I’m the kind of person who really likes to plan things – my days, my work, everything I can. So, of course, I wanted to do the same here with my host kids.
But they have other ideas and another approach to life – more like John Lennon’s view of things when he remarked:
“Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.”
As a natural born planner, I wake up thinking, “What can we do today?” And pretty quickly I have an answer: “I’ll pick up the kids from school and we can walk home and have a nice lunch. After that, we can go to the playground and be back at 4 o’clock so we’ll have enough time for homework and some fun games before it’s time for dinner.”
Let me tell how it really is: When I pick up the kids at school before we can start on our way back home, at least one kid needs to go the toilet. That’s okay, I can handle this. With this taken care of, we head out of the school and start towards home. That’s when the other kid remembers, “Oh, I really need to go the toilet, too!” Okay, let’s go back in the school. With all this managed, we finally get started for home really. When I walk this way alone I need 10 minutes, when I go this way with the kids we need at least 30 minutes. Why? Did you ever see the nice flowers on the grass there? Oh, look at this cute dog, can I pet him? Ellen, can I have my bag? I want to show you something.
Ok after several big adventures on the way home, we manage all this, too. I start to prepare lunch while the kids can take off their coats and play a little bit. 10 minutes later I say, “Come on kids, your lunch is ready.” One of them is still wearing his coat, the other has it half on, half off. Well, why not? There is a lot to talk about. I remind them to get their coats all the way off and participate in the conversation while this is going on. Again 10 minutes later: “Come on guys, your lunch is ready”. Oh great, Conor is coming and eats his lunch. But where is Leona? She needs to do some things. So okay, I have lunch with Conor. In between I call to Leona, “Leona come on, eat your lunch, we want to go to the playground afterwards.” After Conor and I have finished our lunch (Leona is still not ready), he asks me if we can play the game Memory. Sure, we can. Maybe Leona will be finished by then. Sure not! While we’re playing Memory Leona comes and wants to look at what we’re doing. I ask her: “Are you ready now to have your lunch?” No, first she needs to go to the toilet. Okay. After 30-60 minutes Leona is finally ready and has her lunch.
Now it is 3.30. I wanted to be back from the playground at 4 o’clock. Obviously, that won’t work. But so what, the important thing is, that the kids can play outside a little bit. So I say: “Let’s get ready for the playground.” Having read this, you know it won’t be that easy. And for sure, it isn’t. 😀 But after about 30 minutes we are all ready and on our way to the playground. To get them back home is the next challenge. I need to call them more than 20 times I think before they really come. Now I often have a little plan in my head with which I can entice them. “Let’s go home, you can watch a little bit of tv before dinner, or you can have a little piece of the chocolate, or we can play Memory, or (when my patience is stretched) if you don’t come now, there is no tv for you today. 😀
So we’re back home at about 6 o’clock, nearly dinner time. There is not much time to do anything, so we only play one game or watch a few minutes of tv before we have our dinner and the kids need to go to bed. Usually the parents take care of this step and I go in my room and think: “Okay, maybe tomorrow” 😀
Don’t misundertand this. I really like the way that kids see the world. And I think it is a good thing that I’m learning to handle these things more like a kid and that I recognise that I can’t plan everything. But sometimes it still is hard for me 😀
What are your experiences managing the little ones? And how do you handle it?
Talk to you soon,