Earlier in the summer, I failed to understand why all the moms I know in Calgary were talking about the myriad of summer activities their kids would enjoy. There were tennis lessons, golf lessons, and every kind of camp imaginable. Being a bit of a homebody, and leery of having hyper-scheduled kids, I didn’t sign my kid up for anything.
And I won’t make that mistake again next summer.
The funny thing is, during the ‘school year’ G woke up every morning asking if ‘today was just a play day.’ One couldn’t help but conclude that the measly 6 hours of preschool he had to attend each week were just too much for him.
Hence my mistaken assumption that I had the ultimate summer kid; the kid who just wants to stay at home and do nothing. But, after three or four weeks of ‘nothing’, I’ve started scheduling things. Like enrolling him in vacation Bible school, and hounding people I know for play dates. But this morning, I was playdate-less, so I decided to sacrifice my own sense of ‘a good time’ and offer an outing to the park.
‘Should we go to a park this morning,’ I inquired brightly after breakfast. ‘No, I just want to stay home and play moonsand,’ my oldest replied. Fine. I guess.
Ten minutes later, having had a sudden change of heart, Mr. G announced: ‘yes, I want to go to the park!’ And he couldn’t find clothes and shoes fast enough. Within minutes we were out the door and onto the pavement, with the Hen in the stroller, heading in the direction of the park by our ‘old’ house. It’s funny how even the thought of such a short walk (five, maybe six minutes) with two kids can seem exhausting to someone who hates taking her kids to the park.
Maybe other moms like the park, but I don’t. Not really. If you go with another mom and her kids, it can be okay – assuming the kids don’t pummel each other with sticks or the tiny pieces of rubber lining the playground. Then, in between making sure no one falls off the colored metal structures and mediating arguments, you might get in a snippet of half-finished (adult) conversation.
But if you go by yourself, with just your kids, it’s a little more boring. You spend your time fielding requests for ‘underdogs’; trying to push one kid on the swing while making sure the other (smallest, usually) one doesn’t fall to the ground. And time suddenly passes in nanoseconds. What feels like twenty minutes, is only five. And you can’t very well arrive, set them loose and then announce: ‘five more minutes!’ That makes you a supremely un-fun mom.
Luckily today, after about ten minutes of fishing sand out of the Hen’s sandals, grabbing onto kids who’d gotten themselves in sticky climbing positions, and performing three ‘underdogs’, I convinced the boys to go for a walk down the hill(s). Knowing full well I’d have to carry the Hen back up. Both hills. But it was a price I was willing to pay – not to have to stand around on the playground covered in pea gravel.
As we walked back up hill number one, following a successful scouting mission for ‘lucky rocks’ we passed a troubadour. A gentleman lounging on a park bench, with a guitar sitting on his lap. We must have been quite a sight. The rather pregnant woman, carrying blond boy number two, who was wearing an orange shirt and blue shorts. While blond boy number one walked beside us, carrying his second lucky rock, also wearing an orange shirt and blue shorts. What can I say, sometimes we dress the boys in coordinating outfits.
Because what else is the point of having small children?
‘I bet the one on the inside is wearing orange and blue, too,’ our troubadour friend declared as we walked past his bench; making a pregnant belly motion with his right hand. (Lest I misunderstand what he meant by ‘inside’.) I had to laugh. Because less than ten minutes before his comment, I’d been imagining a similar day in early Fall; walking around with three boys clad in blue in orange.
‘I know, it’s kind of pathetic isn’t it,’ I replied. Even though, on this particular occasion the matchy-ness was actually Jason’s doing, and completely accidental.
And then I went home and had a Bejeweled Blitz relapse.
What can I say, it had been a rough day.