Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Against the lists

I have been seeing posts in my news feed with titles like "25 things your toddler must do this summer" and "15 crafts every kid must make," and I shy away from them. Not because I couldn't use a few ideas or creative activities to do with the girls when they need some structured play. I don't like what they imply. I don't like the intonation that unless I am checking numerous items off a list, I am unsuccessful. I know the titles are meant to be attention-grabbers, directing me to links sponsored by advertisements companies want me to see. But still, it is hard not to feel the pull.

I even thought about coming up with my own summer bucket list, a form of insurance against letting time slip by, opportunities missed. The more I thought about it, the more I understood that my mind is full of great ideas already. I am happy to hand over the reigns to the girls and ask what they would like to do. Sometimes I am taken by surprise that the thing they want to do most is walk around the block and collect fallen pine cones. There are nights I tuck Abby in and she tells me the best part of her day was swimming with me while the other girls napped.

Summer says she would like to continue eating potting soil this summertime.
Weather fluctuates, moods are dependent on a good night's sleep, energy levels depend on the heat of the day and the food in their bellies. I would prefer to take things as they come, feel a day out and see what works best. There are days when we wake up and it is very clear that the best way to spend the morning would be to bring goldfish crackers to the park, play, eat, and walk back home at a dawdling pace. Other days, there is nothing better to do than take a dip in the pool and air dry in our bathing suits while we watch birds fly. Today, we joined friends at the beach to throw rocks in the river, which it suited us perfectly.

There are lots of great crafts, games, stories and activities on Pinterest and online that I can reference when I feel like it, or when the girls need a change of pace. The inviting warmth of summer breezes and the beating heat of midday sun are far better guidelines as to how to spend our days. We are only blessed with summer weather for a few months each year, and I'd hate to lose sight of the beauty of a summer downpour because I am fixated on looking up, "fun activities for a rainy day." When a two-year-old runs out the door in her clothes, delighting in getting soaked to the bone in warm, fat rain, who am I to argue?

Abby in her dance recital, maxing out on her four beats of solo time.

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