Standing at the bottom of a small hill in 90 degree weather in full sun, I watched as my 3 children rolled down the small hill and climbed the trees on the front lawn of the Capital Building in Montpelier, Vermont. As I watched their clothing collect a combination of grass and mud, I had 2 feelings:

1. I am so glad my children can “play” anywhere and do not NEED toys to be entertained


2. Do my kids really have to play everywhere we go? So annoying.

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Friday July 22 Greg and I drove the kids to Montpelier to visit the State House. When we arrived, the kids were quite taken with the beautiful ornate and grand decor of the capital building. Again, Phoebe was all about following the map and trying to figure out what room we were in, while Abby was imagining her life as a government official reporting to work everyday in this massive work of art. Greg and I were taken with the immediacy of it all. It was so tangible.

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For our first time visiting this small state capital, it was inspiring and quite different from the expansive and untouchable Government in other State capitals, where we sometimes feel inconsequential. Not in Montpelier. I felt eyes of government officials peering out at us through the windows and wouldn’t have been surprised if, at any moment, a representative would have come out to ask me questions about our “feelings” about the legislative choices in the state. I would then have to break the news, that we are unfortunately not Vermonters, but that we were without a doubt completely inspired by the progressive state.

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Seriously though, do they really need to play everywhere? Aren’t home school kids supposed to be more mature? My kids, 80% of the time, remind me of wild animals. When was the mature part going to kick in? Am I doing something wrong?

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Did I mention it was 90 degrees? 90 degrees and Phoebe’s mind has been made up: she is wearing her favorite grey sweatshirt and nothing can dissuade her. Not to mention, she is sporting 5 lbs of hardened plaster. I have learned not to nag her…it’s best she learns these little lessons on her own. Her face in the picture above says it all. I try to stress the benefits of “layering”. I chose to merely present the evidence and “consequences”. They listen and choose either to implement or not to implement the advice.


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We walked all around the city. Both Greg and I could have kept going, but we felt we were pushing what little luck we had left with the girls. Abby and Phoebe were sweating, still covered in dirt, grass and mud and in tears to go “back home”!

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Needless to say, the heat, the excercise of rolling down and running up the hill over and over again, along with the constant walking around town, really helped the girls sleep that night.  As soon as we returned, after showers, the girls plopped down in the wonderful air-conditioned RV and were out within a half hour.

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There is something to be said of kids being able to “play anywhere”…you never really have to worry whether or not they spent an appropriate amount of energy and whether or not they are properly prepped for a night of good sound sleep.

You already know the answer to that question.

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Not to mention, children in general, always seem to be the happiest people. Greg and I have dubbed them our “professional players”. When we were touring the capital building, there was an office Abby was particularly drawn to. The carpet which covered the room was a very loud and busy colorful design, the walls dominated by multiple brass patina colored picture frames taller than me, and in the center of the room, was a large antique desk with drawers and openings for chairs on either side. Abby told me she and Phoebe were going to work in that office when they grew up. “Cecilia” she went on, ” will work in the big office on the first floor next to the large painting of Howard Dean.” I didn’t go near that one.

I think if we were to become residents of the great state of Vermont, we could maybe lobby for a governmental position for Abby and Phoebe on “learning through imagination and play” research center. I think one of their first rules of the American workforce would be to require adults to take a lunch on the front lawn of their work place. After that lunch, everyone will be required to locate and roll down a hill 3 times. Then and only then, would you be allowed to return to work. Maybe at that time, Americans would be open to a new legislative branch of government….

Tomfooleritive…the 4th and perhaps most important legislative branch of government.

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