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Location: Northern California

Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Saturday, October 01, 2005


The joy of spontaneous scheduling

With our summer traveling over, the family is settling into an easy-going routine that should take us through fall and into the holiday season. We have a very laid-back schedule and I’m happy and proud about that; perhaps even a little smug.

We attend playgroups on Mondays and Fridays, but those are our only scheduled events on weekdays. Don’t get me wrong—I’m a big believer in getting out of the house and doing something every day. What I balk at is the idea of scheduling activities that cost money, are called classes, and guarantee me and my children bonding experiences we couldn’t possibly have anywhere else.

As the ruler of their universe, I’m certain that Emily and Thomas get much more out of attending a weekday rally at the Governor’s office followed by an impromptu lunch at the Farmer’s Market than they would out of a contrived Mommy and Me class. I know I do. And they certainly don’t need music classes to ensure their future appreciation of music. Our car’s equipped with XM satellite radio and Emily dances and sings to the music of the eighties like nobody’s business.

We don’t have any classes planned for the weekends, either. We usually attend a birthday party or two, lunch with Mike’s dad, or visit with friends. During the summer we went to lots of street fairs, which around here are called Arts and Wine Festivals. Not sure what will be the main activity of our fall weekends. I could have Emily in a swimming or gymnastics class on the weekend, but I like the flexibility of having no planned scheduled events outside of meal times and bath times.

When I’m having a moment of mommy guilt, I fear my daughter is falling behind her peers in the arts because she is not enrolled in the Art for Toddlers class at our local rec center. But then I remember her box of 164 crayons, her foot-high stack of construction paper, her gigantic packet of stickers, and her set of paints and brushes—art supplies we use on a daily basis—and I know in my mommy heart of hearts that we encourage her in all the right ways to practice her arts and crafts, right here in her very own home.

In the upcoming years as the kids get older and want to be involved in more structured activities, scheduling (and possibly over-scheduling) will become par for the course. That is when I will get my gigantic wall calendar and I will assign each family member his or her own color.

I imagine we’ll also have a cork board on which will hang “pockets” that I have cleverly designed out of file folders. In these pockets will no doubt live important papers, such as permission slips and field trip announcements and medical release forms and a whole host of badly-photocopied and poorly-cut yet extremely important pieces of paper.

And I have no doubt that I, as mom, will be responsible for making sure that all of the people in all of the colors are where they need to be when they need to be there and that they have their pieces of paper with them, too.

I’m preparing both the kids and myself for the upcoming years by making sure that this year—at least this season—we meander through our days accepting playdates as they come and eating at the mall for lunch on a whim as often as we like.

I’m going to miss these days when they’re gone.