Seven Quick Takes Friday

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Slacker Mom Edition

Since I’ve gone from one kid to four, I’ve slacked in a multitude of ways. Obviously, the number of small people for whose welfare I’m responsible for has something to do with it. There’s also the fact that we’ve got a mix of genders and ages, ratcheting up the variety of interests and activities. Not to mention I’m old and tired.

The fact is, you cannot parent two children the same way. They may have the same parents, genes, and home, but their birth order is different. In some ways, being the mom of one or two is a different animal than parenting three or more. (It’s also easier in my opinion.) The kids have built-in playmates and companions and demand less individual attention. The best analogy my weary brain can come up with is mom’s role shifting from instructor to conductor.

(Just to be clear, these are the MOTHERING areas in which I’ve slacked. I’ve slacked in many other ways as well, but I prefer to maintain an aura of mystique around at least some of my shortcomings.)


Time Spent Reading Aloud

I spent gobs of time reading to my first-born. Board books, picture books, fairy tales, novels, and even Disney-spewed claptrap. If I hadn’t done so much reading, I wouldn’t have struggled with paring down a list to 10 favorites. After forty-plus minutes of after-lunch reading my eyes crossed and my head bobbed. These days I struggle to fit in more than bedtime stories with my little ones. The good news is I have two more voracious readers in the family, and they can read to their siblings as well.

children's books

A sampling of our kids’ books.



I actively sought out sensory activities for my oldest. I couldn’t WAIT until he was old enough for Play-Doh. Just the scent of it filled me with nostalgia. I even tried making dough from scratch. My husband balked at the crusty colors embedded in the carpet, but it was worth it. And then, after an over-eager Play-Doh eater, I set it aside. Only recently I picked up a couple of fresh cans for the kids.Oh, the novelty! Snakes, pinch pots, and crumbs on the carpet abound.


Nature Walks/Scavenger Hunts

When my son was a toddler, we took frequent neighborhood walks. We’d sing and chatter as we walked. Sometimes I created a scavenger hunt on poster board so that we could catalog our finds: mailboxes, flags, bicycles, wild life. Then I had to manage multiple wiry, unpredictable little people at intersections, and we slacked off. Now that we’re back to only one wildly out-of-control child (for the most part), I need to get them out for a daily constitutional. (My scavenger hunts were not as sophisticated as the ideas now available on Pinterest.)


Finger Painting

Covered in a fashionable smock, my youngest regularly stood at an easel creating finger paint masterpieces. The mess and cleanup were well worth the fun and learning. I’m not sure my two youngest even know what finger paint is. I’m blaming this, which happened in the time it took me to run to the bathroom:

Finger Painting Gone Bad

I left the red-eye in on purpose.


Kids’ Music and Singing

The soundtrack to the first couple years of my son’s life was me singing. I sang everything – hymns, patriotic songs, nursery rhymes, lullabies, kid songs, Beatles songs, and even nonsense words. His bedtime repertoire after a story and prayers included a string of at least nine songs including multiple verses of “Clementine” and “You Are My Sunshine” as well as several repetitions of the closing song from “The Lawrence Welk Show. I rarely sing to my youngest, except for the occasional “Señor Don Gato” or “The Owl and the Pussycat” at bedtime. It might have something to do with the way my youngest throws his hand over my mouth when I try to sing.

Kids’ music played regularly in our car for years. Now I subject them to whatever catches my fancy on Sirius XM. Sorry kids. At least you’ll be well-versed in music from the ’80s.

Laurie Berkner remains a favorite of ours, and I’m trying to introduce her music to the younger children.



I’m not particularly crafty, but I often helped my youngest create simple projects. We kept empty toilet paper tubes, cotton balls, and Popsicle sticks on hand. Now I long for a piece of property where I can pick up a load of scrap, hand them some tools, and say, “Go build a shack.”


Time at the  Park

I’ve endured park moms discussing their plastic surgery and how having more money was better than having more kids, but in spite of that, the park is generally a great place to play. Instead of listing excuses, I’m just going to say I need to take my kids to the park more often.


For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum.

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10 thoughts on “Seven Quick Takes Friday

  1. Hi Carolyn, Just found this and it reminded me of when I went from one child to five. The fifth one really missed out because I had to go to work and school when he started school and he doesn’t remember much before that. Thanks for the memories. We also did paper machete on the living room floor.

  2. I was going to mention papier-mache under crafts and forgot! We created pirate and Death Star pinatas for our oldest. They were fun projects. Haven’t attempted it with the little ones yet.

  3. This was good perspective! The youngest doesn’t have those elaborate bedtime routines…or even as many baths, ha!

  4. You’re not a slacker and your kids are better for doing things with their siblings! As to kids’ music that parents can tolerate, look into “Ernie and Neal.” Good stuff. Lots of genres and they’re excellent musicians.

  5. Pingback: The Importance of Wasting Time | Carolyn Astfalk

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