Saturday, June 30, 2012

Idle Parents Know: Get Outside

Last week Mike revisited some information he had read in our efforts to learn how to be better parents and meet our kids’ needs. He came across material on slow parenting and literature based on Tom Hodgkinson’s work in The Idler and elsewhere. He requested Hodgkinson’s The Idle Parent from the university library through interlibrary loan (ILL is a godsend Mike has used for years for both academic and pleasure reading. Seriously: free books, CDs, DVDs, etc., and all you have to do is request them and pick them up from the service desk. Libraries are amazing!).

At first glance, a reading of the idle parent manifesto would seem incompatible with what many assume to be true about good parenting in particular and what our church teaches generally about parenting and work. However, as Mike read the book, he gleaned quite a few insights about simply letting the kids alone that make genuine sense. In fact, Mike read two of the author’s primary sources of inspiration (John Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Émile, or On Education) for an educational foundations class at BYU. It doesn’t mean we will stop the road trips and other family activities, but it does mean that we’ll be sending the kids out to the yard to entertain themselves by themselves more often.  

Speaking of yards and the outdoors generally, Monday through Wednesday can only be described as perfect! Mike worked from his outdoor office, he and the kids took turns drinking a ceramic mate gourd full of iced tea made from our garden’s herbs and everyone busied themselves with important tasks such as digging and getting in water fights. Mind you, electronics and water do not mix, so the kids used their water at a safe distance. Mike poured some playground sand into a pit Landon had dug, and Landon thought that was fun.

We had visitors Monday night/Tuesday morning. Two young women from the branch stayed overnight and Hallie helped get them their last-minute items for Girls Camp. On Tuesday morning Hallie drove the girls up to a camp in Brighton. She saw some beautiful homes along the lakeshores. Now Mike wants to go see!

On Tuesday night, Hallie had a bunch of ladies over for a Thirty-One party. Thirty-One is like Tupperware for organizational items. They all seemed to have a lot of fun, and Hallie was complimented on how much charm our home has. Gotta love our craftsman style bungalow, squeaky floors and all.  

If squeaky floors were our only concern, life would be peachy. Unfortunately, on Monday night we discovered that an intermittent funny smell from the general vicinity of the sink had to do with water leaking from our old rusted garbage disposal. We held off replacing it until Wednesday, after Hallie’s party.

Mike and Landon camped in the backyard on Wednesday night. The breeze kept the day and night from getting too muggy, and the humidity waited to arrive until later on Thursday. Eliza joined the boys as they roasted marshmallows, then once she went to bed, the boys added a few more logs to the fire and watched it burn down before bedding down. They’re super tough outdoorsmen, because they don’t have sleeping pads, so they just slept in sleeping bags inside the tent on the back lawn which was not quite as soft as Mike hoped it would be. While the boys were playing in the backyard Hallie had the opportunity to escort Linda Lawson to the temple for her first time. Hallie has really loved getting to be an escort. This is her fourth time and she is honored to be asked. After the endowment she then attended the sealing of Willie and Linda in the temple for time and all eternity. What an exciting time in this couple's life. Hopefully, the boys will do marshmallows again soon so she can have some too.

Roasting special super-sized marshmallows
It's as big as a planet!

By rubbing the coals on the underside of the log, Landon created what he called "fireballs." 
Trees, moon, and power lines: Camping in the 'burbs

All this week Mike has taken Landon to gymnastics camp. He spent his days swinging on ropes into a pit full of foam cubes, doing flips and spins, jumping on the long trampoline, and participating in themed art activities. 
So fast, he's a blur!
In the mean time Mike has gone to one of the Warren public libraries. Again, Mike was struck by what a gift libraries are, what with their quiet work areas and free Internet. Honestly, libraries are amazing!

On Friday morning, all Landon’s hard play during the days and staying up late at night finally caught up with him. He could not drag himself out of bed, so we gave him a little extra time and went late to his last day of gymnastics camp. Landon started a new chore in his repertoire helping with the dishes. He rinsed the dirty dishes and helped Dad unload the clean ones from the washer. It almost didn’t even feel like work. . . .

We had baseball Saturday morning. Landon first had his pictures taken and then had his practice and game. He’s going a great job for a four year old with his batting and fielding. The coaches helped keep him and the other kids focused instead of digging in the dirt too much.

Eliza has the right idea
When we got home, Landon headed straight for the backyard for more digging in the sand. Looks like the sand pit is a great idea. Time to invest in another bag or two.

Derek and Janel and their kids joined us at the pool in the afternoon. We enticed them over with promises of Wally’s Frozen Custard which is being sold at the snack shack this year. We had perfect swimming weather and couldn’t keep the kids out of the pool, except for the mandated fifteen minutes each hour of “adult swim” (Adult swim? What the heck? We can tell stories of some decidedly adult behavior in our pool today right in front of our little ones that the couples involved should have taken indoors. Seriously. Get a room!).

We had the first of our garden’s tomatoes with dinner. After the kids went down, Hallie invited Priscilia to go see the fireworks in Grosse Pointe Farms at Sara’s house. At the pool earlier in the day, Derek observed that people spend weeks celebrating Independence Day around here. Judging by the way the fireworks shows and festivals are spread out this year, it does feel like it.  

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