St. Patty’s, Idle Parenting

I don’t really remember St. Patrick’s day the past few years.  Not because I over-consumed and had an alcohol-induced memory loss, but because we just didn’t really observe it.  We had friends, and I even had to go into the office on some of the past few, but honestly I never knew it was St. Patty’s until it passed.

This year I knew it was coming up, because the kids were talking about pinching everyone who wasn’t wearing green for 2-3 days prior to the holiday.  I didn’t even know what day it was until I looked it up on wikipedia.  How did people ever know anything without Wikipedia?  March 17th… it’s always on March 17th (well, almost).

That’s kind of funny, because I remember in public school seeing the St. Patrick’s day decorations every year, and schools made a fairly concentrated effort to celebrate the holiday.  Here I am, 40 years old, and just now learning St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th! 

A local sports bar was serving $2.08 corned beef w/mashed potatoes and cabbage.  We couldn’t pass that up, so we celebrated the day there.  The boys even ate their’s (well, almost)!  We joined a Beer Passport program they have, where if you drink 100 draft beers you get a mug and a t-shirt.  There isn’t a time limit, and Teresa wanted some way to keep track of what beers she drinks and likes.  It was only $2, and that money goes to Habitat for Humanity.

Teresa sent me a link this morning that talks about ‘Idle Parenting’.  I really think I can embrace this ideal.  Basically it consists of kicking the kids out of the house and making them figure out things to do on their own, while we sit around and watch movies (the pictures in the article show the parents reading books… what parent has time for books anymore.. besides, we have to get our money’s worth out of our HBO and Showtime subscriptions, right?).

At one point he describes his idea of childcare as:

"… a large field. At one side is a marquee serving local ales. This is where the parents gather. On the other side, somewhere in the distance, the children play. I don’t bother them and they don’t bother me. I give them as much freedom as possible."

Maybe a new business idea?

Our group of homeschoolers does something fairly similar to this, although it’s usually called ‘park day’, or a ‘party’.  Most of our parties are pretty impromptu.  One mom & kids goes over to another’s house to drop something off, or pick it up, and then another calls and says "Where are you?  On my way…"  You get the picture.

The one thing we don’t really already follow about the Idle Parenting article is the video game aspect, though.  Our kids are all pretty well-entrenched in the video-game era, but we do make sure they take breaks.  Plus the most popular when they’re all together is Club Penguin, a Disney site where they walk around with their penguins, put on different clothes, and play some games to earn coins and buy more things.  It’s pretty unstructured. 

We have a no-video-games before 4pm rule, at the moment, and we follow that rigidly (well, almost).  Maybe we’ll make it after dinner for the summer.  That might even make them look forward to dinner, rather than dreading it!  I’ll have to run that by the boss.


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