Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Unscheduled Fun February 15, 2019

We have a lot of fun together as a family. We go to trampoline parks and to shows and museums. We plan beach vacations and camping trips and in the next couple of weeks we’ll be going to the circus. It seems though, that having unscheduled fun with the kids is getting rarer and rarer. You know what I mean by unscheduled? The times when you don’t have a plan but you end up building a fort out of sheets and pillows or making funny hats for stuffed animal toys. The regular – free – EVERY DAY fun.

Now that the boys are 11 and 12 (gasp!), our “at home” time often revolves around making sure that all the things that NEED to be done, get done. The dinner and the homework and the chores. Whatever extra time there is, gets used up with me binging Netflix and them playing video games.

I know that one reason for this is that building forts and making play-doh pies just doesn’t cut it for pre-teens. But I also think lazy parenting is another reason. I’ve been at this parenting thing for 12 years and I’m tired. Tired physically yes, but also tired of putting legos together and pushing trains on tracks.  You parents of older kids remember all the “floor time” you used to spend.

When you have a new baby, everything is so exciting. You want to spend every minute with them. Teaching them and watching them and exploring with them. You love going to the park and pushing them on swings and you love hearing them giggle when you play peek-a-boo. You’d do anything for that giggle. You absolutely love feeding them pureed green peas and seeing the mess they make and you marvel at the green poop that follows. After a while though, you begin to love getting back to yourself. You don’t love your children any less. Not one iota. But you love that your children can now entertain themselves and make themselves sandwiches. You love that you can roam the Target aisles in peace and don’t have to spend any time looking at stupid transformers that cost too much for the 10 minutes that your child will actually play with it even though they are telling you that they NEED it and will for sure this time play with it for eternity.

 

How much together time is the right amount? I want us to be close. I want our bond to be strong. I want the boys to have a joyful life full of sibling and parent interaction. I want ME time.

 

I don’t have the answers. I am playing this all by air. I will say though that last week, Shaunie and Jay baked some cinnamon rolls together. It was nice. Also one day last week, I put my phone down, my feet up and Ace read me a story. It too was nice.

 

Then this week, Shaunie had to go to New Jersey on some family business. On Wednesday evening, Jay and I sat together and assembled candy grams for his class for Valentines Day. While we were assembling, we talked. Just he and I. We don’t get that a lot. With one Mom gone, the remaining 3 of us ended up having a slumber party in my room. We are not a co-sleeping family so this was a real departure from the norm. Plus, it was a school night. (What?!?!) It was such a hit that we did it again last night.

 

I really hope that we’re getting it (mostly) right. I hope we’re not being too hard on them; but pushing them enough. I hope we give them enough of their own space; while not making them feel alienated. I hope we force them out of their comfort zones often enough to spark an adventurous spirit; while honouring their own, specific, interests. I hope we enforce necessary routines; while allowing for (and even encouraging) flexibility and spontaneity.

 

Do all parents feel this way? How do you guys manage it?

 

When the alarm went off this morning and Jay rolled over to me and snuggled for a couple of minutes, I knew I had made the right call in agreeing to the “sleepover”. It was just so delicious. But sometimes the answers are harder to decipher; especially when they tell you that all they want to do is have electronics time.

 

Fun But Tiring Weekend September 25, 2017

It started out on Friday evening with me asking which game they wanted to play.  We decided on a thimble, a car, a cat and dog.  Yup, Monopoly.  It was our first time playing non-junior monopoly as a family and it was pretty good.  We had a couple moments of disagreement about whether something was legal or not and we had someone (NOT ME – lol) who was very gassy, but we laughed a lot which is always my favourite thing.  Jay needed some help with his money math but that was ok.  In the end, even though Ace and I kinda partnered up to take Shaunie and Jay down, those darn railroads did me in.  My last 3 rolls landed me on railroads and cost me $200 a pop.  In the end the Ace/Deenie team lost by about $400.

 

On Saturday we spent the morning hanging out at home and doing some cleaning and tidying.  We also, finally – after FOUR delivery attempts – got our full couch.  We’ve been living with half a couch for about a month because they keep coming with 2 of the same side.

At around 4pm, we arrived at 6 flags in Maryland.  Ace and I had a good time going on rides and Jay had a good time forcing Shaunie to go on rides.  (She’s not a ride lover).  We drove go karts and the kids and I did a bungee drop thing.  It was the first day of fright fest, and I expected it to be a little scary but it wasn’t at all.  If you wanted to be scared you have to pay more to go into the haunted houses.  We opted out because they said it’s not recommended for kids under 13.  In a couple years, we’ll try again.

We spent Saturday night with everyone’s fave – Aunty Juddles.  The adults stayed up till the early hours of the morning talking and laughing and it was nice.

 

On Sunday we attended my jobs annual Family Picnic.  They really did a great job of making it fun for the kids.  Rock wall and zorb ball and mechanical shark (instead of bull), petting zoo, pony rides, bouncy castles, gladiator battle zone, carnival games with prizes, face painting, ice-cream truck, snow cones, cotton candy … you name it.  For the adults, there was an open bar.

 

We got home at around 5 pm and by 7:30 everyone was ready for bed.  Shaunie and I managed to stay up long enough to watch one episode of a show.  It was good and we’re looking forward to watching another tonight.

 

And now, here we are.

Even though they went to bed so early, I still had to wake Ace up this morning.  As we were brushing teeth this morning getting ready for work, I said to Shaunie:  “Another early night for everyone tonight?”  She eagerly agreed.  That one night of decent sleep was not enough to adequately recuperate from the weekend.  But it was fun and definitely worth it!

 

How was your weekend?

 

Wet Bouncy Fun June 23, 2015

Despite the weather reports calling for rain and the ominous looking clouds, we arrived full of good intentions.  Being Margie Roo’s Granddaughter, I had packed towels and extra shirts for the boys.  Just in case.  Margie Roo was BIG on being prepared for the unexpected.  Never keep all your money in 1 pocket; spread it out – Just in case you lose it.  Always pack underwear and a toothbrush in your carry on bag – Just in case they lose your checked luggage.  Pack a sandwich – You never know.  No matter how old you are, definitely never go anywhere without telling at least one person where you are going and who you are going with – Just in case something happens.

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We got to the venue and the boys immediately kicked off their shoes and climbed into the bouncy castle where there were already about 5 other children.  The rest of us got food and sat down to chat.

After about 10 minutes it began to drizzle.  Enough that the chatters moved their chairs to the covered area but not enough to stop the bouncers from bouncing and sliding.

And then it really began to rain and all the kids ran from the bouncy castle which, although it was still inflated, had sprung several leaks in the roof.

All the kids that is, except for mine.

My 2 couldn’t have cared any less about getting rained on.  They were having a blast jumping while getting dripped on and sliding down into full blown puddles.

I’m pretty sure people were watching them and thinking they were … crazy? spoiled? reckless? ridiculous? … I don’t know what.

I worry about A LOT of things, but I just am not one of those parents who worries about my kids getting wet or ruining their outfits.  I was happy to watch them enjoy themselves.

They spent a good 45 minutes getting totally soaking wet before they’d had enough.

They dried off as best they could – with the towels I had thought to bring 🙂 – and changed into the clean shirts I had thought to bring 🙂 – and then we all decided that we should call it quits and head home.

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What should have been a full afternoon of a family fun day BBQ with face painting and other fun activities turned out to be 1 hour of a rainy, low attendance BBQ.

My boys had a really FUN one hour though.

 

Not Just Pictures, Commentary Too June 6, 2013

Filed under: Life on the Jay train — The B Side @ 5:45 pm
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Sorry for any awkwardly cropped (and therefore blurry) pictures. I’m trying to protect the other park patrons identities.

 

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I like taking the kids to the park.  BOTH kids love it for all the obvious reasons.  There is lots of space to run around.  There are things to climb on and swing on and spin on.  There are other kids to play with.  There is even usually an ice-cream truck lurking around.  I love anything that we can all enjoy as a family and after being cooped up all winter, I definitely start to crave vitamin D.  Now that the summer time heat is in full swing, there are also fake beaches and sprinkler parks to have splashy fun at.  Did I mention that it’s free and only a 5 minute drive from home?

Last weekend we did the sprinkler park for the 1st time this year.  It was no big shock that Ace loved it and got soaking wet within 5 seconds of us parking the car.

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Jay saw the water park but headed for the regular playground.  That’s what he’s (we’re) used to doing.

After a while, a wet Ace came to ask Jay to join him at the water park.

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Jay said he wasn’t interested so he and Ace did what they always do at the park.  They climbed and slid and climbed on something else and ran around from structure to structure.

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After all that climbing and running, the kids began to get very hot.  I wasn’t hot because all I was doing was standing around in the shade taking pictures.

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For Ace, juice wouldn’t cut it.  He needed more cooling than a juice pouch could provide.  For him, it was time to head back to the water side of the park.  Jay decided to follow him this time – not to get wet mind you – just to see what it was all about.

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I imagine Jay was thinking:

Hmm, this is something new but it doesn’t look sooooooo bad.  Maybe I should take a closer look.  Ya know, just to see what all the excitement is about.

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Now, I imagine Jay is thinking:

OK, so water gets poured into those buckets and then after a while, it dumps out and makes a big splash.  Then with this thing over here … At 1st there’s no water, but if you stay there long enough, water shoots up through the ground like a, a, a whale.  Interesting.  Maybe I can try getting a little bit wet.  Not my clothes or head, just my feet.  Yes, that’s it.  I’ll get my feet wet.”

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(Notice him holding his shorts up?  lol)

 

Slowly, and by slowly I mean we had been there for 2 hours already, Jay got wetter and wetter but never did get his shirt or his head wet.

 

The next day we went to a different sprinkler park but by then Jay was a pro.  He still took his time getting wet, but it only took him 1/2 an hour to go from just his feet to THIS …

 

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(Putting his head in the sprinkler)

 

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(Full body soaking)

 

It was a really great couple of days with my boys.  I even got in on the action.

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(Photo courtesy of Ace)

 

This weekend I was really hoping to have a repeat performance but the weather will be more suited for the movies than the playground.  We will have to wait to go back to the parks.  The good part of that is that it will give me time to dig up their swim trunks so they won’t be the only ones at the park wearing regular clothes.  *Silly Mummy*

 

And as a brawta (For you non-Jamaicans, brawta means bonus) … Here are a few other misc pics from our 2 glorious days outside, enjoying our neighborhood.

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(Not sitting down so as not to get his clothes sandy)

 

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I LOVE THIS PICTURE!!!