"Yes," he confirmed, half-laughing himself, half-chagrined.
We have become one of those family. We swore we never would. We had held off pretty well for eight years. We met in the Peace Corps. He was the volunteer traveling with the smallest bag. I was impressed. We've valued simplicity and loved down-time, hanging out together, reading, sitting on porches. We had no car. We had a set of twins. Then one car. But we kept to one car and had a third son join the party. Then we began riding bikes. We took turns being the at-home parent, paid work being necessary but not the main focus. We've tried to be thoughtful and intentional in our parenting. And we never wanted over-scheduled kids and held off on joining outside school activities for a time. We've believed in unscheduled time and running around and riding around on bikes and seeing what adventures we came upon.
But here we were in the kitchen, early yesterday morning, gearing up for our first Saturday morning of the new season, when I heard him say, "So you don't wear the cleats now. First you have your cello lesson and then we'll head off to soccer practice." And so it begins....
Despite the idea of one activity per season sounding quite good and something we stuck to in the past, life has changed around these parts. Thanks to visiting an open house at our local music school four years ago, the boys became intensely interested in playing instruments. We held off for a year but then started with the older two. Music lessons suddenly meant one individual lesson, one group lesson per week... x2. OK, four commitments outside of school. And then the young guy began begging to start playing an instrument. And he and one older brother got really into backyard sports and made a plea to try soccer this fall. Do we tell them at ages eight and five that no, you already play an instrument so that's it for right now? I guess we could have but that wasn't sitting right with us. And so we have signed up for local recreation soccer, thankful that it isn't one of these crazy intense ones gearing toddlers for World Cup Play.
And so this is what our Saturday looked like:
- 8:30AM: Sara on Xtracycle Radish with F off to soccer practice across town (even though there's simultaneous practice at the park across the street from our house, but it's farther away from the music school). ~4 miles
- 9:00AM: P on the Yuba with S & C off to the music school. S's individual cello lesson begins. Fifteen minutes later C starts his group lesson ~ 2 miles
- 10:00AM: S leaves park to ride to the music school. Locks Xtracycle near the Yuba. Transfers S's soccer gear from the Yuba to the Xtracycle. Brings F to the end of C's group music lesson. (Next week, F's group lesson will start right after C's; we had a bit of 'reprieve' this week) ~ 2.5 miles
- 10:05AM: P leaves music school with S, now riding the Xtracycle, and heads to the site of his soccer game. ~1.5 miles
- 11:00AM: Sara and F and C ride the Yuba downtown and then head home the next hour. ~ 2.5 miles
- Sara pulls up the high curb going to our driveway and blows out the back tire on the Yuba. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. Damn, the front tire we could deal with at home. The back tire is more complicated....
- 11:30AM: P and S on Xtra, downtown then home. ~ 4 miles
- 1:00 PM: Sara and F back together on the Xtra, off to a birthday party, again on the other side of town. ~ 4 miles
- P loads the twins and the Yuba in the minivan and brings it to the bike shop to have the back tire fixed.
- 3:00 PM: P, now on the Yuba with two functioning tires, rides C & S to a different birthday party, this one at the local natural history museum. ~3 miles
- 3:15 PM: Sara and F leave birthday party and hit downtown local coffee shop for Sara's much-needed iced coffee. Then they are off on to the Farmington Canal Trail, heading north, in order to get to Old Navy so they can buy a blank t-shirt. Sara needs to make F's "5" birthday shirt that night since F's birthday is the next morning. ~ 7 miles
- 5:00 PM: Yuba, P, C, and S arrive home from museum. ~3 miles
- 5:45PM: Xtra, F, and S arrive home from successful bike trail, t-shirt shopping excursion. ~ 5.5 miles