The weather has definitely turned colder these last few weeks. Here in suburban Philadelphia, it also gets dark around 5 p.m. It’s tempting to hibernate indoors on weekends, particularly if we’re coming off busy days, but this past Sunday afternoon was a reminder of what happens when we attempt that with a 6-year-old, 4-year-old, and 2-year-old.
It certainly wasn’t a bad weekend, and it wasn’t even a particularly low-key weekend. On Saturday, I got up and took my 4-year-old to his swim lesson at the Y, and braved the treadmill after 2 weeks off running. It felt good! After lunch, we went to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, and saw the hippos, the sharks, etc. We drove back over the Ben Franklin Bridge to the Philadelphia waterfront, and went to the Seaport museum. The rest of my family went through the submarine (I hate small enclosed spaces) and then we went out for dinner at Jones restaurant. Stephen Starr has found a brilliant niche: a restaurant that’s nice, but has enough kid-friendly food and ambiance that you can bring them too. The place was packed with families and — evidence that they’re nailing their demographic — was much less crowded at 7 p.m. than it was at 5:30. The customers were on their way to bath and bed! We watched the Texas A&M game after (we’d recorded it), and while it didn’t come out the way we wanted at all (oh, Johnny!), drinking beer and watching football isn’t a bad Saturday night activity.
Sunday morning we all went to the Y again for a grown-up work out and then a family swim. After that, we decided to just let the kids play at the house for the rest of the day. It had been a busy weekend, and a busy week. We all needed to relax, right? Then the 2-year-old refused to nap. There were a few fun minutes when the kids managed to play peaceably. But I got sucked into novel revision, and my husband didn’t really feel like refereeing fights either. So the kids watched a lot of TV. I mean a lot. There was a full Power Rangers binge, plus a movie, plus a few episodes of Peter Rabbit, etc. Occasionally, one of us would attempt to get the kids to play in the basement, but soon someone would decide that the toy some other child was playing with was the only toy in the entire house that would do, and the screaming would commence. TV became the better choice.
That’s all fine for a day, but it’s a reminder that we do better, in general, when we get out of the house in the afternoon, even for a little bit. While staying at home all day is fun as a grown-up who’s there solo, with our particular family dynamic, it doesn’t really work. I wish it did.
Do your kids do OK with staying home all day?