I wear a T-shirt that says, “Mother of Dragons.” The creators intended it as a nod to the book and HBO series, “Game of Thrones,” but I adopted this fine piece of clothing as a disclaimer: I live with four, active boys, and that includes a set of triplets.
In my mom-world—and maybe yours—it sometimes feels like I’m sitting next to a three-headed dragon, and it’s not Puff or Pete. I’m behind a shield, helmet on my lap, a knightress prepared for distress, because who knows what my beasts will get into next.
With summer approaching, dragons are home a lot. That always adds to the family stress of juggling schedules—activities, camps, vacations—and boredom in-between.
Whether you have one or more kiddos, boys or girls, dragons are still, well, dragons. They are not properly cared for locked up in a dark cave where they can get edgy, annoying or naughty. Instead, dragons need to stretch their wings and fly. For those with tinies, feeling stuck in a cave, y’all need adequate amounts of sunshine, too. I remember the days when we were dragging a three-year-old and triplet infants out to Riverfest for some relief, mainly ours. Quilts and water are wonderful things, especially entering an Arkansas summer.
Living in our land-of-too-much-humidity, my mom shared a powerful potion to tame the dragons, and you may need a sip too. She gave water to her dragons. That water was delivered with creativity.
First, dragons love watermelon, or cantaloupe, summer’s fruit. My mom spread newspapers on the picnic table, cracked open a large, cold, green beauty; a pink feast for fire-breathing kids with blotchy, red cheeks.
Dragons also love the hose, that green snake hooked up to the side of the house. Pull it out and spray the dirt off the scales. Fill up the wading pool for the talons. Douse the slip-and-slide. Let the big ones throw water bombs and use squirt guns. Hit the community pool, or a neighbor’s.
Dragons love ice. Mine cool down at our local ice rink. If old enough, dragons will freeze water for you in all manner of concoctions, just to see what happens to it. Young ones love it crushed, in various unearthly colors, a syrupy mess called “snow cones.”
Dragons enjoy water parks and splash pads, but no problem. Central Arkansas has some great ones, from War Memorial to Riverfront, stretching to Benton and Hot Springs.
Dragons often like to dip their wings into local lakes, some Natural State heaven. Our dragons are especially fond of Heber Springs. Their uncle lets them fly on a fancy tube behind his boat, and they take turns foraging their aunt’s irresistible snacks.
It’s great to try a faraway beach. But don’t forget we’ve got a great environment for thriving dragons, whose care in summer requires water and playtime outside. Parents included.
You can read more editions of my column, "Parent-ish" in Little Rock Family Magazine each month.