In addition to feeding, tucking in, bathing and diaper/potty assistance, my parenting duties for my three and four year old kids include breaking up fights, stopping disasters, issuing time outs, and more importantly managing time out parole and release.
I’m really not that fun.
Daddy is the fun one with his fort building, Lego sculptures, T-ball games and general rough housery.
Grammy and Grampy are the spoilers with their constant stream of good art supplies and books, their playground outings, and agreeing to any game the kids ask to play (including hide-and-seek, a game I hate with a passion).
I’m really, really not that fun.
I am fine with my role as the care giver and guardian of good behavior, but sometimes I wish they thought I was more fun. I don’t really want to BE their idea of fun most of the time, considering that my idea of fun is getting a new engagement calendar and filling in all my appointments with a fresh medium ballpoint pen (black ink, not blue). But still, sometimes I think how nice it would be if they thought I was fun.
And then one day it happened. I was fun for a day.
The other morning we were supposed to take a day trip to see family and the trip got postponed. I unexpectedly had a full day where I had nothing planned. I figured I would catch up on blog stuff and house work and of course make sure my engagement calendar was up to date.
Instead, after my rebellious bowl of Great Grains and maybe something funny in the milk, I became fun mom. I’m not sure where it came from, but just like the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day, I was inspired out of nowhere to indulge the kids and myself the entire day. With no adult reinforcements.
‘Anyone want to go to the zoo?’
Their eyes lit up as if they had only had sticks and clay to play with their entire lives.
‘And maybe a special lunch at a ‘sit down’ restaurant?’ The looks on their faces were reminiscent of what Tom Hanks must have looked like just before the first non-coconut meal he had without Wilson.
Off we went.
Sure my son somehow had a wad of animal poop on his hands only 4 minutes through the gate (I blame a surly looking duck that seemed to come and go from his cage with reckless abandon), but fun mom found a sink and kept going.
Extra animal feed? Bird seed sticks for the budgies? Yes! Yes!
When my daughter’s gift shop selection was a hot pink big eyed pony with sparkles in her hair, fun mom might have gone missing for a moment and suggested she find something more zoo-related (fun fact: we had not seen any sparkly ponys in nature that day), but luckily she settled on a stuffed pig and the day moved on.
We stopped for lunch at Silver Diner even though it was nap time, and played the Scooby Doo theme song on the juke box with my last quarter. Dessert? Ice cream all around!
Just checking, did you see me use the words ‘even though it was nap time’ back there? I know, at this point I’m wondering how close I am to super mommy bonus levels and patron saint of children status.
As we left the restaurant, my daughter nervously told me that we had left our dishes on the table and wanted to know if that was okay. The server caught my eye as she overheard and I told her “They don’t eat out much.”
Mercifully my daughter who never naps in the car asked me to turn off the DVD player on the way home so they could nap. Within minutes both kids were asleep – for the entire hour ride home!
Later that night we walked up to Main Street in Old Town for First Friday where the kids danced, ate hot dogs for dinner from the boy scouts stand and got lollipops from strangers.
It was a magical day.
I started thinking about it and felt guilty about not being fun mommy more often. Maybe my kids are deprived. The more I pondered it though, I knew that fun mommy is ONLY fun because she is usually writing tickets and issuing citations.
Nope, fun mommy is back in her vault where she belongs for now, but at least I know she can come out every so often and the world will keep turning. Maybe she’ll cycle every few years — like the Olympics, presidential elections or cicadas. And my kids will appreciate her that much more because she’s such a rare encounter.