Monday, May 24, 2010

Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I remember summer vacation being so exciting, it was filled with family fun, the smell of tanning lotion and lazy days that seemed to last forever. But that’s a child’s perspective, as a parent it looks a whole lot different. In fact, one of my favorite commercials is the Staples back to school commercial where the parents are happily buying school supplies for their kids, while singing the song “It’s the most wonderful time of year”. It still cracks me up today, so I’ve included the link below if you want to see it.

If you’re like most parents raising a child with a mood disorder, the whole warm and fuzzy feeling about summer vacation is long gone. Instead I’m feeling a little nervous as my boys count down their final days of school. Last year, at the beginning of summer, my son struggled with all the transitions. He became extremely impulsive and went into a violent rage, losing his best friend who witnessed the whole thing. From there, our summer was a battlefield with land mines exploding everywhere.

Now that he’s on a mood stabilizer, I feel much more confident, but I’m still concerned about him being bored. Boredom has always been a trigger for him, in the past he would bite someone just to start a fight for “entertainment”. So last year, I created a very heavy schedule to keep him busy. We were at the library, the parks and hours at the pool. I created structured craft times and lead adventure nature walks. Then, to mix it up, we went on field trips to the local grocery store, pizza place, fire department and police station. We also enrolled him in a one week science day camp and his Grandma created an awesome “Cousin’s Camp” filled with fun activities. But this year, my son doesn’t want to go to any science camps, leaving all those hours in my lap. And to be honest, I’m feel so tired these days, the thought of all that running around, trying to stay two steps ahead is just draining to me and summer hasn’t even started yet. I already know that the therapist will be instructing me to “keep him busy” and “wear him out”, much easier said then done. I think I’m just feeling run down from this past year and all we’ve been through, I think I’m the one that needs a summer vacation, can you relate?

So can you share any ideas on what you’ll be doing this summer to keep the peace?

Check it out! The most wonderful time of year commercial:


  1. A trampoline and a swimming pool in the backyard are the two things that have gotten me through many a summer with my Bipolar kids. Hikes up mountains worked well, too, but I left that for the Dad.

  2. "wear him out" is my motto every day. but yes, i agree. staying busy is what i'm planning for the summer. i live on the east coast so i am planning many trips to the beach. the park. long walks. museums when it rains. maybe we should keep a running list of summer activities and ideas that work to wear our kids out. i'll write them as i go.

  3. Taz-Great idea about sharing our summer fun, it will keep us inspired!

  4. My favorite commercial too (my kids get mad when it comes on)!
    My 10-year old son has bipolar disorder. Everything about his little brother irritates him (the sound of his brother chewing food, the sound of his brother talking, the proximity of his brother).
    We will be driving to Myrtle Beach in two weeks-- from Southeast Ohio with both children in close proximity, talking and chewing food. A nine hour drive. Good times.
    My son used to fight with his brother about pushing the elevator buttons (big surprise). Lately though he has a panic attack if we even walk near an elevator. The condo we will be staying in is on the 14th floor. More good times.
    So I'd like to say that I can't wait for a vacay, but I'm thinking I would probably have more fun weeding the garden.

  5. I commend you for keeping your son at home for the summer. My BP 7year old son is in day camp, everyday from 9-3 for the entire summer. We take one vacation week as a family but it is usually awful because no matter how hard we try to structure the days, my son always struggles. We spend many days waiting out the explosions and rages. He is currently in the middle of a med change and our vacation starts in one week. I'm trying to be optimistic but since he is not on a mood stabilizer right now (due to a skin reaction) I'm not so sure how it's going to go.