1.) Visit the library and stock up on new & old favorites in the children's section. Watch my girls make a puppet show. My 3 year-old might find new must-have shoes on a random child and ask to try them on. My 5 year-old might arrange all the big stuffed animals around a circular colored table and set them all up reading Curious George. I might sit and scribble in my notebook for 5 minutes, all while being interrupted by the chirpy 3 year-old's need to go potty, or my need to chase said 3 year-old down before she scales the stairs to the (shhhhhh!) adult section. My 5 year-old and I might track down books I read as a child (can I describe these troves as vintage yet?) And undoubtedly, we will leave with so many books & movies in my big tote that my back is nearly out of alignment by the time we get to the car.
2.) Go on a walk to the nearby school playground, where we swing (sometimes even me), slide (last time my 5 year-old slid through a standing puddle from the rain, and left the playground with a wet rump, completely unamused), run pel-mel across the field while Mama cheerleads, "GO! Good running! Wow, you're fast! Look at you, you're flying!!!!" secretly thinking perhaps this will tire them out and they'll sleep REALLY well tonight... "3" loves to stand behind a little plastic ledge and pretend she works at a coffee shop. I have no idea where she learned about coffee.... ;-) "5" likes to play some version of hop scotch and tether ball and she especially loves when there are other kids to interrogate, er...., get acquainted with. I especially love to photograph all of this random merriment.
3.) Enjoy a 15 minute drive to the beach, all the while listening to music and enjoying the relaxation of sitting, which can only be truly appreciated by parents of Small Children Who Love To Run & Climb. 15 minutes that "5" and "3" are buckled safely & securely into their car seats. When we get there we might jump in the tide with our pantlegs rolled up (or, if you're "3" you might just ditch the britches altogether...), make a sandcake with stick-and-feather candles, "3" might chase seagulls or scatter Goldfish crackers for them to snack on, and once again, Mama might recline against a log and attempt to scribble profound thoughts in a notebook for 5 minutes. "5" might pick the little purple wildflowers and "3" will definitely haul rocks about and sort them into piles. Before or afterwards we might take 30 lovely minutes to get a snack at the nearby coffee shop and "3" will play with toys the establishment keeps on hand for kids just like herself, and "5" will definitely ask for a vanilla steamer. We will laugh and fill our bellies to satisfaction and then go home and wash our sandy feet in the bathtub, because Mama likes playing, but also likes tidiness.
4.) Come home from Kindergarten and after-school errands, change into comfy clothes, make tea (or pink milk for "3"), and pile onto the couch all in a heap to decompress. Mama might read 6 or 8 or 10 children's books, or we might watch "Free Willy" (because "5" adores whales), or "Parent Trap" (the new or the old version will do), or if we are feeling particularly sacrificial, watch an episode of "Dora" (because "3" is attached to the little explorer, and her voice which makes Mama's ears bleed, and her little pal Boots the Monkey [probably because of his stylish red footwear]).
5.) Create Art at our dining table where "3" will use crayons and "5" will need markers or colored pens and a host of paper/coloring books, and definitely tape, because "5" has discovered that she can be a veritable ENGINEER if she just has TAPE. If they get really involved in their creations, Mama will (you guessed it) attempt to scribble in her notebook for 5 minutes.
6.) Have tea parties. Sometimes these involve invitations and RSVPs and fine ladies and small descendants and a tea kettle and boxes of tea and silver spoons and a tribe of mugs and a tall glass canister of sugar and a little pitcher of cream. More often, the parties happen at the round coffee table in the living room, atop our finest tablecloth (a baby blanket), laid with our fanciest play teacups (fancy enough to actually chip and shatter) on our fanciest saucers, with tiny silver spoons placed before each large stuffed friend, who answer to names like Tigger, Pooh, and Jagbar the Orangutan (stand-up fellow, that one!)
These are the memories we are making. These are the days and the moments I will remember. These are the things I do when I "don't have time" and have "things I need to do" and when my floor is dirty and the laundry is formed into small mountains by my washing machine. And I never regret it. And after two little girls are snug in their beds, I sometimes stay up late recording our little moments and epic adventures, and I indulge in the quiet and take more than 5 minutes (!), scribbling their little girl dialogue and thought-provoking questions into my notebook and pasting in the photographs that (attempted to) capture the moment.