Bitty Baby Bucket List

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about bucket lists — lists of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. Seems like different people have different thoughts about them, running all the way from “Yay! Somebody give me a checklist!” to “Ugh! How bourgeois.” I think I fall somewhere in the middle. Yeah, it’s a little trendy right now, and it’s pretty unlikely that making a list is really going to help you to live your life to the fullest. But I like the idea of having goals, and even more importantly, I reallyreallyreally like to make lists.

I don’t want to make a regular bucket list, though. Making a list of all the things that I want to do before I die seems pretty intimidating — after all, it would be about fifty gazillion items long and would include complete nonsense like, “Fly like Peter Pan”, “Tame a unicorn”, and “Fit into those jeans from college”. So I’m going to make my list a bit more limited. At least for right now, I’ll keep it to ten (realistic) things that I want to do with Sausage before he grows up and no longer wants to do things with me.

In no particular order:

1.  Go to a petting zoo. I remember how simultaneously exciting and terrifying a petting zoo could be when I was little. I remember being warned that “Geese can be nasty” while having a handful of seeds for them thrust into my little hands. I want Sausage to have the tactile memory of a goat licking between his fingers.

Still a little bit terrifying. You know, in a good way. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

Still a little bit terrifying. You know, in a good way. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

2. Go puddle stomping. There is no joy quite like getting soaked from jumping in puddles during a summer rain. The times when you don’t worry about your clothes, wear ratty old sneakers, and go out there and see who can make the biggest splash. I think that’s one of the greatest joys of childhood. And I honestly wouldn’t say no to a good puddle stompin’ session even now.

3. Go tent camping. Complete with a campfire (Loving Husband can light a fire with one match and no lighter fluid — it’s one of his many skills), one-pot meals seasoned with dirt, and s’mores. I draw the line at peeing behind a tree, though — I’ve done it, it sucks, and I have nothing to prove, dammit. I’ll leave that experience to Sausage and his Daddy.

4. Visit caverns. I did this as a kid, and again as an adult, and it just never stops being cool. I don’t care how touristy it is, it’s still awesome to go down into a hole and see amazing rock formations. And then when they turn out the lights? Yes.

I'll have to get past my tendency to see penises everywhere, though. Yeesh. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

I’ll have to get past my tendency to see penises everywhere, though. Yeesh. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

5. Teach him to dance. I don’t mean ballroom dancing, although if he’s into it I’ll gladly teach Sausage a bit of swing. I mean that I want to teach him to appreciate moving his body, and not to be afraid of it, the way so many sad-sack white dudes are.

6. Go up in a hot air balloon. Okay, this one is also for me. I’ve never been, and I want to go. Having Sausage along would be my excuse.

Q: What do Scotsmen have under their kilts? A: A burning sensation, and a basket. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Q: What do Scotsmen have under their kilts? A: A burning sensation, and a basket. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

7. Eat bugs. I just hope my kid is adventuresome enough to put a chocolate covered cricket in his mouth. I’m not going to encourage him to eat what he finds in the backyard, though. Gourmet insects only.

8. Read all the Harry Potter books aloud. Loving Husband and I did this before Sausage came along, and it was great. We’d do a chapter or two before bed every night. It seems like a pretty terrific thing to do as a family. After that, if it sticks, we can move on to other books. “A Tale Of Two Cities”, maybe?

Hopefully he'll be less bored than these poor kids look. ("Family Portrait of a Boy and his two Sisters admiring a Sketch Book", François Flameng)

Hopefully he’ll be less bored than these poor kids look. (“Family Portrait of a Boy and his two Sisters admiring a Sketch Book”, François Flameng)

9. Bake things. My little brother and I used to sit in front of the oven and watch cookies rise. We were boring children. But still, an awful lot of family memories seem to be tied up in the making and eating of cookies, and pies, and cakes, and … crap, now I’m hungry.

10. Discover his most deeply held wish, and make it happen. Obviously, we can’t afford to fulfill every one of Sausage’s dreams, and we don’t want him to grow up expecting everyone to bend over backwards to make his wishes come to fruition. But if we find that he loves horses more than anything? We can manage horseback riding lessons. He wants to be an astronaut, and he can’t get his head out of the stars? Space camp could be a possibility. He loves movies? A trip to Universal Studios, maybe. I want him to have one shining memory of getting EXACTLY what he wanted — one time when he felt that all his dreams were coming true. Because what is childhood without the conviction that your dreams can come true?

This face deserves all the smiles I can give it.

This face deserves all the smiles I can give it.

What are some of the wonderful things you’ve done or intend to do with your kids? I’d love to hear your ideas! (No, really. Please comment? I’ll love you forever!)

37 responses to “Bitty Baby Bucket List

  1. One thing I wanted to do with at least one of my daughters was to go to Fenway. I have done it three times and all three times have been the greatest. I can’t wait to go this year. She loves it almost as much as I do.
    Puddle jumping is by far the best isn’t it? I also love the first time they bake– so proud so messy and so cute.

    • Oh, I didn’t even think about live sporting events! My mom used to take us to the Vet to see the Phillies play. We were never that much into baseball, but the whole experience of watching a game live is the greatest. Maybe Sausage will be an Orioles fan?

      • start now to instill the love. Get him hat and shirt 🙂 Orioles are a good team now. Camden Yards is on my list of places to visit one day. Suppposed to be a beautiful park. Sorry i am rambling here– in case you cannot tell, I am a huge baseball nut

      • Whether the Orioles are a good team or not, they play less than five miles from my house, so that’s where we’d go 😉 Loving Husband and I aren’t really into any sports, but that doesn’t mean that Sausage shouldn’t have the experience of going to live events. Oh, and also … GO RAVENS!

  2. Harry Potter has been on my list for awhile. I tried reading it to the boy when he was a couple of months old, but he didn’t seem that into it.

  3. The caverns! That’s one of my greatest childhood memories. I would say add drive the blue ridge parkway to the list and add walk the mile high bridge on Grandfather Mtn if you’re feeling adventurous.

    • Ooooh, the Blue Ridge Parkway is a good idea! Loving Husband has some family in South Carolina — it would be taking the long way for a visit, but it would be worth it if we have the time! I don’t know anything about Grandfather Mtn, though. Is that something we could do with a preschooler, or would we need to wait until he’s bigger and has more endurance?

  4. Kicking the bucket sounds like a painful endeavor – and I’ve already stubbed enough toes for a lifetime.

    Not having any children, I like to think of really practical things you can teach Sausage to do…like his own laundry. And how to put his toys away when he’s done with them. And how to make an omelet and open a bottle of wine (with a cork). That last one, btw, is really important.

    Awesome post. Will you guys adopt me? I’ve always wanted to go hot air ballooning.

    • We will not adopt you. But we will let you come hot air ballooning with us. And of course, I’m going to teach Sausage to do his own laundry, and he can hardly live in this house without learning how to properly open all sorts of bottles which contain alcoholic beverages. How do you think I’ll get into a new wine bottle once I’m hammered? I’ll just have my son open it. Problem solved!

  5. And as soon as he’s 16, he can be your designated driver.

    Even though you are unwilling to adopt me (you’re an ageist, if you ask me), I will give you one item to add to your bucket list: I want to live forever! See, it eliminates the need for a bucket list.

  6. You are such a good mom.

    • I try. These things haven’t happened yet, though. We’ll see if I fell into the ‘good mom’ category once we see just how much therapy he needs as an adult.

  7. If you go hot air ballooning, I’m going too. Please? I’ve always wanted to.
    Remember when we went to the balloonfest? That was pretty awesome.

  8. This is a great idea. So is Cristy’s note to have him learn to do his laundry. Add yours to that. Maybe mine too (the dryer is whirring in the background as I type)?

    But seriously, I love the idea of a top 10 list where each of my kids creates their own. Within reason. Like doing their laundry. That should definitely be on each one.

    • I’m pretty sure that my mom made me start doing laundry as soon as I could reach the knobs. That could happen a lot sooner with our fancy modern machines that have the knobs on the front instead of a panel on the top. Really, I could start making him do his laundry now … except that he can’t read, and would DEFINITELY end up shrinking all my delicates. So it may have to wait another couple of years. I think four is a reasonable age for self-sufficiency, right?

  9. 1. Please don’t call Sausage by his name while his fingers are anywhere near that goat’s mouth. The goat may get the wrong idea.
    2. You see penises in caverns (okay, I do, too)…and you named your kid Sausage. Just sayin’…
    3. The Scotsman kilt caption was hilarious. Damn, girl! You make me laugh.

    Enjoy that dirt stew. I’ll be at the Holiday Inn Express.

    • 1. I don’t call Sausage “Sausage” in real life, silly. It might give him a complex. I’ll let him discover all about his nickname once he starts to read.
      2. I also see penises in caverns. And in architecture. And in writing implements. I don’t think I would have named him Sausage if he was a girl.
      3. Thank you. I’m rather proud of that one myself.

  10. Great list, as well as great commentary on what childhood should be about. And Harry Potter is the perfect series to read aloud — not sure I’d go with “Tale of Two Cities” next, though. The puddle stomping really resonates for me, and although I now live in Southern California, where I love the sun and lack of winter, some of my fondest memories are those of stomping puddles when it was just cold enough for a thin film of ice to form over night. We’d run out in the morning, into that perfect golden sunlight that was already giving the ice sheet a thin top layer of water, and gleefully break the ice into thin jeweled wedges to gain access to the water and muck underneath. It turned stomping into a two-or-three step experience, made all the more exciting by its rarity — it was only available in late spring and early fall, and then only for those few moments before the sun obliterated the ice.

    Thank you for the memory!

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