Enrichment. by Alicia Steffann
Thank you again to Alicia, from Naps Happen, for her parenting commentary. We love her like we love Fridays. And cheesecake. And running barefoot.
Delighted squeals echo across the common area behind my townhouse. I step out onto the deck and watch five children streak by carrying sticks. They seem to be involved in a mysterious construction project involving a pile of rocks, a ton of pine cones, and a bucket of water. The project is simultaneously exciting and deadly serious. The children work in happy cooperation to construct what is sure, upon completion, to be something we parents must dismantle later.
They are having the time of their lives, these kids. I notice my eldest has once again removed his shoes and is running barefoot. Nobody seems to run barefoot anymore.
I used to run barefoot. What year did that stop being acceptable?
Turning to my kitchen counter, which is stacked haphazardly with the detritus of daily routine, I pick up the “enrichment calendar” the school has sent home. If I want, I can pay extra to sign my kindergartener up for Spanish after school. Or maybe violin. Or even Lego robotics. That sounds cool...Lego robotics.
I know there are some kids who really love the classroom, and who will do well in these after school enrichment groups. That’s great for them. I’m glad I live near a school that offers these opportunities, because I hope my sons will want to learn some of these things.
One day. Maybe soon.
This afternoon, though? My boys want nothing more than to ride their big wheels in the cul-de-sac and build their mysterious pile of rocks until I force them to come in at dusk. They want to get really disreputably dirty and unearth strange insects and marvel at the new mini-pumpkin that hasn’t yet fallen prey to the squash vine boring worm in our backyard.
They really love the mysterious magic of those pumpkin vines.
Shrugging off the I-don’t-do-enough-STUFF-for-them guilt that nags me, I put the enrichment calendar into the recycling bin, hesitating only briefly, and then I walk away.
“Ten more minutes guys!” I yell off the deck, knowing secretly that I’ll really give them twenty.
Alicia Steffann is the gDiapering mom behind the outrageous blog, Naps Happen, which features a massive collection of photos of kids who have fallen asleep in unbelievable places, including over a hundred pictures submitted by fans.
Since starting Naps Happen in 2010, her sleepy escapades have been featured online in Parade, The Huffington Post, NBC Today Moms, Hollywood Life by Bonnie Fuller, Nickmom, and the blogs at Babble, Parentables and Babycenter. She was also voted a *Circle of Moms* Top 25 Funny Mom blogger in both 2011 and 2012. When she’s not blogging, she is teaching college writing and wrangling her two small and soporifically talented boys. She lives in the D.C. area.