Do you ever beat yourself up wondering whether you do enough fun things with your kids? Maybe it's just me..but I have a funny feeling I may be part of a big group of secretly guilty parents who dread one day being told: "Hey Mum/Dad, you know when we were little? You were no fun at all!" I know life's not just about having fun, but heck, I don't want to be remembered as well, not being fun. Would you?
At the beginning of the mid-year school holidays I asked my kids to write down a list of the fun things they'd like to do. This seemed like a good way of keeping track, for them and me. You know what my eight year old son said in response? "That's a good idea Mum, 'cause we're a family who often talk about things, but never actually do them". Bear in mind this is the same boy who told Santa last Christmas that he was the only eight year old in Sydney without a Wii or DS. (Overly dramatic - yes; underprivileged? Hardly!) So okay, we've never made it to Disneyland or had a jumping castle in our backyard, but were we really that boring? Were we really people who were all fun talk and no fun action?
As it's not a good idea to shoot the messenger, I tried to take this helpful comment from my son in the manner it may have been intended - as constructive criticism. Here was my chance to show our kids that it was possible to do the things we talked about, just for fun. I told them to make a list of at least eight fun activities, realistic please (so no, we wouldn't be buying a Wii or DS) that everyone could do (except Dad who would be at work. Lucky duck).
Writing the list became a source of much discussion. Ideas were tossed up and then discarded as being not fun enough, or too old for one or too babyish for another. The list was finally agreed on and contained things that even I felt, with some relief, we could carry off. Jesse and Eleanore wanted to play putt putt golf. Mimi wanted to cook cupcakes. Everyone wanted a movie night; a sleep-over at their Grandparent's home; a trip to the local library; a meal at McDonalds; to do some craft; and to do that pseudo-scientific experiment of putting a mentos in a coke bottle and sending a geyser of fiz ten feet into the air.
Mim's our little masterchef. She loves breaking the eggs (and has got quite good at this, sometimes even getting them in to the bowl), sifting, mixing and then, you guessed it, licking the bowl. Strangely enough, she's not fussed about eating the end product. However the others make up for this.