July

1

2011

My Summer Bucket List for Parenting

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I’ve been inspired to write a bucket list for summer parenting after reading Bruna’s list at Bees With Honey. Without further ado, heeeeeeeere’s mine (I’ve crossed off the ones that we’ve done already):

  • Make like a tree sloth: Spend as much time as possible reclining in a supine position on a hammock or chaise lounge, stopping just short of getting bed sores or 3rd degree sunburn.

"The tree sloth's long claws/acrylic nails from The Nail Palace are well suited to an arboreal life but hamper its mobility on the ground, leaving it vulnerable to predators, i.e. children who need things, and shockingly slow at emptying the dishwasher."

Note: What does this have to do w. parenting, you ask? Well – it falls under the ‘Put your own oxygen mask on before you put your child’s on’ category. A slow-moving, well-rested mommy is better than a fast-moving, pissed-off, threadbare one.

  • Other than going to exotic locales, playdates, or the swim club, do as little of anything as you can slothfully do.
  • Avoid driving to boring, off-putting, or dreadful locations. This includes the grocery store, pediatrician, vet, dentist, DMV, and horrid Lake Forest mall.
  • Take the girls to Suzuki violin camp, nearly die from the stress of it, and (stupidly) start Ella on guitar, then abruptly stop.

  • Break out the Jimmy Buffet CDs and crank ‘em up, even if this means opera-loving husband will sneer and have to wear earplugs around house.
  • Do high-quality ‘mirror play’ w. Ella every day - this means she leads, I follow. This means that instead of me inserting my bossy-pants, uber-boring adult self into playtime by instructing her what we’ll do (i.e., “Let’s build a tower!”) I shut my trap, get down at her level (usually the floor), and participate. With verve (i.e., “I would love to be in your stuffed-dog-show/dress-up-tea-party-and-scatter-cookie-crumbs-all-over-the-carpet-then-squash-them-into-it-permanently-w.-my-knees-when-afterwards-we-play-Bucking-Bronco-with-you-riding-on-my-back-and-me-nay-naying…and I will not ask what time it is, use the word chiropractor, or say “I’ll be right back” and go meandering off to blog for two hours.”)
  • Get rid of the television set and cable so you can spend even more quality time playing Bucking Bronco and going to the chiropractor.
  • Find loving home for Pippi, our neurotic shichon.
  • Spend long periods of time just reading books with the kids and pretending that we are not bickering and snarking rudely at each other.
  • Spend long periods of time listening to Jackie-Kennedyesque poetry CDs with kids while painting water lilies on canvas and pretending we are not getting on each other’s nerves, and there is no need to incarcerate them in long-term, sports-oriented, run-til-they-drop-like-puppies summer camps. Is there?
  • Go into the forest with Ella when she does her  week at forest camp. Learn how to build a fairy house. While in the forest with the forest-loving-vegetarian-people-who-recycle, pretend that you love nature, bugs, and bee stings, because it is politically incorrect not to, just as it is politically incorrect for you to buy your kids a designer puppy only to turn around and give her up for adoption after 8 months and untold square footage of poopy carpet.
  • Learn how to do something creatively useful, for God’s sake: how to play the ukelele, how to do face painting, how to empty the dishwasher at regular intervals.
  • Get your ass into a gym. Any gym. Good grief.

Note: I don’t care if you can’t find your iPod/don’t have socks/don’t understand why the last time you were a regular in a gym Jane Fonda/high-impact aerobics/Spandex were ‘in’, but now it’s sadistic Spin instructors who really scare you/earthy Yoga moms in yoga pants who can hold themselves and their polite child suspended in air with only one palm etc. etc.

She's so serene, flexible & holistic - and her baby is just sitting there the whole time not needing anything, maybe trying some Downward Dog moves. I wish I could be like her and make myself into a holistic pretzel...but I can't.

  • Stop drinking coffee. Again.
  • I mean it.
  • Consider giving up sugar, Ms. Bridget Jones: impossible sugar addict.

What does Bridget Jones have to do w. parenting? Well – it falls under the ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ category. I can’t expect my kids to have a healthy relationship w. food if my own is tainted w. late-night trysts with Ben AND Jerry.

  • Before you give up sugar: Show Fi how to make organic honey-lavender ice cream, merengues, and Bruce Bogtrotter’s Squidgy Chocolate Cake from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes. In fact, just make all the revolting recipes.
  • Replace all of the puppy-pee-and-poo-stained high-end carpets in the house with really cheap ones. Cheap carpets are revolting, but poo-stained ones are worse.
  • Do some unplanned, hokey road trips with the girls through podunk areas that make them grateful to live where they do.
  • Go on fun, but educational, field trips: Go to Catotcin Zoo & Cunningham Falls. Take the metro into D.C. & spend day at the Smithsonian w. the girls, even though you are wary of the metro and the Smithsonian overwhelms you, even though the D.C. mall has no cafes, just germy, over-priced deli trucks.
  • Hijack one of the teenaged lifeguards at the pool and hire her to be our summer babysitter.
  • Preschedule the babysitter so you can go on some dates with your man. Put her on retainer if you have to.
  • Buy jam jars so Fi can make jam, and Ella & Fi can catch fireflies.
  • Do an hour of fun “home school” a day – set up a school room in the living room with a table, chairs & supplies.
  • Work through the Summer Bridges workbooks with Fi (grades 3 -4) and Ella (K into 1st) without giving up 1/4 way through, losing workbooks, or spilling yogurt smoothies on them so they are unreadable like you did last summer.
  • Do Suzuki violin with Ella most days, even if you feel emotionally pureed by her comments afterwards (“Mommy, I just don’t think you know a single thing about music.” etc.)
  • Start the summer books reports now. Don’t wait ’til the last week of summer to herd the kids through their book reports.
  • Help strengthen Ella’s skills so she’s ready for school in the fall – read books with her every morning, get & use math flash cards, teach her how to count money & tell time. This means that although I want you to make like a tree sloth, I want you to be a Tiger Mom, too. Shit.
  • Go on a beach vacation somewhere on the East Coast: dip your toes in the warm Atlantic. (Try to avoid hurricane season.)
  • While you are home-schooling, doing high-quality mirror-play, learning downward dog, in withdrawals from caffeine & sugar, building a fairy house in the forest, suffering through daily Suzuki practice, playing with your kids yet at the same time being the perfect Tiger Mom, complete the first three chapters of your 2nd novel and submit them to your agent.

Ah, motherhood.

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Comments

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  1. That is a HUGE list, but at least you have what, 20% done already? And it’s only 1st July!

    Aww, Pippi is GONE?? Oh wait, I thought she was raptured anyway :)

    Have fun this summer, Ado.
    Twitter: MamaWantsThis

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  2. Big list! A few comments:

    1. If you’d like a tour of the Smithsonian’s Victory Garden, I happen to be married to the person in charge of it.

    2. Before you give up sugar, I highly recommend making at least five dishes with Nutella as the star ingredient.

    3. The HARDEST part about going to the gym is starting up a routine. Once you’re in a groove, though, you LOOK FORWARD to going!
    Twitter: TheBareMidriff

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    • Elizabeth: Will you email me your phone no.? We would *love* a tour of the Victory Garden!! Also must chat w. you re gym groove too. (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  3. Well you certainly were inspired. That is quite a bucket list. I’m exhausted just reading it. I think just reading that qualifies me to be done for the day! That and my cheeks (face kind) hurt from smiling so much while reading another one of your posts. I continue to truly enjoy your writing style and honest approach. Have a great day. -Laverne
    Twitter: kindredadventur

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  4. That is SOME list! My summer plans are to relax, continue eating healthy and blogging to the best of my ability. Other than that – it’s business as usual!
    Twitter: AnnHolly

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    • That sounds like a nice summer. (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  5. A! I love the last one best. MY list includes multiplication tables, teacher her to vacuum her room, swim, cook something, watch something silly like last summer’s Dolly Parton movie, ride our bikes somewhere, go into city to see something interesting that is free, (no opera, symphony, etc.)and get toenails painted. we started with the toenails.
    I hope we can come see you next summer and go to Smithsonian together.

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    • Your room is here! (-: I love your list Catherine.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  6. Are you sure you’re trying to be sloth-like? (I’m tired *reading* your list!) :-) I’m assuming from the list that (a) Pippa found a new home, (b) you have TV back? (c) and coffee!? I have to say, my favorites are the mirror time (I miss those days) and the forest time (I guess I’m one of those people who love the woods…) and being sloth-like. I LOVE that, too! HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER!
    Twitter: wordsxo

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    • We don’t have TV back, nope. And as for coffee I never gave it up. I’m still procrastinating/terrified of what’s underneath my morning coffee buzz (a personality, perhaps? Or is coffee my personality?) Also I do love the forest. I am just not as eager as some. (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  7. sorry *Pippi* (so soon I forget :(
    Twitter: wordsxo

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    • Don’t feel bad – I kept forgetting that Pippi was a girl the whole time we had her, because I grew up w. dogs – all boy dogs. So to me: all dogs are boys, all cats are girls. Poor Pippa. I mean Pippi.
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  8. Holy Crap! If you get that list completed just as you have written it, you will be my hero! Seriously…WOW!

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    • So many people have commented on how long this list is and I er…have to tell you that I actually had to cut it down, like…in half. To me it isn’t long at all. How sick is that?!
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  9. I’m so lame! I do need to take everyone on a road trip because that’s what summer’s about, right? I just started running 3 times a week and am working hard to keep that up.

    Good luck meeting all your goals!

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    • It’s better to be running 3 times/week than spying on the Amish people in PA for sport, trust me! (-:
      Twitter: Adothemomalog

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  10. I will totally go to a Jimmy Buffett concert with you!! I heart him.

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  11. This is hilarious and awful and way too much like my life! I hope you have a wonderful summer! P.S. I found your blog by googling ‘suzuki violin stresses me out.’

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