The afternoon stretched before me, ripe with potential. With Chris taking the car in for repairs, I had the kids to myself on a warm, sunny day. The park nearby beckoned. The seeds for our garden still needed starting, months before they could go in the ground. And we still had the make-your-own bird feeder activity I had promised Sprout that we would do since we got birdseed in church for some mysterious reason. Why not do it all? None of it would take very long, right? Silly me.
Here’s a few of the ways an afternoon filled with old-fashioned activities can go not-quite-as-planned:
- On the way to the park, your three-year-old becomes convinced he is a train. He has an elaborate scenario in his head about what “tracks” and “loops” he needs to follow as he tools around the yard on his balance bike. After he’s claimed he’s on his “last loop” and you’ve strapped the baby into the stroller, he cries out in desperation, “but this one’s the last onnnnnne!”
- On the way back from the park, he careens down the sidewalk on his bike without putting his feet down. Your breath catches in your throat. Just before he goes out-of-control, he turns the handlebars and ends up on the grass.
- As you start planting seeds, your child is up to his elbows in mud. He “cleans” his hands by wiping them on his sweater and pants.
- You start the whole seed starting extravaganza way too late in the afternoon and have to wake up the baby from his nap midway through.
- You’re trying to hold the baby and pour the seed-starting dirt without dropping either. While you’re focusing on the dirt, the baby grabs a whole package of edamame seeds and dumps them on the deck.
- As you bring the plants down to the seed-starting station in the basement, your kid follows you and tromps all over the white carpet with mud-covered sneakers.
- Finally making the bird-feeder craft, you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake. Instead of being smart and putting the peanut butter in a bowl, you’ve raked the knife along the dirty pinecone and stuck it back in the jar multiple times. God knows what creepy crawlies are it it now. At least you realized this before you tried to make a sandwich.
- Your kid tries to “clean up” – by brushing birdseed from the table to the floor.
- The baby, who you’ve given to your husband so he doesn’t eat the birdseed, grabs a glass. It promptly crashes to the kitchen floor and shatters into many, many tiny pieces.
- Both children have enjoyed the afternoon with you so much that they scream hysterically when they realize they have to go to bed.
Despite all that, we actually did have a fantastic day (minus the bedtime screaming). While they made a massive mess, all of us had a lot of fun. It just goes to show that children and houses are washable. Also, “simple” doesn’t always mean easy but it is still fun.
While I do love a good plan, they don’t always go as intended. For a couple of other times everything went to hell, check out When Good Plans Go Bad and The Highs and Lows of Camping with a Toddler. Follow me on Facebook for more updates!