I’m baffled by my boys’ resistance to going outside. It’s not that they resist it so much (with me as their mom, they know resistance is futile) but when I send them out, they keep sticking their heads in the door saying, “Is an hour up yet?” They haven’t figured out yet that I add five minutes every time they ask that. *evil laugh*
Fortunately for me, every night after dinner we play a game of Monopoly Deal and the winner gets to make one decision, and fortunately for me, last night I won. My decision was that everyone go outside for 30 minutes.
“But we already spent an hour outside today!”
Oh boy. They were about to have some regrets.
Me: When I grew up,I spent an hour inside every day.
All the boys: What did you do outside all day?
Me: What did we do? What did we do? We played cops and robbers. We decorated our bikes and put on synchronized bike shows for our parents. We made tee-pees out of old sheets and sticks. We’d throw balls on the roof and catch them when they rolled down. We packed ourselves picnic lunches. We divided our yard into a battlefield and had plum wars with each other…
Rocco (who was the only one whose eyes were looking brighter instead of duller by the end of my little speech): That sounds fun! Wanna play cops and robbers, Mom?
Me, patting his head: Oh Rocco, the whole reason I had more than one kid is so I wouldn’t have to play with them anymore. Now go outside. Go for a walk or something!
Vincenzo: But Menchies is closed and you won’t let me go to 7-11. There’s nowhere to walk to!
They could hear me suck in my breath all the way down at 7-11 because of course, where I grew up, it didn’t matter if the stores were closed because THERE WEREN’T ANY CLOSE ENOUGH TO WALK TO. If we wanted to walk to a store, we’d get out all the canned goods from the kitchen cupboards, set them on tree stumps, and pretend we were walking to the store!
It sounds like I’m making this all up, but I’m not. It is so unsettling when your memories start sounding like hyperbole.
So. I sent everyone outside and started pruning the peonies because I’ve apparently become a Mom in a 1950s sitcom, and eventually the kids were so bored they asked if they could help. 10 minutes later they were in the middle of a huge flower war, throwing flower stalks at each other until it looked like either a wedding or a funeral had marched across our driveway.
I stood there watching with a giant smile on my face because this, THIS was exactly what I was talking about.
I’m thinking about stacking the deck in Monopoly Deal tonight.
Finally, something I said to the boys SUNK IN! We have communed! They get it now!
At least, that’s how I felt until over ice cream cones later, Vincenzo announced, “When I grow up, I’m only going to make my kids play outside for 15 minutes. Then when they complain, I’ll say, “When I was your age, I had to stay out a whole hour!”
WHAT’S COOKIN’ 2NITE:
Ginger soy salmon burgers
Asparagus with dill