Sure, Let’s Do It: A Pledge to My Kids

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I made a volcano with N while Baby K was napping this morning.  We used a plastic soda bottle and some salt dough we whipped up (from this seriously easy recipe), then “erupted” it with baking soda and vinegar.  It was spontaneous, and N stayed engaged with the activity for over an hour, which is rare around here due to a lengthy phase where he primarily plays in noisy spurts.

Mid-experiment, I posted a picture of our volcano on my Facebook page, expecting it to get lost among the busy days of my Facebook friends.  I certainly didn’t expect comments along the lines of “you’re so involved with your kids!”  This is actually the opposite of how I feel most days.  So many times in the past three years I have lazily said the words “we’ll do that tomorrow” or “we’ll get the stuff to do that another day.”  More often than not the last few months, it’s been “after we do this stuff that is actually a nonsense excuse, we’ll try that!”

So, this morning when N was gorging on YouTube videos of volcanic eruptions, and he said, “I wish I could make a volcano *sigh*,” I swallowed my near-immediate “we’ll get the stuff for it at the store this afternoon…”  Instead, I looked up a salt dough recipe and surprised N by suggesting we make one NOW.  Not at some indeterminate, never-to-actually-come, later time.

My ulterior motive behind dropping all of the completely unimportant crap I was doing in order to hep N make something so easy yet so enjoyable was so that I did not have to go to bed with regret at least one night.  One night when I didn’t have to feel bad that I pushed off some activity K or N wanted to do because I suffer daily from occasionally have mamatainer fatigue.  This is something that afflicts those whose sole job during every waking minute of her children’s days is to entertain them or help them entertain themselves.

So today I made a volcano, read Baby K’s favorite book until he (not I) got tired of it, and played a lengthy game of “mama and baby mountain lion chase the mountain goat up the stairs.”   When I posted the volcano pic and got the comments of admiration, I felt like a phony.  I get down on myself a lot for the activity fatigue, and I think – hope – I’m not alone.  Playing teacher plus support system plus caretaker plus safekeeper plus maid plus personal chef is a lot to get done in a day, let alone every day.

But this is me officially saying I’m going to spend fewer nights regretting and fewer days putting off.  I’m going to make more spontaneous volcanoes and read I Am a Bunny until I can repeat it in my sleep.  Not every day (let’s be realistic, here), but lots of days.  Because I’ve started to notice they’re growing up, which means soon they’ll be in school, and then college, and then in another town, and before I know it they won’t want me to read about bunnies or help them spew baking soda lava all over the kitchen.  And then I’ll go to bed regretting a whole new set of never-got-dones.

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