I am not a creative mom. Brandon and I have friends who do marvelously inventive theme days that involve wearing special clothing, eating particular foods, and doing fun activities together. Every time I read about these days, first I feel guilty, then dismissive, and I finish by rationalizing that I don't have the time or energy to wear backwards clothes while eating a backwards meal finishing with a backwards story.
I do really fun stuff instead. Like abandoning my children in the toy room for hours on end while taking a nap. Because, of course, it fosters their creativity. I'm doing them a service. Really.
Part of Kathleen's history texts is an activity book that has coloring pages, map work, extra literature suggestions, and activities that correspond to the chapter we read for the week. I usually give Kathleen the coloring pages (this week was Darius the Great) because they don't take me any extra time. We do the map work together because it takes five minutes. We look up supplementary information online. But I never do the extra activities. Build a model of the Nile and stage an inundation? Pass. Make your own model of the hanging gardens of Babylon? My schedule is already full with my nap.
I rationalize these omissions with the comfort that she'll see these subjects two more times before she graduates from high school and that will make, in total, about three more times than a lot of American school children cover these subjects. And if she doesn't get into Harvard because we skipped making that Mycenean helmet, it will save me a lot of money in tuition costs.
Last week we studied the post dark-age Greeks. Part of the first-grade treatment of this subject included an introduction to the Olympics. Kathleen was fascinated to learn that we still have them today, and was put out to discover that women weren't allowed to watch or participate in the Greek ones.
While I flipping through the activities I noticed one that outlined having your own Greek Olympics. Kathleen saw me looking at it. "Don't worry Mom," she assured me, "I know that we can't do that. So I won't be sad."
"Well..." I replied, feeling like Bad Mom of the Day, "we could ask your father and see what he thinks. Maybe we could do it on Saturday."
Kathleen's face lit up. "Could we?!?! Oh MOM!!!!!" And then she attempted to strangle me with a hug.
So on Saturday we held the Sherwood Olympics. We started by watching the torch lighting from the London Olympics, and then marched out to the backyard where we held sprints, long jump, steeplechase, and shot put. Inside we continued with wrestling, vaulting (over the couch), and rhythmic gymnastics.
We finished the morning with a Greek feast of tandir bread, hummus, kalimata olives, feta cheese, and tomatoes. Everyone agreed that it had been the best Olympic day ever.
And now, when my children ask my why I'm never any fun, I'll remind them about the Olympic day. That should be good for at least six months.