Anyone who knows me, knows that I like to know what's going on around town. I am obsessed with calendars, event planning -- and I'm pretty good at making nothing into something fun, educational and, maybe even useful.
When MacTroll and I decided we were only going to have an only, I wondered if there was any truth to the adage that only children were lonely and unsocialized children. When I told my mother we were only having one, she told me I'd change my mind. When I asked her why she had two, she said, "Well, you can't just have one."
So, I did some research. And I found out that only children for the most part (because you could have a child in the Brady Bunch and she could be lonely) weren't lonely kids at all. In fact, because they didn't have a sibling at home, it made them uber interested in social situations, making and keeping friends and wanting to try new things. Really? Okay. So, being the completely overachiever that I've been accused of being, I set out to find tons of venues around town, parents groups, neighbors, friends, etc., that would not only give me some insight into parenting but also encourage my little man to explore the world around him.
Except now that I sit here with the calendar, three park district catalogs, my school schedule, MacTroll's travel schedule and my fitness schedule... I'm runin gout of time. Because I also have a firm appreciation that I grew up in a house where I could throw open the door and run outside to play in my yard whenever I wanted or ask permission to go to a neighbor's house to play... a need for "scheduled unscheduled" time. Last weekend we stayed in our jammies pretty much all day on Sunday. It was awesome. We never do that. We're always running from brunch to the market to a friend's house, etc.
X-man asked to do Tae Kwon Do this fall, so I anticipate that's what we'll be doing. I also on a leap of faith enrolled him in Saturday swimming lessons in October and November at the Aquatic Center. Because I can tell when we go swimming, it's time for him to learn. He's already trying the front crawl all by himself, but just needs someone that's NOT ME to lead him through the technique. But there's two activities that take three days, and that to me feels like way more than enough.
I know he wants to do a league t-ball next spring so he can play on the Little League field at Prairie Fields Park. So I'm reserving Saturdays for that. I also signed him up for two one-day soccer clinics in February at the Savoy Recreation Center, hopefully as a way to wear out some of those late winter blues that always pop up around here.
Affordability is also an issue. I can afford TKD only by giving up the Little Gym, where he's taken classes since January. He was sad about that, until I told him I signed him up for two of the Little Gym parent survival nights, so he doesn't lose touch with the Little Gym (and MacTroll and I get 3 hours together in October and in November). He loves it there. He's already asked to have his birthday there next March... Heaven forbid he suddenly decides he has an interest in piano. And what about the Lego clubs around town... and his interest in science? It's insane how many activities that it would be possible to completely over schedule your kid in around here.
He doesn't seem to have any problem bopping from activity to activity when it ends (except he cried when T-ball season was over). And I love his excitement about trying new things. He's a bit of a whirlwind... which, I guess makes him a bit like me. We'll see if that's a good thing or bad thing a bit later, I suppose.
In the end, I guess we're following Robert Heinlein's philosophy:
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
Of course, nowhere in that quote does it say that you should be able to fill up water balloons effectively at the backyard hose (which is what we've been doing every night after dinner this week, thanks to Dana and Big Jack). :-) I guess Heinlein just missed out on that kind of fun.