Spontaneous Fun Needs to be Well Planned

I think it is maybe my male biological influences, maybe my careful and anxious nature, or perhaps a combination of both. I just have to make sure our spontaneous family adventures are well planned.

My wife and I are not eager to screw up our sleep schedules. Once a year, in order to celebrate the required purchase of a new calendar, people stay up to “ring in the new year.” We have five children. In case you do not have experience with five children, it is exhausting. At least once a week, our one-year-old decides to cry in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, and he is not able to go back to sleep until he has been assured that we will have trouble going back to sleep ourselves. Our five-year-old loves to crash mom and dad’s slumber party whenever she can think of an excuse, so the thought of another night deprived of sleep is really not all that exciting.

Those of you without kids are going to think this is terrible, but when our oldest kids were younger, we used to lie to them and tell them at 7pm that it was time to count down to midnight. Yay! Happy New Year! Time for bed. Those of you who have or had young kids either have done this yourself, or are right now wishing you had thought of it too. The kids had a blast, and we all got a good night’s sleep.

Well, the mean age of the kids is rapidly rising, despite us adding a new one a year-and-a-half ago to try and keep the numbers down. So we have to find other ways to celebrate the beginning of the new year that are fun for the kids, but do not compromise our already encumbered sleep schedule. This year we have decided to drive up to the snow. We live in the desert, and there is not often snow here. It rained much of the day today which is a welcome change where we sorely need the water, but not exactly the chance to walk in a winter wonderland.

So the snow is not too far away, and it is a great opportunity to have a spontaneous adventure. We have a one-year-old, and my wife can leave the house without worrying about pesky things like what will happen if he needs a diaper change in the five hours she intends to be out. She is fun, and can change plans at the drop of a hat (or diaper, as the case may be.)

I am just not built that way. I have to know exactly where we are driving. I have to know that we have sufficient diapers, changes of clothes, blankets, and portable shelters, flints, and water purifiers in case the apocalypse lands while we are frolicking in the snow. I have carefully worked out a sled sharing schedule that accounts for differences of maturity, and ensures maximum fun has been scheduled for everyone. You see, if spontaneity is not carefully planned, it might end up not being fun. My wife points out that I need to let go and just learn to have fun. She got the wrong kind of soup at the store today when I sent her with a list of requisitions, but I am dealing with that. See? I am letting go.


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