How to Spend the Day with a Nine-Year-Old

I think I have seen my children less now that it is summer than when they were in school.

Their school hours have been replaced by sports practice and friends. I am currently living in my car.

Perhaps I should consider having my mail forwarded there. And a mini-bar installed.

Today uncovered several hours of unscheduled time for me. By 10:30 this morning, The Tortoise had already finished swim practice and been dropped off at a friend’s for a sleep-over. Oddly enough, The Hare had nothing else the rest of the afternoon. Thoughts of catching up on laundry, cleaning bathrooms and getting some decent writing time in made me giddy.

“Mom, ” piped The Hare from the backseat, “What are we going to do on our day off together?”

Our day off. I hadn’t really thought about it that way. In fact, ever since summer started, I was starting to resent a little of this so-called “vacation”. It felt like work.

“Lunch, ” I responded, “and then I don’t know.”

“But you always know. You’re the schedule Queen!”

“Well, today’s schedule is just to see what happens.”

The Hare and I had a lunch date over noodles at Noodles & Company, talked about how her summer was going, what skills she hoped to learn in gymnastics and what things she might like to do over the weekend. Then we wandered over to the Teacher Tech Store and bought a gift for a birthday party she is going to tomorrow. (And a few odds and ends snuck their way into our basket for her too. I’m a sucker for motivational posters and activity workbooks.) The sun finally popped out, taunting us to walk down main street, peek in all the windows and eat frozen custard at the local custard shop.

We sat outside, The Hare hiding under the umbrella, me stretched out on two chairs soaking in the almost forgotten sun. It has been very cold and cloudy this week.

“Do you remember the last time we were here, with Luna, mom?”

“Sure – that’s when my friend was visiting, right?”

Giggle. Giggle.

“What?”

“You got in so much trouble that day! Remember?”

“Oh yeah!” I giggled.

A young couple with their perky pre-schooler and smoky black Havanese came and shared the courtyard with us. We chatted a few minutes about our dogs and realized we use the same doggy daycare and groomer. Obviously, that made us instant friends. Their daughter was very sweet, asking a billion questions, venturing deep into my personal space.

Luna had sat patiently, never begging. I was down to my last few bites of vanilla frozen custard, nestled in the bottom of my cone. I tipped my hand to Luna, let her have a few licks of the cold sugary delight. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head.

“MOM!” shouted the little girl, “That lady is feeding her dog!”

“Remember what we’ve talked about, “said the mom in barely a whisper, “not everybody has the same rules that we do.”

“But you said people food can make dogs very, very sick.”

“Well I guess that lady doesn’t mind if her dog gets sick.”

They quickly finished up their treats and left.

“I don’t think those people will ever let their dog have a play-date at our house,” I said to The Hare.

“Yeah! They might even tell Ms. Leonie on you!” The Hare snorted.

For the record, before you start sending me all kinds of links about how feeding dogs people food shortens their lives, we do not make it a regular habit. Vanilla ice-cream just happens to be our exception.

After ice-cream, we walked over to our doggy daycare and groomers, hugged on Ms. Leonie and snuggled with her two newest puppies for sale. Eventually we made our way home. The laundry still needed attention, the bathrooms were disgusting, and I still didn’t have a blog post for the day.

“Mom, does our day have to be over now?”

We spent the rest of the afternoon snuggling on my bed, listening to the thunder and rain suddenly rolling over the house, and watched HGTV. I even fell asleep for a while. The Hare lay against my shoulder. Luna lay on my lap.

Today, finally felt like summer.

5 thoughts on “How to Spend the Day with a Nine-Year-Old

  1. The unplanned days are my favorite. You’re the scheduler / organizer. Heh.

    The dog thing? Who knew? We trained our dog with mini carrots and pizza crust. Oops.

  2. I have to comment on feeding dogs people food… My Xan (huskie mix) has never been a huge fan of people food, but will come running if he hears a bread bag rattle. I have no idea why, but he has always liked bread. Of course he will eat other things if I give them to him, but it gives him the most ungodly gas!

    My Nellie dog (RIP) LOVED FOOD! She was my Granny’s dog and everything Granny ate, Nellie ate. I am sure this had everything to do with her being fat and probably her early death. Nellie LOVED LOVED LOVED ice cream. If my granny fixed herself a cone, nellie got one too. It was craziness. When Nellie came to live with me, she was cut off from her people food binges, except for a piece of meat every once in a while. She was such a foodie!

    Also, I love reading about your interactions with your girls. It’s so nice to see someone else in the world who doesn’t just shove their kids in front of the tv, but actually spends time with them. The laundry is never as important as the memories you are making. My favorite memories of my mom are layed up in bed, just hanging out and talking!

  3. Some things are more important than housework and errands. Actually, most things are, and spending time with the Hare definitely is!

  4. I love those days. As a matter of fact my daughter and i have a day like that planned tomorrow. She’s a teacher out for the summer and I’m just a lazy housewife so we’re off to get our nails done then lunch and who knows what else.

    Love the sweet, sweet relationship you have with your girls.

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