse than any of my daughters when it comes to clothes. He can actually match things far better than me, which isn’t really saying much, but he just has a love of clothes and manifests it by changing at least a half a dozen times a day, much to the chagrin of my wife, my washing machine and my wallet. Each dismount, so to speak, leaves a pile of clothes on the floor. Thankfully, we’re past the juice cup years or we could compete with anyone on number of lost juice cups per day. It seems that we’d purchase a new set every couple of weeks, wondering where the others had gone. Eventually we’d find out. Just give it a couple of weeks and follow that sour smell to area of the garage or behind a couch. For some reason, I always felt the need to first shake the cup, and let’s just say what started out as a liquid, typically chocolate milk, rarely ended up that way. Then I’d have to open it up to take a peek, not sure why? It’s a natural reaction somewhat akin to the “hey, smell this” reflex so many guys have when stumbling upon something foul. What I’d find in these cups, well, we’re talking penicillin, straight up mold, and that’s when my gag reflex would kick in. Now we just go through a few dozen plastic cups each day. And much like the Olympians had to adjust their internal clocks from U.S. to Beijing time, we’re trying to work on getting our kids internal clocks to adjust from summer to school time. This is something that should probably be given a bit more planning rather than a brief discussion during a 9 p.m. dinner two nights before school starts. Just like Michael Phelps needs his goggles and swim cap, my kids need their backpacks and pencil boxes. Currently, my daughter doesn’t have an acceptable pencil box. With the way she’s acting, you would think she was an Olympic marathon runner who had forgotten one of her shoes. And if we carry this analogy farther, would a tube of Elmer’s glue be akin to the runner’s energy gel? I know I powered through a fair amount of paste in my day and I certainly wasn’t lacking in energy. And just as the Olympic drama will end in just a few short days, so will the drama of back-to-school. And as we turn our attention to the winter Olympics of 2010, so will our kids soon turn their attention to the winter break of ’08 where the goggles and pencil boxes will be safely tucked away and the sleds and scarves will take their place. – Tony Overbay is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern practicing at The Place Within in Roseville under the supervision of Darlene Davis, MFT Lic No. 40875. Tony can be contacted at www.tonyoverbay.com or by e-mailing tony@tonyoverbay.com.