Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Calling All Extra Ordinary Children

It happened today.  I was so unprepared for the question that I was nearly unseated.  I was struck dumb...and probably looked pretty stupid as well.  I was just hanging around, shooting the breeze with a couple of cooped up mommies whose children are on Spring Break this week.  A break from what I feel compelled to ask?  The rigors of learning how to tell time and playing basketball in gym class?  But I digress...

Well there we were, plotting and planning the remaining days of the Break and someone dropped the bomb.  Eager.  Perky.  Innocent.  "So what kinds of things are you signing your kids up for this Summer?"  Ummmm...uhhhh...  "We're just having such a hard time deciding between soccer and dance camp because they overlap with play practice and swim lessons and art enrichment and, and,'s all so overwhelming."  Well shit.

Am I overwhelmed by the number of summer options?  Well, I wasn't before she asked that confidence crushing question.  It's March.  If this maternal administrative assistant is overwhelmed simply by the choices then how the hell is the kid going to feel when he gets his schedule in June? 

Sometimes, actually a lot of the time, I have guilt about this.  I have this intense fear jealousy of you mothers who are already signing up for swim teams and soccer lessons. You internet mavens who wake at 11:49 pm to wait, finger poised over the half filled out online registration form, for the clock to tick over to 12 am so you can get in on the mad rush to sign up for a very popular summer camp.

The truth's me.  I am simply not willing to spend my summer running from one activity to the next and keeping a calendar so I can remember who has what on which day.  Am I squandering their opportunities?  Perhaps.  Missing out on a chance that my kid is the next female tennis phenom?  I guess.  Clipping her artistic wings by letting the deadline for art camp pass us by?  Sigh...   These children that are being groomed, grown, shaped, enriched, trained...they will most certainly evolve into extraordinary young people. 

So where does that leave me and my kids?  Actually, it doesn't leave us anywhere as far as I'm concerned.  It puts us exactly where I meant to put us.

Our plans for the summer include a variety of very ordinary activities.  Humdrum, commonplace time fillers like riding bikes on the street in front of our house and impromptu wagon parades with left over 4th of July streamers.  Creating sandbox cities, chalk masterpieces on the driveway and spectacularly muddy pies complete with refugee earthworms.  Running in the sprinkler, reading in the shade and eating pb&j sandwiches at the park (the one with the swings and the slide, not the roller coasters and the 40 story water feature.)  How ordinary...

So if you have some extra ordinary children hanging around your house this summer, please bring them over to play with my girls.  We'd be happy to share our rather mundane kind of fun.  We'll kick ordinary red balls through ordinary goals made with sticks from the woods.  We'll make ordinary art work with ordinary supplies.  We'll get them wet with ordinary water...right from the hose. 

What?!  You don't have a fancy battery operated squirt gun with lights and a heat seeking tracking device?  Don't worry, I have a stash of industrial sized spray bottles that work just as well AND they don't need to be refilled nearly as often.  How extraordinary.


  1. Ooooh! If you lived closer, I would invite your ordinary kids to play with my ordinary kids in my ordinary backyard this summer. Our plans include forts made from dirty beach towels and lawn furniture and possibly a popsicle or two. :)

    Loved this post! It has inspired me.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly! I've been feeling "guily" because Eleanor hasn't taken swimming lesson yet - she's only 4. Along the same line of thinking, I actually had my boss tell me that her son (who's 5) really needed a big vacation this year. Really? Because he's been working so hard and has so much stress in his life that you better take him to the Bahamas on Mickey's ship? Now believe me, we want to do Disney someday too - but, I don't think small children "need" a vacation! Sheesh!!

  3. Good job, girl!

    In our case, simplifying our lives has been made easy due to financial stress. I want to downsize the toys and maybe paint Rebecca's bedroom as the major projects this summer.

    I also plan to bake bread (yes, YOUR yeast breads) at least once a week. Julie and I are going to try it a week from Saturday during a playdate.

    Maybe we could send in free, simple, around-the-house summer activities to you and you could write a post listing them? I'm using your blog as my bread recipe holder anyway...

    (who always has great ideas for other people to put into action)