Weekend recap: Mother’s Day edition

My recipe for a good weekend involves an adult dinner somewhere fancy, a long run, singing good music at church, and a family adventure. This weekend, I did not run long. I just wasn’t into it. I did two sub-2-mile runs. In other words, keeping up the streak at the bare minimum. Some days are like that. But the other elements happened.

We ate with friends at Talula’s Daily on Friday night. I sang Bach and Brahms at church. The family adventure: We went to the Philadelphia Art Museum as our Mother’s Day excursion.

There was a lot of complaining about this, and fighting in the minivan on the way downtown. But the Impressionist exhibit was a pretty cool payoff for braving the rain and sibling battles. There were some great works by Monet, Van Gogh, Cassatt and Morisot. We discovered that we could mildly increase child engagement with the paintings by getting them audio guides (even the 4-year-old). However, this didn’t work miracles. Let’s just say I would have lingered more on this Mother’s Day excursion if I did not have children (or at least the actual children I happen to have. Maybe someone else has little art experts who enjoy comparing Cezanne’s earlier and later works…) We walked past the horse in shining armor in the arms and armor exhibit several times (always a kid favorite) and the kids got to make a craft with the Art Splash program.

A few other variations from the usual weekend recipe: On Saturday, my husband took our 11-year-old and three of his friends out to see Detective Pikachu (A Jasper Movie Review is coming, I think!) and to get pizza. I handled the Little League game, though I didn’t see much of it as I had the two youngest kids on the playground much of the time.*

I have been trying to read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. I’m not sure I’ll finish it — it’s well-written of course, but I don’t really like the true crime genre. At some point I decided to switch over to The Boxcar Children (the first book in the children’s series) and finished it in about an hour.

We ended Sunday night with a calendar meeting. This is when my husband and I sit down with our calendars and talk through when we’re both traveling, kid events (and whether these overlap with times when we’re both traveling), and things we’d like to do. As a result of this, we now have a double date planned with my little brother and his girlfriend, and an idea of at least one activity to do over Memorial Day weekend. Plus clarity on who covers what. These meetings have definitely gotten better since we’ve started doing them. I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to make sure planning and household/parental management goes smoothly.

*This was, in a way, a highlight. Another child on the playground kept asking my daughter “what’s wrong with your eyes? Your eyes look funny — why do they look like that?” After two failed surgeries to correct the non-alignment, this is just reality right now. When my daughter came over to swing, I mentioned that she could answer with one of the phrases we’ve talked about in the past, but she said “or I could just not answer.” Which is also true! And turned out to work fine as eventually the questions slowed down and they just played. I love the way she handles the world.

12 thoughts on “Weekend recap: Mother’s Day edition

  1. I love the way your daughter handled that situation. Kids can be so rude with their questions at times… Sometimes you don’t need to dignify the question with an answer and can just ignore them.

    I think my husband and I need a monthly planning meeting similar to what you do weekly. Neither of us travels, we work pretty typical hours (7-4ish), and we only have one child. We check in informally at the start of the week but a monthly planning meeting would probably be good for us so we are more intentional about planning date nights and such.

    1. @Lisa- I really do think it’s helpful. So many business meetings waste time, but we probably underuse the “meeting” concept in our personal lives. When we need to make decisions about things and need other people to make those decisions, it’s efficient to do a lot of decisions at once!

  2. Regarding increasing your children’s enjoyment at the art museums – try reading a picture book or a for your older boys a biography of the artist before see the exhibit. This has worked with my 7 & 9 year old to increase engagement.
    Thanks for the reminder about planning meetings – my husband and I need to do this before the summer hustle hits – primarily to discuss expectations about screen time/etc but also since we have several camp runs.

    1. A really excellent art museum near where I live puts together “scavenger hunt” guides for kids that correspond with different exhibits. Definitely a fun way to get them interested in examining the art a little more closely! (And anyone reading this should check out Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville AR if you ever get a chance!)

  3. Does your daughter have strabismus? My son (graduating tomorrow!) had exotropic strabismus in both eyes and had surgery at two (after a year and a half of patching). No “tune ups” needed yet, but when he’s tired you’ll see one eye or the other drift. I love your daughter’s understanding that she’s not beholden to someone else’s prodding questions.

    1. I had (have?) strabismus. I had surgery at 18 months after patching. All good until they started to turn the opposite direction in college. One friend of a friend always called me Snake Eye 🙁 I didn’t think anything could be done until I had a new doctor in my early 30s tell me I could have the surgery again. I had got it done at 35 after I had my 2nd child and so far, so good!

  4. I also went to the Philadelphia Art Museum 2 weeks ago when I visited Philadelphia for the first time as part of my east coast US trip (I live in Vancouver, did NYC -> Philly -> Washington DC). I enjoyed it a lot especially the Impressionist’s Eye exhibit, the audio guides were well-made. I also went to the Eastern State Penitentiary, which I also really liked as it’s not something you get to see every day.

  5. I love your daughter’s reaction as well as how you’ve been discussing potential responses to inquiries. Good to be prepared but also good to learn early on that you don’t always have to react or make the other person comfortable.

  6. Just want to mention that I always look forward to the realistic POV of the kid aspect of your posts. I have 3 kids (6,4 and infant) and love to plan a good outing. Almost never turns out how I planned but like you I make the best of it and try to release expectations. I read a lot of “recaps” with kids that are a little too heavy on the good behavior and light on the kids fighting about looking at each other too long haha. Thanks for telling it like it is, it’s more helpful than you may know!

  7. If you’re prepared to invest a little, then a family tour of an art museum can work wonders for engagement and create a very enjoyable event. My 7 year old son declared our 2.5 hours in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam the absolute highlight of our trip and it was all down to our highly entertaining guide and her jigsaw based quiz. In addition, nearly all the museums in London do Family Sundays with interactive storytelling and music, mostly for free. I highly recommend anyone travelling to London to check out the families section of the respective websites.

  8. I think your calendar meetings sounds great. What I wonder though, once you notice you need to arrange to additional help, who takes care of that? Is it you who has to handle the logistics of that? I’m asking because it feels like that’s what it turns out to be with us, I feel.

    1. @Maggie – Good question, though this generally isn’t our sticking point. Our nanny is willing to work overtime (including overnight) so generally this just means putting the dates we will both be gone on her calendar. Which means one of us needs to text her. So one of us does that. It’s been either of us, though I’d say it’s marginally more likely to be me, but mostly that’s because I work from home so I see her a lot more.

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