It’s finally here! Our first official day of the 31 Days to a Closer Family Challenge, and boy were we challenged today. The afternoon started with a bad experience at Benjamin Moore (after making Cody wait for 15 minutes the sales lady basically told him she didn’t have time to help him today and to come back later). I’ve had really good experiences with Benjamin Moore before, so I was totally bummed that we might have to stop patronizing them because of poor customer service. Luckily the little old guy who usually helps me literally chased Cody down in the parking lot after he saw him storm out of the store and offered to help. Crisis slightly averted. Until Cody got home from work and found out our water had been cut off. Apparently the city actually expects you to pay your bill on time, although to be fair it would have been nice if they had actually sent us a bill in the first place. Our first utility bills are just starting to roll in, so I wasn’t exactly suspicious that it hadn’t shown up yet. We paid the bill over the phone, but since it was after 3PM our water won’t be turned on until tomorrow. Oh well, the kids didn’t really need a bath or to poop anyways. And on the plus side I get out of hand scrubbing all the dishes in the pedestal sink for one night. Who knew there was a plus side to getting your water cut off? I’m mostly annoyed that after only 14 days of being late they actually sent someone all the way to our house to turn off the water without trying to contact us to let us know. I’ve never not paid a utility bill on time, but I always kind of assumed they just kept charging you late fees for a couple of months before cutting you off. After the pediment debacle it seems as if we’ve been attracting poor customer service lately.
If you are wondering what this all has to do with family time, I’m getting there. At the time that Cody was trying to handle the water company (I was still at work) he was also trying to juggle a conference call for work and a whiny Lizzie who got a short nap due to a field trip at day care (a trip that included my 4 year riding unrestrained in a booster seat…..don’t get me started). This kind of night usually ends with one cranky family at dinner and the kids rushed off to bed early so mommy and daddy can drown their bad day in wine and a Pretty Little Liars marathon. But not today! Today was our first official day of making quality family time a priority and it seemed like bad sport to bow out already, so after a rather uneventful dinner we moved to the family room for some together time.
Child led instruction doesn’t sound like much fun. I really tried to come up with a snappier title, but I had a long day (see above) and that’s the best I could do tonight. The concept I was going for is to pick a hobby of your child’s (particularly one they are good at) and have them teach the whole family. The idea is not only to engage the whole family in the child’s hobby but also to boost their self-esteem by deeming them the resident expert. One great thing about this challenge is it works for any aged child and for any type of hobby. Since my children are on the young side I was the one to decide what hobby we went with and I choose gymnastics (as per the schedule). Sophie has been doing gymnastics for the past year ( you may remember the recent Gymnastics Birthday Party) , so she was our resident expert. Lizzie has been dying to start gymnastics herself, but she can’t start until 3 (poor little Boo).
We let Sophie set the pace and decide which activities we would do, although Daddy and I helped supplement when she ran out of ideas. We did splits, stretches, tumbles, cartwheels, and hand stands. By far the most popular activity though was running laps through the kitchen and family room. Even the dogs decided to get into the chase. Lizzie was so excited to get to participate and her enthusiasm was contagious. Lizzie and mine’s relationship has been strained since I went back to work. If Daddy is around she generally wants nothing to do with me; she’ll even melt down sometimes if I try to pick her up or take her from Cody. So the best part of tonight for me was definitely when she came running to me smiling with her arms held up so I could help her do a hand stand. Sigh….my heart just melted all over again. Sophie was really proud to be the leader and show off all her tumbling skills.
In the end what started as an inconvenience and an annoyance (yep I’m talking about spending time with my kids) wound up being exactly what the doctor ordered. By time we were done we were all laughing, in high spirits, and honestly a little winded (hopefully I burned off that doughnut from lunch). I honestly feel like what could’ve been a really rough night, was tuned around by simply being silly together.
Your turn: Do your children share their hobbies with the whole family? Have you ever had one of your children teach the family a new activity? How did it turn out?