Warning: I’m about to divulge some relatively severe germophobic / OCD tendencies in the context of this post. Judge as you see fit.
Spending time outside with the girls seems to take quite a bit of planning and coordination. I think the biggest contributor is that we don’t wear shoes in the house.
We have a small laundry room that we use as a mudroom. It works fine for one person at a time, but for one regular-size person, and two little people – who can’t stand still and must touch every.single.thing in sight – it’s a really tight squeeze.
When we’re going somewhere in the car, I just buckle the girls in their car seats and then put on their shoes. But when we’re heading outside for a walk, we pile into the laundry room and play a complicated version of Tennis Shoe Twister to get ready.
Then there’s the issue of sunscreen. Our girls have yet to get red in the sun. I know it will happen one day…but I know it will break my heart. I am a stickler for sunscreen and hats…and now the girls are all about sunglasses, too.
We usually apply sunscreen in the garage (thankful that we have a mop sink so Mommy can wash her hands). It often feels complicated, too, though.
The girls are getting much better, but it’s still nerve-wracking for me to be applying sunscreen to one babe, while “trusting” the other not to get into trouble in the garage while Mommy’s hands are goopy.
So once we have on shoes and sunscreen and hats…we’re finally ready to play.
Play, play, play…the girls are ALL about it. They love to go for walks hand-in-hand…to run in the grass…to kick the ball…to push their bubble mowers…to pick clover and blow dandelions…to attempt to blow bubbles. They love to play with chalk…but -- if I'm being honest -- that’s on a more limited basis, as it adds an additional layer of mess.
One of their biggest joys these past couple of weeks is practicing drinking from small water bottles, or from cups. They pull their little chairs out and sit down, usually crossing their legs, and try so hard to drink. They’re not very proficient, though…most days they probably only consume an ounce or so of water, despite their many attempts…HA!
After we have a blast outside, then it’s time to come in…and the laborious process is repeated, in reverse.
Pile in laundry room…take off shoes…wipe hands…wipe arms / legs (from sunscreen)...potty. And if we’ve sat down anywhere outside, change pants.
It often feels like I'm running a marathon, just to get some fresh air.
Still…I was reminded this weekend…it’s worth it.
Over the past two years, we have put a lot of resources into our backyard. We added a covered patio, and we’ve done a lot of landscaping. We have a beautiful space…but sadly, we haven’t enjoyed it nearly as much as we should have.
We have an awesome grill and great patio furniture, and our neighbors gave us a little picnic table for the girls. We need to use these things.
Playing – carefree – outside is one of the many joys of childhood. My girls need to experience it, unadulterated.
I’m not ready to relax my standards for shoes inside, the application of sunscreen, or trying to keep the grass and dirt and goop out of the house.
But I need to focus and find some zen.
I’ve been dreaming of a porch swing on the patio for two years now. I’m going to make that happen this spring.
We’re going to have picnics on the patio, and eat food from the grill.
And if we somehow get a grass stain on our carpet, we will deal with it.