I’ve mixed feelings about “fun family outings.”
When we attempt to take our kids out to do something, the experience generally falls into one of three categories:
1. Hilariously funny as we watch kids have their own unjaded takes on things we’ve done a lot.
2. Absolutely horrible as the kids run like maniacs in all directions, complain incessantly, or throw massive tantrums.
3. Both simultaneously at different points in the same outing.
Some example “fun” outings:
Rollerblading: Theoretically fun, but more likely to be fun if the kids are both full (having just eaten) and tired as they will tend to fall asleep in the burley (a small trailer/rolling cart).
Most definitely not fun if the kids have not eaten recently and are tired enough to be unhappy but not tired enough to sleep. On a recent trip, Abby and Rebecca both wailed for roughly the entire 4 mile return leg of the trip.
Watching Boats and Ducks at Reeds Lake: Fun up until the moment we decide to leave. Abby and Rebecca love watching boats. They love watching ducks. They do not want to go home.
Quote from Becca, “See boats NOW!” Also, “DUCK!” Or “BOAT!” Also, “NOTHER BOAT!”
Visiting Meijer Gardens: We’ve got a membership that allows us to visit as often as we want. Abby and Rebecca will happily run throughout the gardens, but are particularly interested in the pools that are roughly in the shape of the Great Lakes including an appropriate elevation. Children are allowed and even encouraged to float boats in the lakes.
Abby and Becca could stay there all day.
One bad point… A 20 minute car ride that is long enough for Abby and Rebecca to get bored but not fall asleep. Thanks to that, they have to entertain themselves by shouting, kicking the back of the driver’s seat, screaming at each other or me, demanding to go to Reed’s Lake and see boats, or advising me that they (or at least Abby) would prefer I take another route.
This sort of thing has the potential to get me to invoke the ultimate punishment:
Stopping the car and listening to the radio.
NPR talk/news shows work wonderfully for this. I’m entertained and they’re bored out of their minds–so bored that they’ll consider the possibility that kicking Daddy’s seat is not fun and that it might be time to stop now.
Otherwise, I’m going to make them listen to more Diane Rehm.