Monday, June 18, 2012

Go with the flow.

I've noticed a disturbing trend in my home.

On the mornings I have a plan for the day, the boys inevitably get wrapped up in some simple yet unendingly fun world of make-believe where brothers play and laugh and cooperate and come up with clever little scenarios that keep them busy as bees who only occasionally emerge from their bedrooms for "supplies" (like Baby Yoshi or some dry cereal or a calculator...) and who otherwise entertain themselves and each other for long (blissfully uninterrupted) stretches of time. There's no fighting. No  yelling, "Mama!". They share every single thing they own. They are completely immune to the lure of the television...

It's magical.

Or it would be if I was at all prepared to take advantage of it. But I never am. Nope. Usually when that happens I have my bag all packed and my coffee in a to-go cup and my sunglasses on my head (a new expression Liam came up with) and I'm standing by the front door like an idiot waiting for my children to get annoyed with each other so we can just hurry up and LEAVE already.

So the next time I have the opportunity to make a plan or NOT make a plan, I happily skip the plan. The plan will be the un-plan! The simple magic of a do-nothing summer vacation. The whole day will stretch before us without so much as a single to-do on our non-existent to-do list. We'll wake up slow, I'll pour myself a big cup of coffee and settle onto the couch to watch the magic unfold before me.

But of course it never does. Because those days are SO boring. And Finn keeps getting into Liam's stuff and Liam just wants to chill out and watch a show and it's WAY too hot to go outside and now one of them is crying and the other one is whining and what the heck happened to that magical world that existed just yesterday?!

So the next day I come up with a plan to save my sanity and guess what? Yep. It takes us FOREVER to get out of the house because suddenly HOME is the MOST FUN place in the whole world and WHY do we have to go somewhere NOW? Can't we just stay home and PLAY?!

Telling a kid they can't PLAY on summer vacation seems insane, right? But guess what? If I relent and say, "Oh, okay fine. We'll skip The Plan and just stay home so you guys can play and I can do some of the totally existent things on my neglected to-do list," guess what happens?

"MAAAMAAAAAAA!!!"

Every. Single. Time.

And by that point it's too late for The Plan! I know it's only been 10 minutes - that's how it works! To leave now would mean we'd have to pack a lunch and Finn's nap would be ruined and the whole thing would be a disaster. Nope, sorry, not happening. We have committed to enjoying each other and our home all day long and, by gum, we will make it happen!

Those are the days I'm glad to have a backyard. And a hose. And the flexibility to say, "Screw it!" when it's not working so we can try something else. Because frankly, it doesn't matter how good a plan looks in your head, if no one's having fun it's a BAD PLAN.

Liam was supposed to go to camp today. We signed him up months ago for three weeks this summer. I was afraid that was too much but he was really excited about it. "You mean I get to go there and PLAY for 7 whole hours?! Psshhyeah! Sign me up!" He had his first week already and seemed to really enjoy it. But last night when I reminded him he was going again this morning, he put his head down and frowned.

"What's wrong, buddy? I thought you really liked camp."

"I do. It's just...it's not my fave."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, like, it's fun. I just don't feel very comfortable there."

Darn. It's probably because of those kids who made fun of his toe nail polish. Or because Finn cries hysterically every time we drop him off. Or because they have to change into their swim suits in the locker room, "Like, ALL TOGETHER." Or just because he doesn't like to miss out on what's going on at home.

I left it up to him. Yes we would lose our deposit if he chose not to go but we wouldn't have to pay the balance for something that he didn't like. I'm no mathematician but that sounded like a fine deal to me. I told him to sleep on it and let me know in the morning. But when he got up he still wasn't sure.

I told him to try listening to his body. "Practice what it would feel like if you decided to go and what it would feel like if you decided not to. Whatever decision makes you feel best is probably what you should do. Your mind can play lots of tricks on you but your body won't lie."

He tried it and immediately knew that camp was not for him. So we decided to go to the lake beach. Eventually

And when that stopped being fun (around the time the bus load of kids came screaming into the lake and our sunscreen wore off), we decided to dry off and eat our picnic lunch and head home for a rest.

But not before Finn emptied his VERY full bladder into his swim diaper while sitting on my lap. Which meant one more swim. And, shoot, while we were down there, we may as well build another sand castle...



 

I guess the moral of this story (since I didn't have a plan to write this it just kinda happened while the boys were lost in their magical fun world and I was waiting to go to the lake beach with my sunglasses on my head...) is that I'm so glad I've found a bit of time for yoga lately because I am going to need my flexibility if I want to survive the summer!

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