Wednesday, May 7, 2008


To Do List, May
Potty train two two-year-olds
Plan camping trip
Three birthdays
Make gifts
Dust off bike for Commute Another Way Week
Take online writing class
Mothers Day—make gifts
Start gardens

My first yoga teacher often told us to “underdo”—instead of pushing yourself to the max in a pose, ease only partway into it, and relax there. Underdo. She suggested we underdo in our lives also. I totally agree with this philosophy, but I can’t seem to institute it. Although I think of myself as a generally lazy person, I have a tendency to bite off way more than I can chew.

Now, I realize that my to do list is totally self-inflicted (except maybe the fact that all three of my kids have birthdays within a three-day time span), and that it pales in comparison to what my friends who are in medical school or nurse practitioner school or post-grad school have to accomplish in a given month and that compared to moms who have children with serious disabilities or diseases or major financial problems, I’ve got it pretty easy. Still, when I mapped out the month in my brain I saw the potential for a minor breakdown.

So last night, as we sat down to dinner, I tried to underdo. I asked M, “You know how we’re having a big birthday camping weekend? And then on the night of your actual birthday, we’ll probably go out to dinner and/or have grampy over for cake and ice cream? Is that enough birthday celebrating?”

He started to agree, but then asked about the big party with all his friends.

“Well I was thinking, what if instead of a big party, we invited one or two friends for a playdate? Maybe a trip to the mini golf course?”

Tears appeared at the corners of his eyes (this kid really knows how to weep) and C piped in, “Why don’t we just have a small party at home?”

I tried to point out that once we make a list of all of M’s friends, it would be impossible to keep it small, and that even a small party requires a lot of planning. He suggested we have his mother plan it. I shuddered picturing kids nibbling on week-old, dried-up pound cake, playing “sit silently with your hands folded in your lap or I’ll smack them with a ruler” and taking home rusty scissors or live chickens for party favors.

“C’mon, how many birthday parties does a kid get, anyway?”

“At the rate we’re going, 21,” I responded, but sitting there, facing them across the table, I could see I was outnumbered….the boys versus the Voice of Reason. Within 20 minutes we had a list of invitees more than 20-kids long, had ranged through party themes from camping to nature to The Dangerous Book for Boys to fighter jets back to nature. We decided on hiking to the stream for an activity (and time-killer) and walking sticks and GORP for take-home prizes. C accused me of trying to keep up with my friend B, but I am perfectly capable of having Martha-Stewart aspirations all on my own, thank you very much. Besides, M has been to some pretty lame parties…where all the kids sat down to watch cable TV for an hour or the parents stood around smoking and drinking beer while the kids ran wild for two and a half hours before anyone made any mention of food, cake or any other party-like activities. I don’t want to underdo quite that much.

P.S. New post over at Capital Walks.


  1. your list is overwhelming me. please don't feel like you have to make a gift for ms perpetual motion.

  2. #1 on your list is intimidating enough... i like the idea of 'underdoing' (you should see our dirty laundry piles) and avoiding big kid parties as well, but not sure i can get away with that this year though (i have for five years though-- pretty good, right?!.

    in full selfish interest, however, i hope you are able to keep posting to your blog so i can keep reading! ok, really, no pressure there. truly!


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