Tuesday, August 9, 2011

When "No-Plan" Plans Go Awry

Most of the time, I am a pretty good mum, if I do say so myself.

Every day, I have a plan (ish) for the hours between sunup and sundown and manage to feed the Reds at least three meals during that time. Three meals plus snack.

Most days, I limit their TV-watching, although that I'll admit to letting them watch more when I need them to shush up and sit still for 5 blessed minutes. (Or an entire showing of "How to Train Your Dragon." Whichever.)

Every day, we head outdoors, even if it's just for a run through the backyard sprinkler or to play in a big pile of street construction sand.

I make them brush their teeth and wipe off the toilet seat.

We read a book, sometimes two.

Occasionally, we play cards in between rounds of laundry and most of the time, the boys are eager to "help."

But today was not like every other day and it was absolutely marvelous.

Here's how it went down:

Looked outside, saw rain. Looked in fridge, no fruit, except some blackened bananas. Looked at kids, curled up on couch together, watching "Canada's Worst Driver" and giggling. Made decision.

Announced decision thusly:

"Boys! Boys, eyes on me, please. Today is officially a "Do-Nothing" Day. The only thing we MUST do is go to the dentist, but after that, we can just hang around and do nothing. What do you think?"

Wild cheering. Shouts of joy. Couch-jumping.

I was freaking Super Mum!

Breakfast: Mini-Wheats and toaster waffles, two items normally reserved for weekends. Apple juice in juice boxes, normally reserved for car rides, park visits and school lunch boxes.

The only reason anyone dressed and brushed their teeth was because Luke had a dentist appointment, otherwise, I reckon I'd still be wearing last night's yoga pants-cum-pj-bottoms.

Video games with Daddy, newly returned from the night shift. He brought me a to-go coffee, which is a really special treat, especially  if I'm lazing around the house just thinking about laundry and not doing a thing about it.

Sword-play inside because of the rain and because I'd called a "TV Timeout!" The only rules = no fighting on the stairs and no waking Daddy, which is virtually impossible, so really, it was just the one rule. Only one kid fell down the stairs and really, it was his own fault because he was also wearing a viking helmet, "Iron-man" slippers and playing the recorder.

Lunch: A picnic, complete with real basket, blanket and umbrella.

(This is actually something  I started when Matthew was a restless toddler and Luke was still a baby. I hope that  both children continue to be delighted by this quirky "tradition." Indoor picnics truly are a special kind of magic.)

This afternoon, both boys helped me make banana bread, making sure I was extra generous when pouring chocolate chips into the giant, perfect-for-licking-bowl. Watching a small boy stick his entire head into a large silver mixing bowl, tongue at-the-ready? Priceless.

Banana bread snack in bed with Daddy, who did not bark and holler upon awakening, as is his way. Instead, he grimaced silently and held out his hand for coffee, which the Reds and I had carefully carried upstairs.  A rare and peaceful family moment.

Next, the boys kicked my ass at Nintendo, which both shames and frightens me. I am admittedly hopeless, but they are AMAZING. I shudder to think about how things will be around here in few short years and imagine future blog posts including words like, "Gaming Leprechauns" and "What's a Wii?"

Dinner: Spaghetti, ice cream and more juice boxes, not necessarily in that order.

Bookstore, park, more banana bread and bed, where finally, the boys expressed their pleasure at the  aimless hours we'd spent together:

"It was fun hanging out with you today, Mummy!" said Matthew, smiling with unbrushed teeth and wrapping sticky, unbathed arms around my neck. "Let's have a "Do-Nothing" day again!"

"Yeah, it was fun. But l don't want to do it again yet, Mummy. Not yet, OK? "

This from the bottom bunk, where an equally unkempt Luke yawned and tugged on my pants, insistent.

"Tomorrow, we should have Weetabix for breakfast and maybe we should go to the grocery store because we used up all the bananas today."

I smiled. "Sure, Lukey. Sounds like a good plan to me!"

And you? How do you spend "plan-free" days?


  1. That sounds like a perfectly awesome day!
    Coincidentally, I had a moment today too where I threw out the to-do list and spent the afternoon with the kids and the Smurfs. Blogged about it too...hmmm...erie. In a good way!
    By the way, you sound like a super mom!

  2. Glad you had a great day, too. I think it's the mid-summer slump-thing, really. Lots of go-go-go in July - we had to slow down eventually.

    Off to your blog now. Great minds and all...

    And thanks for the "super mom" comment. I try. Some days, I'm more successful than others. Today was a good one.

  3. What a great idea, Liz. We had "indoor picnics" the entire time the Winter Olympics were on. Of course, this was a euphemism for "Eat in the basement in front of the TV and watch Mommy scream psychotically." A tradition I'll gladly repeat at the next Winter Olympics...

  4. I love no-plan days! With two very busy older kids that always have things scheduled, it's a rare treat to have NOTHING pressing to do. I just love days like that.

  5. Leanne, what a fabulous image - screaming at the TV. It was a similar scene here during the Olympics. Just awesome.

    Psycho Picnics. I like it.

    Annie, I am treasuring these days, that's for sure. Come September, opportunities to do nothing and simply hang about will be fewer and further between. Gonna get 'em all in while I can!

    Thanks for coming over, ladies! xo

  6. Love it! I shouldn't laugh at your kid falling down stairs, but I did. It was the helmet and the recorder. : ) We used to have indoor picnics too. Soo cool. We actually had one at the turn of the century -- and they stayed up til midnight on the picnic blanket.
    What a fun, relaxed day for your guys and you. I think those ones are particularly important for a family.

  7. I laughed at him, too. They were playing "How to Train Your Dragon" and apparently, he thought that Brother Dragon might be lulled into compliance if he played a little tune.

    Um...not so much.

    So dig the idea of a New Year Picnic - my kids would LOVE it. I'm glad we had the day, especially as summer draws - sob! - to a close.

    These are the days, my friend.

  8. WOW... this post give me a good idea... I will try it. This afternoon, I was thinking that I would like to make something different with my kids, but I really have no idea at all. Having indoor picnic is really a good idea. I am lucky to find your blog, liz :)
    Thank you for sharing this :)

    Please visit my blog and I would be more than happy if you are willing to share your thought there :)
    I am still new but I love to write although it might not be good :)


  9. Hi Yulia, great to have you here! Am so happy I was able to inspire you and hope that you and your kids have fun, picnicking.

    Off to check out your blog, now!