June 2, 2009 in City

Bedlam rules the day

But parents say they can control the chaos that spring brings for active children
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Photos by Dan Pelle danp@spokesman.com photo

Kari Caruso checks Benny’s attire he leaves home for his tae kwon do lesson. danp@spokesman.com
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

May is the new December for parents and their school-age children, with spring becoming as crazy as the holiday season hustle and bustle.

The end of the school year. Wrapping up athletic events. Martial arts classes. Final musical and theatrical performances. Attending graduations and the parties that follow. Not to mention any family events that might come up.

Perhaps chaos is the best description.

“Somehow, you just make it work,” said James Whiteley, a father of four in Cheney.

“There’s really no busier time of year for students of all ages,” said Terren Roloff, Spokane Public Schools spokeswoman.

Events such as breakfasts, field trips, proms, concerts and playoffs for sports are just the beginning.

Coming up this week for the Whiteleys: “We have a kindergarten graduation, a preschool graduation, another graduation party to attend, two baseball games, a track meet and a band concert,” James Whiteley said.

The Whiteley boys – 12-year-old Jacob, 6-year-old James and 5-year-old Joshua – all play baseball on different teams. Their father coaches two of them. Whiteley’s daughter, 9-year-old Jolene, joined a track club that runs through July.

How do he and his wife, Shelley, make it work? A family calendar does the trick.

“Every Sunday, we make sure the week is all planned out, and every night we figure out who is taking which kid where,” said James Whiteley, who is self-employed. The kids’ grandparents and an aunt help, too.

Spokane mother of three Kari Caruso said handling multiple kids going in multiple directions could not be done without help.

“I’m so grateful for other moms,” she said. “I ask for help all the time” in juggling soccer, play rehearsals, music lessons and tae kwon do for 14-year-old Megan, 12-year-old Sydney and 10-year-old Benny.

At one or two points during the soccer season, all three Caruso kids had soccer games on different fields about the same time on the same day. Sydney performed five times in the Spokane Children’s Theater’s “Heidi,” and Benny and Megan had piano recitals last weekend.

The Carusos wrapped up the busiest part of the spring last weekend. Kari’s husband, Pete Caruso, said a trip to Spirit Lake might be in order.

The Whiteleys say they have sporting events scheduled well into the summer, so they’ll have to wait for a break.

“When it’s all over, we’re going to take a vacation and get rejuvenated for the next season,” said James Whiteley, who sat down with all the sports schedules to figure out when the family could get away. He found one week in July where nothing was scheduled. “The boys start football in August.”

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