With the Christmas spirit still lingering, I am reminded once again of the simplest of tips for dealing with simple little minds. I mean no disrespect to the keen curiosity and growing intellectual capacity of our little crew of kids now seven, five and three (times three!) but, when it comes right down to it, we would all do well to remember these sage words "Keep it simple stupid!" If you have convinced your kids that "stupid" is a bad word, as I apparently have, well then, "Keep it Simple" will do the trick.
Consider, for instance, Christmas presents. I struggled, as I have for years now, to find the perfect gifts, in the perfect quantities, carefully wrapped and perfectly presented in stockings and under the tree. The reality, as any parent knows, is that it's all over in the blink of an eye -- and the kids don't care how it's wrapped, if it has a ribbon or even what's inside. While our children have outgrown the days when an empty box would suffice (note to others: this just might be the perfect gift for 12-18 month olds!), they seem to be equally pleased with puzzles and pajamas. I suppose my oldest, Liam, does aspire for gifts of greater magnitude (like the 3-DS, for example, which he didn't get but, managed to have a Merry Christmas anyway), but for the most part, they are happy just to have a present. And small presents are just as good as big ones.
Then there's Christmas dinner. I give my Mom and Dad a lot of credit -- not only for having us all over (again!) but for creating a crowd-pleasing meal for all ages. We had a traditional Christmas ham, my Dad's "famous" potatoes, my sister's equally famous mac & cheese and a hearty helping of green beans on the side. I've never seen my kids gobble down so much so fast. Simple, as it turns out, is extremely satisfying!
Last but not least, there was today's adventure into the city to visit my sister, brother-in-law, and their two tiny tots. My husband had to work so I was flying so solo and admit to being slightly intimidated by the notion of dragging our five tykes across town, downtown and through the park to the Central Park Zoo. In the rain. So we came up with Plan B. We would go to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Also in the rain. And farther away. So then there was Plan C. Gymboree had "free play" until 3:00. But it was already 1:30 and would be hardly worth our while once we got there. So, Plan D was a trip to Barnes & Noble on East 86th Street, which has a great children's reading area. You know what ended up happening? Plan E. Staying put and hanging out in my sister's apartment, where we read books, played trains and Legos, and ate more of her famous mac & cheese. The kids were thrilled... and warm and dry too.
The morale of the story? When it comes to tots, simple truly is better.