Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Good Clean Fun

I don't see what's so great about summer. I'm not the kind of person who needs to spend a lot of time outside. It seems like it would be nice but I always find better things to do. My kids are the same. If I take them to the park they'll be happy:

-as long as it's not too hot
-as long as I have the proper amount of water and snacks
-as long as friends can be found there
-as long as we don't stay too long
-as long as I have sunscreen and bug spray
-as long as they don't have to walk too far
-as long as our park doesn't smell like natural fertilizer (ok, shit) which our park often does
-as long as I brought the right sand toys, bikes, sports equipment, whatever

Honestly, I have to pack as much for the park (a one block walk) as I do for the pool. My kids are just as happy at home. I know I'll rue the day I wrote this once winter settles in but as much as I say I want to go walking on the nature trail (bugs) or take my kids to the zoo (yuck) or even to the pool (oy) it's more the fantasy than the reality.

At the same time, I'm totally sick of being the activities director for my kids. If I hear the words "What can I DO?" one more time I'm going to scream. Talia has school three days a week as well as tennis, arts and crafts, ballet and swimming. This is not enough? You just wait until kindergarten starts sweetheart and you'll be begging me for some time off! Our days consist of a rotation of coloring, playing with Polly's, tv watching and chasing Alex around. Throw in some book reading, a few puzzles and a game here and there. I don't remember anyone playing with ME when I was little. I've got stuff to do too you know. Alex, of course is an angel and entertains himself well-- without all those activities.

I tell Talia to go into the playroom which is FILLED with toys. Legos and other building materials, puzzles galore (but I want you to HELP ME mom!), dolls and stuffed animals, trucks and trains, My Little Ponies, Littlest Pet Shop figures, Smurfs, musical instruments, dress-ups, books, games, a play kitchen, medical sets, colorforms, magnets, a fairy tent-- I could go on and on and on. Not to mention the basement, her bedroom and a HUGE art closet with EVERY material imaginable. I don't mind setting her up with something to do and even helping her do it. I want her to COME UP WITH what she wants to do. It's a real problem.

To that end, sometimes the kids really surprise me. I notice lately that when kids come to play they seem to really make their own fun together without taking out tons of toys. This Friday evening FOUR kids ages 6, 5, 4 and 2 played together with no parental involvement. I think all they used was the basement slide and the cozy coupe and maybe climbed on the treadmill (unplugged, of course). It was a dream!

Ron and I have been slowly making progress on cleaning out our storage room over the last week. One of the reasons I want to get in there is to find some new (old) toys and do a better job of rotating the ones we have out. We cleaned out a lot of boxes and I offered them to the kids. Talia wanted to make an airplane out of one of them so I helped her cut windows and attach "wings." THAT'S the creative type of play I dream of for her and I'm more than happy to facilitate it. SHE came up with the idea of what she wanted. She and Alex have been decorating her oosh (That is what Alex calls airplanes because whenever we see/hear them we say "Alex, see the airplane? Whoooosh!"). On the downside, that activity seems done-- 24 hours later.
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