Put a Bib on It

A Prescription for Quality Family Time

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Last week was rough. Bryce is currently cutting a molar (or three), which has meant restless nights, grouchy attitudes and low-grade fevers. Combine that teething baby with full-time working parents, a 10-year-old brother busy with school and fall sports and two dogs looking for some exercise and what you have is a house of pure chaos.

When Friday finally hit, my husband Geoff and I both fell onto the couch, quickly agreeing that Chinese takeout and a relaxing night in was just what we needed.

But the baby saw things a little differently.

Takeout worked for Bryce, but “relaxing” was not on his to-do list. What was?

  • Moving folded clothes in dressers to the piles on the floor.
  • Pulling hanging clothes off hangers
  • Rearranging kitchen chairs
  • Dumping all tubs of toys onto the floor
  • Reading (or pulling off of the shelf) every book in his not-so-small collection
  • Unloading dirty clothes hamper onto bedroom floor
  • Emptying the diaper basket onto his floor

And when he’d checked everything off of his list, he began screaming on the floor because we told him he couldn’t do what he wanted to do. It was a frightful ending to a frightful week.

When the night finally came to an end and we were snuggled up in bed, Geoff and I spent some time reflecting and thinking about what we needed. Controlled by our schedules and unending demands from work, school and sports, we had neglected the best stress relievers for our family: just spending some time enjoying nature and each other.

So we packed up our whole family the next day, including the two dogs, and spent the day hiking around a local park. We explored dirt, leaves and rocks, climbing structures, and just tried to enjoy each other. It was a perfect day! There were no tears, loads of smiles and plenty of sunshine. I felt like I could see the stress of the week, probably the whole month, just melt away from all of us.

And the perfect ending to that perfect day? Everybody took a three hour nap when we got home. Family and nature was just what the doctor ordered!


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