Monday, September 17, 2007

Better Than Music Class

I've always been an advocate of letting children entertain themselves, and vowed years ago that when I had kids, I would not be filling each and every minute of their time with lessons and activities. That being said, I don't want Pumpkin to miss out on any cool experiences, so we tend to go to a lot of programs. Pumpkin is always singing, so how can I not put her in a music class? She loves jumping on trampolines, so how can I not buy a membership to the nearby, indoor playground where she can jump to her heart's content? She likes/needs to be able to socialize and follow routine, so how can I not put her in a pre-pre-school program where she learns these things? There are also those programs that we join because my friends ask me to. Yup, I spend a fair bit of time and money on all this stuff, and have scheduled my daughter's life in a way that I never really wanted to. Today's program was cancelled, so rather than packing her up in the car and driving to somewhere else in search of entertainment, I thought it would just be nice to take a long walk from our house down into the nearby valley, and enjoy the remains of summer. A free walk. A walk that didn't require driving anywhere. A walk with no retail component. A walk that was more entertaining to Pumpkin than all her activities combined. First there was the giggly run down the path to the valley where her legs almost got away from her. Then there was the time spent standing on the bridge, watching the water, and looking for ducks. There were several encounters with dogs, to her delight. There was what seemed like half an hour of Pumpkin picking up gravel from the path, dropping it, then dusting her hands off, while shouting, "All clean!". There were sticks to pick up, weeds to trod through, and tall weeds that I was required to tie around her waist such that she could break out of their embrace, only to have me tie them around her again. After two hours in the valley, I finally had to pick her up of the ground where she was examining rocks, stuff her in her wagon, and bribe her with juice and cookies, just so we could get home. I don't know why I join all these stupid programs when I could just be playing outside my door? The outdoors is probably so much better for her too. See if I still feel this way when the cold weather hits.


nomotherearth said...

It's really hard for parents, because you feel so much pressure to keep your kids in the loop. I think you're right that that walk was better than any class you could have paid for. Don't know if you get much chance for reading, but check out "Einstein Never Used Flashcards". Might change your perspective on things.

DaniGirl said...

Oh, I love days like these! I feel like I took a nice walk in the woods just reading this post, and you reminded me that it's been a little too long since we've done that.

Sandra said...

You've inspired me to take a big late summer walk too.

It is such a challenge to balance free-time with scheduled time. I have friends that completely over-schedule their little ones. I don'thave it in me. My guy does a few activities - ones he loves and asks to do - but nothing over the top. Those days spent outside are worth more than any class!