Three things from the weekend

November 09,2009
Professor Mom
Aliki McElreath( )

Aliki is a writer and college English teacher. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children (ages seven and ten), a dog, a cat, a rabbit, and too many fish.

Did you have spectacular fall weather like we had this weekend? I spent most of it outdoors, making up for all the sick, couch-ridden days from the weekend before. We raked, finally put away the Halloween decorations (it’s so much easier and exciting to put them up, isn’t it, then to take them down?), and T. and I spent some quality time in the hammock, watching the leaves spiral down from the blue, blue sky. I felt some of my old energy coming back—not all of it yet, but enough to make me feel like myself again, and not some recovering invalid. H1N1 is a formidable foe, that’s for certain, and the after-effects linger for some time

. Along the way I also discovered three other important things this weekend:

1. Trader Joe’s new pumpkin pancake/waffle mix is heavenly, especially when you serve the pancakes with warmed maple syrup and hot cider on a cool Sunday morning (and no, TJ’s did not pay me to say this, but T. insisted I include it here—she ate four pancakes, and L. downed a record six)

2. Sometimes, moms and dads, it’s okay to turn your back on regular weekend chores in the name of just doing nothing--the world won't end, and your house won't fall apart, and your children won't suffer

3. November 7th is not too early for your kids to write their Christmas lists

Because I'm a multi-tasking pro, Number 2 is always difficult for me to get my mind around. While I do like a certain amount of lazing around on a weekend, I also sometimes go into domestic overdrive, doing loads of laundry, cleaning the house, changing beds, cooking up a storm for the week to come. When the kids do settle down for their daily “rest time”—a movie on weekend days, I snatch the time to get some computer work done, writing a post, or working on any number of other projects I have simmering on the back burner. But this weekend I just felt the need to slow down, and even allowed myself the luxury of stretching out on the couch while T. watched The Land Before Time in one room, and L. soaked up another round of Star Wars: A New Hope in the other room.

T. has been asking about Number 3 for weeks now, and I've been putting her off, but this weekend, as I sorted through the pile of holiday shopping catalogs on the kitchen counter I had an idea. Last year I sat with T. and wrote out her Christmas wish list for her while she excitedly poured forth a stream of dreams and desires. This year, I set her to work at the kitchen table with scissors, tape, a stack of toy catalogs, and some Dear Santa notepaper that I bought on clearance somewhere last year.

She busied herself for nearly 45 minutes, clipping pictures of doll and toys first, then painstakingly using tape to stick each photo on the back of the Santa paper.

When she was done she signed her name, I took photos (great to send to family members who might be curious about the children's wish lists). L., inspired by T., spent a long time on the computer cutting and pasting photos of his wish list items onto a MS Word page, then printing it out.

Of course T. insisted I make a list, too, and because she thought putting socks and new shoes and an iPod dock on a Christmas wish list was just unthinkable, I have now asked Santa for a Breyer horse and rider set, and an American Doll.