Apathy · family fun · Kids · parenting · The COVID files

Day 15: Make Your Own Fun

If I hear “Eema?” one more time today, I’ll lose it.

Unless it’s immediately followed by “I made you brownie in a mug” — that would be fine.

You know how I say that happiness is a simple equation of reality minus expectations? Yeah, I decided to lower my expectations. Like, reeeeally lower them. How low, you ask?

My kids probably had 8 hours of screen time today. When they were outside, they were climbing all over my car. I did not play with them. And all of that was okay.

Actually, I try not to play with my kids if I can help it. I truly believe that kids need to play with each other, learn problem solving and risk taking, and negotiate the terms of their own games, without adult intervention. Adults seem to have a knack for interrupting children’s play and putting the focus back on themselves. But I digress.

One of the beautiful side effects of this quarantine experience is that my children are playing — the kind of play psychologists rhapsodize about. They spent four days playing Pirates; They were running all over the house, laughing and shrieking, while I drank my morning coffee; This afternoon they went out into the backyard (aka the Mud Pit) and busied themselves with some garden tools, an old blue recycling box, and some mud. Later I discovered that they had decided to create a vermicomposting bin. They dug up the worms, gave them a bit of mud, and then took a bag of compostable garbage out of the green bin (yes, really) and emptied its contents into the box. They mixed it all together and added some pieces of plants, and then they dragged the bin over to the back door so I could see what they’d done. They were filthy, tired, and proud of themselves.

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(For my part, I was glad that we haven’t managed to landscape the yard since we finished the renovation. It’s ugly, but the Mud Pit obviously has greater scope for messy play.)

The one thing I actually made an effort to do today was a front-porch sing-along. I set up a zoom meeting, sent the link to all my Facebook friends, and sang and played my heart out for 45 minutes. You’d think the kids would have enjoyed that, right? But no, after about two minutes they left to hang out on the roof of our car. Some passers-by really enjoyed it, though. So did all three people who joined us on Zoom.

And the rest of the day was just what I said above. The kids played together or watched Netflix. Dinner was whatever leftovers were in the fridge. Mr. December watched Jurassic Park with K and N in the attic while E, R, and I snuggled up on the couch to watch Sugar Rush.

So, another day of really lazy parenting. Everyone is still alive and everybody got fed. N even changed his underwear, which pushes our day into the category of “exceeds expectations”. According to that math, I’m pretty happy.

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