Summertime With the Kids

I remember my mother telling me about waiting on the playground on the last day of elementary school.  She would hear a few mothers moaning about how they had to “deal” with their kids for the whole summer.  I remember my mother telling me how she did not understand these mothers, as she was excited about what she was going to do with us for the summer.  And it’s true; my mother did a lot with us.  She took us to the library, trips to the city, friends’ houses, swimming lessons and the list goes on.  I never really understood exactly what she meant until today.  I knew she enjoyed her time with us, but I never understood how annoying those other mothers were until now.

I went to pick up pizza at our local pizzeria and there were two women ahead of me waiting for their orders.  It was obvious that these women knew each other.  I overheard the one woman say to the other, “Julie is in camp till the end of July.  Thank God.  I have no idea what I am going to do with her in August.”  That was followed by an exasperated sigh.  The other woman was nodding in agreement and replied, “I know exactly what you mean.”

Family Fun Times
Family Fun Times

The problem is I do not know what they mean.  Without fail everyday Liam and Ava try my patience, they get into fights with each other, and have standoffs with my husband and I; and yet I would not trade it for the world.  I go back to work in a week and half and I am half looking forward to it and half not.  Since my husband is home for the summer (he is a teacher) we have been jam packing our days with family “funness” before I have to go back.   I don’t understand these women’s sentiments especially since I have been accused (and rightfully so) of jam packing our days too much.  I just want to do so much with them and I feel like there is not enough time.

I am not trying to be preachy or anything like that.  I know I am not perfect by any means.  I guess it comes from one fear that I have, which is when I look back in twenty years I don’t want to say I wish I had ….but instead say I’m glad I did.

The Top Five Things I Learned While Traveling With Toddlers

  1. It isn’t about you anymore. The two little people in my world called the shots on this trip. When they were tired we took a break. We rode the rides they wanted to go on (even if it meant the same one five times in a row), and we looked at the stuff they wanted to look at. Both my husband and I went into this trip not only aware of this fact, but happily followed their lead.
  2. Vacation brings on a new meaning. When my husband and I vacationed prior to children we slept in late, got eggs benedict for breakfast, had drinks with dinner, and went to bed late after seeing the sights. With kids it’s the exact opposite. Early wake up calls, waffles for breakfast, sight seeing till naptime or a meltdown whichever comes first, and dinner that evitably involves using your fingers to eat it. It might not be fancy and no passport is needed, but I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun.
  3. Like so many other things in life, it is the small stuff that matters.  I was so eager to experience Sesame Place with the kids and they loved it. But then there is the unexpected excitement as adults we forget.   When we got to the hotel, Liam and Ava ran around excitedly checking it out. On the second day when we needed a break mid-day we drove back to the hotel and went in the pool. They were overjoyed. As adults we unfortunately don’t get too many first time experiences so we tend to forget what it is like, but Liam and Ava quickly reminded me how great it is.
  4. There are lessons to be learned even when you aren’t looking for them. Going to Sesame Place was quite frankly a slam dunk for toddlers. The atmosphere and the whole agenda is geared to them.  I had a woman a couple of months ago scoff at me since it was not an educational vacation. Now having experienced this I would argue with her it was an educational experience. Maybe it was not one that ended in learning to read or multiply, but my children were constantly put to the test in patience as they waited on lines to go on rides, share with children in some of the interactive stations, and try new things. It might not be a book education, but I think we under estimate the importance of an education in manners and courtesy.
  5. It is Family Fun Time.   It was non-stop, all day, all night family togetherness. Now is the time to create the strong foundation of family. If we can establish a close knit feeling now, even when the going gets tough in the teenage years, they will always know that we have each other’s back.
    Liam and Zoe at Sesame Place
    Liam and Zoe at Sesame Place

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    Ava on the Merry Go Round

I am not going to lie; vacationing with toddlers is not easy. There were temper tantrums, accidents, and full out meltdowns (all which happened in public), but if you can roll with the punches and move past those moments you will discover so many wonderful things. I know that for the kids they had a great time, but for me and Will we created some memories I know we will remember fondly for years to come.