7.15.2006

Ideal Summer Weekend

I love a full yet unstructured yet casually social summer weekend. This is how life with children is supposed to be, in my mind.

Last night we ended up with Eliz, Sophie, and Violet over for a campout (all the girls spontaneously invited rather than imposed). Eliz and I set up our five-person tent and then Iz and her three friends spent the night outside. I so hope Iz enjoyed the experience as some of my fondest childhood memories are of "adult-free" backyard or living room sleepovers.

From my and Seymour's perspectives, it was a blast. Iz's friends are the easiest kids in the world to hang out with. Eliz and Violet were very helpful with Mali, and Iz and Sophie were attentive enough to the big girls' doings to feign occasional interest in the baby. And I could kiss all of the girls for being so kind and accommodating to tent-loving Leelo.

The girls giggled until midnight, and woke up with the sun. When I went out at 11:00 PM to remind them to use their whisper voices, I found Eliz reading The Wolf Girls (gift from Leelo's Supervisor M to Iz) to a rapt trio.

Eliz was very much the ringleader or den mother, in a good way. She was also incredibly helpful to me, asking to help set up the tent, laying out the sleeping bags without being asked, helping gather supplies (water, kettle corn, flashlight) for the night, announcing that she would be explaining the Buddy System to her fellow campers in case of any post-lights-out toileting needs, etc.

Our pre-campout dinner was requested by Sophie and Eliz: Rotini with red sauce and meatballs. While we were at The Hole gathering dinner ingredients, Sophie asked me to get ground buffalo instead of ground beef. She exclaimed, "We're going to eat buffalo balls!" at intervals throughout the day. She is a sly one, so I am not certain if she knows why I kept giggling.

My friend Tallie and her husband and baby walked over during dinner to return our sleeping bags as I'd forgotten to check that all supplies were on hand before inviting the girls to camp. I love having friends who can walk over spontaneously, and who will accept a proffered beer.

In the morning, and after everyone in the house (all eight of us) were finally dressed and partially cleaned, we dragged the lot to the cafe for breakfast. More mellow chaotic fun, especially as the girls' dads joined us. Jazz, kids milling about, excellent conversations. Manny talked a lot about the acts at the fire arts festival he'd been to the previous night. I think my favorite part would have been Dance Dance Immolation.

Then Manny took Iz! Not just for a bit but for the day and a sleepover.

I did my cat and plants duties at Ep's, and then Seymour and I went home and spun our wheels. No goals, just formless puttering and playing with the kids. I declared ourselves unobligated to get anything done, and it was blissful.

Later on we met Manny and the girls for dinner at Seasonelle Sushi. The kids were all well-behaved despite their exhaustion. Eliz and I talked about how tired and grumpy they all were. I said that I was worried about them hitting the wall and exploding all over each other. Eliz said it was possible, that while Iz and Sophie tend to get gradually out of sorts, her black moods come upon her suddenly and she was trying to be more self-aware. She said that she loses it in two situations: when she can't take her sister anymore, and when she doesn't like her food options (a big issue, she admits that she has a limited diet). She is a remarkable child.

We all made our way next door for ice cream and then sat outside on the sidewalk tables, chatting. Mali squawked at the trains, Leelo ran around the planters, people and their dogs strolled by, and the the light made everthing look like a lame but gorgeous bank commercial. The girls ran around a lot, as the downtown Deadwood sidewalks are wider than the streets.

We then made our way over to Ep's to inject her cat for the last time, only to find Ep and Clyde already home. A brief chat with the jet-lagged duo explaining why so many things in the house were wet (I am not talented at watering house plants as I don't own any), and then off to home. Mali fell asleep in the car on the way back, Leelo fell asleep directly after his bath.

Even though Seymour and are exhausted, I am content. We've more aimlessness planned for tomorrow.

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