Kevin, for those of you who don’t know him, is an in-doorsy sort of guy. As soon as the weather hits about 70 degrees, he starts asking if he can take the kids to a movie, while I am lathering them up with sunblock for a day at the beach.
I never feel more successful as a parent than when my kids are playing outside. I told Kevin I want our kids to have adventures. I want them to be enriched. I want their childhoods to read like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, minus the endings where you die. So when Kevin asks to take them to a movie on a sunny day he might as well ask to take them to an Ozzy Osbourne concert to watch him eat the head off another bat.
Last weekend I spent the morning gardening in the sun, glorious sun, while the kids played video games inside with Kevin. When I came in and gave my husband The Look, he said, “What? I tried to get them outside but they didn’t want to.”
I told him to watch and learn.
“Hey boys, want to go run a couple miles for the marathon?” Within minutes, the boys were clothed, shod, and standing in the driveway, foaming at the mouths, waiting for me to catch up.
See, I know the trick: my kids are very chart-driven and very competitive. I made these marathon charts and for each mile the kids run, they earn a bead for their marathon necklaces* The love earning beads and they love filling in their charts.
So that Saturday afternoon the older boys and I went for a run then headed to the local pool and finished the night with dinner on the beach. It was adventurous. It was fun! And nobody died!
The next morning when I woke up, Kevin was in the living room with the boys. “Does anyone want to go get Adventure Bagels with me?” The kids looked at him quizzically then went back to what they were doing. Kevin disappeared for a minute, then came back with this:
He showed the kids their Adventure Bagel Charts and said the only way to fill out a square was to come with him. Before I could even open my mouth to say this doesn’t count for an adventure, I could hear the minivan’s tires squealing as Kevin and the boys left for the bagel shop.
When they came back, he gave them a “STAR +” for a grade which, I pointed out, ISN’T EVEN A GRADE. So then Kevin got out the “agro beads” and gave me one.
I think this is the first time in all ten years of marriage I’ve said this, so listen up: Congratulations, Kevin, you win this round.
*The idea isn’t mine—Vincenzo’s school does a marathon in the spring.