The Great OutdoorsMarch 11, 2010 at 2:49 pm | Posted in Giggles, Lollipop | 18 Comments
It’s a beautiful day outside. The sun is shining. White, puffy cloud-shapes are floating across the sky, just waiting to be identified. Birds are singing their spring ditties and bopping from limb to limb. Things are blooming.
We should be outside. Yes, we should. But we aren’t. And I assume full responsibility.
I don’t like going outside. This is one of my biggest parental shortcomings. Perhaps one of my biggest human shortcomings.
My Mother Nature
Let me clarify. I appreciate and respect nature. I try to live a green lifestyle (if I forget my bags when I go to the grocery store, I opt for no bags as penance). And though I fear them tremendously, I wholeheartedly support the role that wasps play in our fragile ecosystem. But I don’t like to be outside.
I like to watch the outside. From the inside.
It has always been thus. Always, I was content to color at the kitchen table. Lounge in the recliner with my favorite Judy Blume. Decorate houses for my Barbies all over the living room. And that suited my mom just fine. Probably because I was an only child, and a quiet one, she never once said to me, “Won’t you just go outside already??”
And the Winner is … Barbie
Other friends’ mothers kicked us out occasionally. (Wherein I was stung by my first wasp. Correlation? Probably.)
But I remember having an all right time when forced to play outside. We concocted magical stews with strange plants and garden hoses. We played Army. We chased some boys and they chased us back.
Even still, I always wanted to be inside. Playing with my friend’s grandmother’s hand-me-down jewelry. Tinkering on the piano I wished I could play. Or trimming Barbie’s hair in the sink.
Still I am that way. (Except now I trim Giggles’s hair.)
Why Poop is Good (and Other Lessons)
I do take my kids outside. I laugh with Giggles as he lobs rocks and sticks down the slide. I push Lollipop in the baby swing, because that’s the one where she feels comfortable “going really super-high, Mommy.” We dig in the mulch together, teeter along the limestone pavers, look for cupcakes and crocodiles in the sky.
But all the while, I’m listening for Daddy’s car to pull into the driveway. So he can take over while I cook dinner or clean toilets or dust the ceiling fans or anything.
At least we’re out there, right? (OK, not today, but some days.) At least I’m teaching my children that flowers are best left on the vine. That the cache of acorns in the mulch is probably a squirrel-friend’s snack. That the beetles will eat the dog poop and turn it into dirt.
That’s something, right? Even if, secretly, I’m waiting for the day I can say: “Won’t you kids just go outside already??”
What’s the thing you do for your kids that you really don’t like? Be honest. (My ego needs a boost.)