Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rambling on and on about activities

I love it when I get emails that give me something to write about besides Africa (five more days!).

Here's one I got the other day. It's from a friend with a houseful of children, toddler to elementary ages. It reads like a page out of my own personal journal a few years ago. Maybe it sounds like a page from yours, too.

Here's the first part. I'll take the next parts later in the week:
Katherine, I have been following your summer posts and I need some advice. I read your posts and quite frankly, the future scares me. I know that it's like being newlywed and looking at a happy couple of a toddler and deciding not to have kids because it looks too hard. Babies come out as babies for a reason. And then they progress into toddlers, and then preschoolers, and then school age...well, you get the idea.

I still get scared when I think about the future though. Up until now, we haven't had any activities outside of the home. With five kids so close together it just hasn't been possible. But my older two are jump starting things by going to kids' camp this year for two nights of camping at our church. That is really going to get the ball rolling.

Um, how do you keep the ball from rolling right out of control with you on it, trying not to look like a circus act? Fear of being out of control is the underlying issue here. It is what has kept me from allowing my older children to branch out into sports, girl scouts, and other positive activities outside the home.
Today's thought:

1. On trying not to look like a circus act. Good luck with that.

We were just watching old family videos the other day. For hours, we stepped back in time. One of the favorites we found was one where all seven of us (kids ages 1-11) were on an airplane together. OH, we must have been such a sight!! Taking up two rows and sitting across the aisle from each other...passing the baby back and forth, picking up markers and gum wrappers off the floor. So noisy, and sheesh, just all of our STUFF!!

My entire memory of the older children's first years playing sports is always being the last one in the parking lot. Everyone else was long gone, but there I was, still...buckling everyone in and out of car seats, changing diapers (why did they always poop just as we were heading home? Could they not wait the fifteen minutes until we got back to the privacy of our own changing table?) putting strollers, diaper bags, sippy cups and snacks back in the car, cleaning up spills, and dismantling arguments about who gets to sit where - all while trying to tell my young player, "Great job today!"

Ahh, those were the days.

I guess because the car-seat days are behind me (sniff!), when I see families, especially young families, I just love to watch all the different interactions that are going on. It is truly fascinating.

You might as well embrace the fact that, until at least the majority of your kids can wipe themselves, your family will be a very entertaining sideshow. But just think, some day you, too, will have a reservoir of incredible family memories that keep your kids occupied for hours indoors when it is 105 degrees outside.

Rats, I rambled on and on too much about the next things on the list, so I will have to break this up.

Next time:

2. On fear and being out of control
3. On outside activities


Barbie @ Mamaology said...

I love your wisdom here. We are just entering the season where our kids are involved in different activities and we do not want to be over committed.

I love how you acknowledge the need to less the bigger your family is. It is hard to do that, but soooo very needed!

Thanks for these wise words!

Ginger said...

Circus act. Entertaining sideshow. ding, ding, ding! You got our family! Thanks for your sage words. We're looking at you in awe and wondering how you stay afloat. What??? No naptime to recoup? How do you do it?

Mommahen said...

I too LOVE watching other young families now! It is entertaining (not in a ha ha way). But also nostalgic. I remember those days, and most of the time I don't miss them.

Several years ago I had three boys in soccer all at once. Saturdays were lived at the soccer complex and EV-UH-RY night of the week we were at a different soccer practice. Except Wednesdays, not because someone didn't have practice but because we had commitments at church. Talk about being pulled in one million directions and feeling completely out of control! I never wanted my baby to feel like he missed out because he was the baby, but man it wore me out! I think I'm still trying to catch up on my laundry.

Hang in there! FOUR more days!