Monday, August 19, 2013

Nine Days in Summer - Day 8 - Screw the To-Do List

This is the eighth in a nine-part series, one part for each consecutive day I'll be home on a vacation from work. "Vacation" in a corporate American-ish sense means I'll still be checking in, checking e-mails, and doing all sorts of work-related things, except without having to put pants on, but with small people draped on me. This is what we do for the week plus before school starts back up again, my wife goes back to teaching kindergarten, and all Hell breaks loose:

Earlier in the week, there was a major effort afoot to get everything done around the house that needed done. In these last nine days of summer vacation, we would get our house in order, preparing the household for the upcoming school year when we're lucky to get everyone's teeth brushed quasi-daily, let alone make the house presentable.

But as the common social media laughing phrase goes, "Bhahahaha." (Apparently you are laughing more robustly if you throw a "b" in front of "haha.") Instead, we said Screw the To-Do List. We only have two days left before the routine and the grind of the school year kicks in and kicks our butts, so we're making it fun and throwing the list in the trash. Or maybe just the recycling bin.

We decided to go to a second baseball game in a week, figuring that the extra baseball game somehow cancels out cleaning the garage with the Parenting Gods. Back to the ages-old "happy kids or clean house" debate, where we try to err on the side of happy kids. (If that's considered erring.) We learned several things during the game, because what is a time out with kids if you're not learning something?

While it's never a good business decision to take hungry kids to the ballyard, it doesn't pay to try to feed them beforehand, either. Whether you force your kids to scavenge for their own food in the backyard or take them to an all-you-can-eat Hot Dogs and Macaroni and Cheese buffet before the game, the only thing on the kids' minds is Dippin Dots. (Still the Ice Cream of the Future?) We tried a meal out before the game, and the kids saved room for the Dots by turning their noses up at everything and demanding Dippin Dots before the first pitch was thrown.

19 months is officially the age where a third child needs to have everything his siblings have. We gave the older two baseball mitts even though if a foul ball came anywhere near our section, it would look like a bomb drill from an early '60s elementary school. Child #3 threw a paint-peeling fit because he didn't have one, even though nobody truly knew what to do with theirs. But that's the stage we're at...whether it's baseball gloves, cotton candy or pillowcases full of steak knives.

The main difference between a 2 hour, 8 minute baseball game and a 2 hour, 58 minute baseball game is 723 seating changes.

Everyone has a job to do at a minor league baseball game. In a sixth inning filled with two pitching changes, a coach/umpire argument, a slew of walks, rinsing off the salt from the pretzels with some blue PowerAde, and a bathroom break, we were asked if we wanted to post the K on the panel sponsored by some local business after one of the pitchers snuck in a strikeout. Try explaining that to anybody. So we took a few pictures of kids smiling and holding a K, and it looked like a PSA for bananas. (For those interested, the K comes from the last letter of "struck," as in "he struck him out," used first by the guy who invented the box score. He didn't use S because that was already taken to account for sacrifices. It is a thrilling story.)

Fireworks make everything easier. Kids will pay attention to fireworks. When we're trying to get kids to put down the electronics and come to the kitchen for dinner, we're going to set Roman candles off.

With summer drawing to a close and the dreaded "school routine" nearly upon us, we're trying to squeeze as much in as we can, all in the name of happy kids. The house? The house will clean itself someday, right?

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