Thursday, August 19, 2010

The True Confessions of a Chronic List Maker (Alternatively Titled: The Plan That Actually Worked!)

Oh how I love to make plans. (That opening statement didn't seem nearly as dorky when it was still in my head...) Anyway, it's true that I love nothing more than to compose a list of tasks and ceremoniously scratch off each accomplishment as the day goes on. Sometimes I make little boxes and checkmark the tasks as they are completed. Always, always I throw in some really easy starters just so I have something to cross off my list right away. These are the confessions of a chronic list maker. Anyone else wanna own up to this? It would be nice to know that I'm not alone here...

In my family we make plans by discussing, at length, the various options, scenarios, pitfalls, and benefits of any possible situation. Don't ask me why, but you always start your sentence with a breathy "Well, we could..." Oh, and there's a slight hint of southern accent to this, as well. (Note: we are not southern.) So I think I was born to plan things. It's in my blood.

But the funny thing is that my plans rarely work. Sure I can plan the heck out of a day and it will look like I have some serious accomplishing to do and then one little thing will throw the whole day out the window and suddenly it's 9pm and the breakfast dishes are still in the sink, nobody has clean underwear, and I'm sitting there staring at my list thinking It's a good thing I added "get the mail" to the list so I could check at least one box today.

The failure of my plans is particularly evident when it comes to the kids. I am constantly scheming up ways to get them to nap simultaneously if I want to get something done in the afternoon or to go to bed early if there's something going on that night. Sometimes my plans are so simple, like I'd just like everybody to be dressed and out of the house by 10am. Or I just want to get through breakfast without anyone crying. Or maybe, just maybe, we could somehow orchestrate synchronized napping in the car (It happened ONCE! One glorious time that will live on in my heart. My one perfect car trip. It was amazing.)

So when Lauren and Audrey were here with us, naturally there were plenty of plans to be made (due to our genetic predisposition to overplan, of course) and a lot of room for error due to the fact that we were dealing with three kids under the age of 4. We planned to drive from Portland to Eugene during naptime. We had timed it all so perfectly! The kids would just sleep all the way! And... no surprise here, the plan failed miserably and we ended up with tired and screaming kids and a really, really, (and I mean really) long drive home.

But then! Later on during the visit, Lauren and I planned out THE PLAN of all plans. This plan would not fail! And guess what? It actually worked. The plan was beautiful in its simplicity: we took the kids out for ice cream and then to the park. When it was obvious that all was going according to THE PLAN, we threw in a scenic trip up to the rhododendron garden. Sugar + park + hike = all kids in bed early AND an actual adult dinner. Where nobody threw food on the floor or cried. Where food was eaten before it got cold. Where adult beverages were served. Where conversation occurred that did not include the question Why? five hundred million gazillion times.

For your viewing pleasure, I present to you THE PLAN:

Well, I'm off to plan for tomorrow. First thing on my list? Update the blog. See, I can check that one off already.

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