Wednesday, June 3, 2009
I have become one of those people who says things like "time flies" and "I can't believe how big you've grown" without a trace of irony. No joke time passes and can I REALLY not believe that a child has grown, it does tend to happen every now and again, no...?
And yet: My lord, time flies. Is it really June? I just got the "reminder" in D's lunchbox that the end of his "school year" is this Friday. A mild panic started to set in. What am I going to do with D. allll summer? I have gotten very accustomed to the managed chaos of my two youngest ones at home while D is at preschool 4 days a week. Come next Monday, there will be another set of needs to address everyday--and this set has a louder voice!
My first thought was to consult my BFF google on things like "activities for toddlers in Berkeley" and "summer classes for kids." And there is an array of options. Gymnastics, music camp, every sport under the sun, organic farming (this is Berkeley), swimming lessons, underwater basket weaving...endless possibilities.
But even as I was masterminding my chock-a-block summer activities for D., I could feel the tug in the back of my head, the voice from somewhere in my childhood, questioning this over-scheduling I was in the midst of planning.
I spent many summers catching frogs in the backyard of my house. My next door neighbor C. and I spent entire days making up fantasies in which, on any given day, the swamp that ran through both of our yards was a magical land of flying cars (we lived in Michigan--cars featured prominently in our fantasies), or a secret garden full of treasuers to unearth. Sure, there were swim classes here and there, family trips and whatnot. But the majority of the summers of my childhood could best be described as unstructured. And when I think back on them, I cannot conjure up beautiful enough words to describe how perfect they were.
Obviously I am running the risk of being simply nostalgic and sentimental. But can't summer just be summer? Can't our kids read their books all day, laze around outside, stop--for lack of a better phrase--and smell the roses, eucalyptus, organically grown produce? Maybe they will get bored sometimes. Forgive me but: so what??
Welcome to the "slow parenting movement." It is an idea whose time has come. To support it: Here are some recipes for bubbles. I can imagine long afternoons blowing bubbles into the faces of my three babies. That is enough activity for one summer day.