I must be getting old if I'm saying that. It's right up there with, "Turn that music down!" "You're not wearing that, Mister!" and "No, you may NOT dye your hair black and wear guyliner." OK. That might be unique to my situation. Whatever.
But that's neither here nor there. I'm not a parent to try to be cool. But apparently, that's what we child-rearing cruise directors are trying to do these days.
Case in point: I'm talking to my friend this evening, who says, "I asked my kids if they wanted to go throw the football around. They said, 'No, we'd rather stay inside'. If my dad ever asked me to go throw the football, I'd be out there until my arm fell off. What gives?"
Interesting question, Friend. Surprisingly, I have an immediate answer. "Because it's no big deal."
No. Big. Deal.
It's the same reason why when I say, "Hey, kids! Let's go out to dinner tonight!" they shrug and respond, "No thanks."
WHAT? Back in the day, if MY parents took us out to dinner it was a BIG FREAKIN' DEAL! I mean, Ponderosa, HELLO??!!
Here's how this all plays out. Now, I know that in this world today there are a fair share of neglectful parents. The ones that don't give a shit or have a clue about what their kids do. The ones that see their kids as an "interference" in their own lives and pawn them off on anyone and everyone to raise them so they can get on with whatever more important things they're doing, like making money, spending hours at the gym or getting their weekly massage/manicure/wax.
Then there's the OTHER extreme. Which is apparently me, and people like me. We're bound and determined to be super-parents. Now, I always thought that meant being like MY parents. You know - homemade birthday cakes in the shapes of dolls and stuff. Crafts on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Homemade cookies after school. But I think I may have taken that a bit too far by becoming my children's entertainment director. "What shall we do today?" I'd ask when they were younger. Then we'd plan a trip to the zoo, or the waterpark, or a hike, or a bikeride, or a museum, or the library, or a playground. I always packed a picnic lunch or snacks "just in case". If we were homebound, we'd rent a movie, play a board game, do a craft or experiment, bake, make a fort or construct with Legos. They never had to sit around and wonder what to do on their own when I was around, that's for sure!
So fast forward to present day. I'm busy, they're older, and I'm wondering why they're sitting on the couch on a gorgeous day transfixed by the idiot box. "Let's go for a bikeride!" I say, willing to put aside cleaning, laundry and packing (like that's hard.) "Nah," they say. "How about ice cream?" I say coaxingly. "Meh," is the reply. "The zoo?" I ask quizzically. *insert eye roll here.*
What the hell? Who wouldn't want to go and enjoy this gorgeous day with some outside activities with their favoritest person in the world? How does it even occur to them that lying on the couch, eyes glazed, brain on autopilot is a great way to spend a sunny Saturday?
Well, ya idiot, it's because you've already done it all. All those bike rides, all those hikes, all those ice cream trips and restaurant excursions... all those fun activities that used to be reserved in my childhood for special occasions have suddenly become so mainstream, so ORDINARY, that they're just no big deal anymore. And even worse, I've tried to continually outdo myself to one-up the very "ordinary" things I want my kids to enjoy. Don't want to go out for ice cream? Well, let's make our own banana splits at home! Don't want to go for a bikeride? Let's go rent one of those Segways and ride along the Riverfront! Not up for a hike? How about a little ziplining?
Geez, someone hit me upside of the head please.
Maybe it's a divorce thing. I know I've made a conscious effort to try not to "make up" for the fact that I'm only one parent by spoiling my kids and buying them a bunch of random stuff. But maybe I am spoiling them - not necessarily materialistically, but creatively.
That's IT. I'm creatively spoiling my kids.
I've completely crushed any ounce of self-creativity that they ever may have had. I'm like that lady that greets you as you board the cruise ship who hands you a Mai Tai and a minute by minute schedule of all the fabulous activities you'll be doing during your captivit- er - vacation. NO ORIGINAL THOUGHTS NECESSARY.
So, how do I turn this bus around? I'm not sure. There has to be a way, though. Maybe it's just a matter of unplugging all the TVs, taking all the batteries out of the DS's and hiding all the video games. THEN what're they gonna do? Maybe I'll just lock them outside some sunny day and let them fend for themselves. Or pump up their bike tires, drive them out in the country and drop them off with a compass and plenty of water. That'll spark their creativity.
Until then, we've got a busy week ahead. Easter's right around the corner, you know. Maybe instead of just coloring eggs this year we could raise the chickens! Yeah! That's a GREAT idea! The kids will love it!
Gotta get busy...