Like most everything with parenting, the reality of my summer has been proven dramatically different than my (splendid) expectations. Summer has always been my favorite season. I have fond memories of my own childhood: reading books under our backyard tree, riding my Schwinn bike (with the banana seat) through the neighborhood with my friends until dark, and building forts out of sheets hung over branches. My mom sometimes brought us lemonade popsicles frozen in those Tupperware makers. She did not shuttle us around, organize massive play dates, or send me to violin/math/robot-making camp.
How, then, has summer with my kids become some sort of uber-busy, hyperactive, rushing, entertaining extravaganza of activities? Even though I have purposefully kept my children’s structured activities to a minimum, the kids seem to have an ingrained need for every day to be a bonanza of fun. Although we go on adventures to the beach, the park, or the playground most every day, they immediately complain of boredom upon returning home.
They follow me, nipping at my heels, asking, “What’s next? Can I have a snack? What are we doing? Where are we going? Can I have a snack? Can I have a snack now?”
I’ve told them, “Figure it out, run along, use your imagination” to no avail.
What can a mom do but turn to Phineas and Ferb, an example of kids who know how to rock their summer. Here’s what we can learn from some of their best songs:
“It’s so much fun not knowing where you’re going”
At any point, do Phineas and Ferb ask where they’re going, never mind when they are going to be there? No. They know that it’s the journey, not the destination
“Summer belongs to you”
“The sun is shinin’, there’s a lot that you can do
There’s a world of possibilities outside your door
Why settle for a little, you can get much more
Don’t need an invitation, every day is new
Yes, it’s true”
You don’t need an invitation. Stop waiting around. Go out and do something.
“Summer, where do we begin”
“Summer is runnin’ through the sprinklers in your T-shirt, shoes and jeans
Rolling down a grassy hill, yeah, that’s what summer means to me
There’s so much more to do
Summer, it’s crickets and cicadas and a glass of lemonade
Summer, it’s sitting with your brother in the backyard under the shade of a
That’s what it means to me
It’s summer, man, where do we begin?”
Phineas and Ferb are happy with the good old-fashioned sprinkler.
They do not need their mom to tell them what to do. They do not need crafts set up for them. They do not ask for snacks every five minutes.
They NEVER say they’re bored. Ever.
They use their imagination.
“Do nothing day”
“Slow down and look around you
Throw your to-do-list away!
The clouds look like sheep and vice versa,
Let’s have a do nothing day.”
They are happy looking at the clouds.
Sometimes it’s ok to do nothing.
In my children’s defense, we do not have a platypus, which does seem to make everything a lot more fun.
“We consider every day a plus
To spend it with a platypus
We’re always so ecstatic
’Cause he’s semi-aquatic
Our Ornithorhynchus anatinus
Brings smiles to the both of us
Life’s never fuddy-duddy
With our web-footed buddy”
While we’re waiting for our platypus, may our kids all find plenty to do to entertain themselves in these final days of summer.