Ah, finally I can catch a vacation from vacation….
My family took our annual 9-day trip to Florida last week, an event I’d been looking forward to — CLINGING TO — for months.
Of course, two full days were devoted to travel to and from our destination. That left four days to “relax” on the beach and three days to explore Disney World.
What can I say about the Magic Kingdom? It was hot … steaming hot. At 8 a.m. By 2 p.m. I was ready to head back to the hotel. We got there two hours later after waiting on the ferry to take us to the bus parking lot, then waiting on the bus and then making many stops. I bet the Magic Kingdom is most magical in October.
Epcot was cool, and most lines to rides were inside and air-conditioned. The girls loved our breakfast with the Disney Princesses and we actually learned a lot on many of the rides. One boat ride took us through experimental horticulture greenhouses where produce is grown in sand, air and water. Another taught us about energy resources. The “virtual” hang-gliding ride? It was just plain fun!
Then it was back to the beach for seashell hunting, sunset walks and lots of yummy seafood.
So overall, it wasn’t too taxing of a trip. Despite the heat, airline delays and crowds, we had a great time. Now I just need to rest up for next year.
We all have that nightmare … that we go to pick up our child at daycare or school and we get “the talk” … the talk about something horribly wrong they did …
As many other parents here, I have my 2-year-old son in the OPUBCO Child Development Center. Friday afternoon, I leave work and go pick him up. As I walk in among other parents, I hear the lady at the front desk tell the others ”we had a fire drill today.” How nice. They really take the kids’ safety seriously over there. Fire drills and tornado drills. Makes my day at work more at ease knowing my boy is in such a safe environment.
So I walk back to his classroom to pick him up. The two girls who take care of his class, God love ’em, gave me “the look.” It’s the look that you know something’s coming, but you’re not sure what. All you know is that it won’t be good.
“Hunter pulled the fire alarm today.”
“My son did WHAT??”
“He pulled the fire alarm today. We had to call off the fire trucks and the entire building had to evacuate.”
“My son did WHAT??”
I was shocked, yes, but I must admit a part of me wanted to laugh hysterically. Of course, I tried my best to maintain my composure, however, as pulling fire alarms is NO laughing matter. Even if the accused is only 30 inches tall and … can he really reach the alarm? Apparently so.
“We told him not to touch it anymore. We were all quite startled when the alarm went off. But we looked over and Hunter was walking away from it, with a look of ‘Uh-oh’ on his face.”
After many apologies, I scoop up my little innocent toddler (maybe not so innocent after all) and we leave the classroom. As I’m about to break free … the infant-room teacher sees me in the hall and says, excitedly, “Did you hear that Hunter pulled the fire alarm?!?”
Yes, I did. As I’m sure anyone within a half-mile radius did too.
I have always said that the first child doesn’t change much, but the second child changes everything. And I’ve heard that the third child really throws a hitch in things – a three bedroom house and standard-sized vehicle just don’t cut it after that.
For my husband and I one child didn’t really change anything. We still went hiking, biking, traveled and hung out with our friends, who most had their first child about the same time. We out-fitted ourselves with some cool new gear and just continued our lives as normal.
We’d sit at a restaurant eating leisurely dinners with friends and when it was time for the baby to eat, I’d feed her because you don’t get crusty looks in Colorado for nursing your baby at the dinner table … or anywhere really including sitting at the bar where it is not illegal for a baby to be. A couple of weeks after our first was born we drove to Moab, Utah to hike around Arches National Park with my mom. I attached a cart to the back of my bike for my commute to work and she rode and smiled. We took her to the movie theatre. She slept through church service and post church service breakfast. She slept through the night at six weeks. Of course I understand that I had a very easy baby – she didn’t even cry when she was born, which is exactly what made all this possible. And right now if you are saying to yourself, “that is so unfair,” my kid peed on my rotisserie chicken last Sunday so don’t tell me what is not fair. I’m getting mine now.
I was reading George Lang’s column today about Mates of State, who my husband first heard about in 2003 from a good friend and trusted source of good music information, fell in love with and very soon after decided that we too could be a musical traveling couple.
I can understand why my husband might think that. Mates of State are a married former teacher and cancer researcher who did so well creating music that they were able to quit their day-jobs to pursue it full time. Now I’m all about quitting my day-job to travel the world, I just don’t want to have to sing to do it. But I can definitely see how he could dream that we might be them. They are easy to relate to. Mates of State got married in 2001 and so did my husband and I. They have a 4-year-old and a baby; we have an almost 4-year-old and a baby. They used to live in Lawrence, Kansas and so did my husband. So our lives appear to be on similar paths or at least it is fun to imagine they are anyway … Them with their glamorous rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle and us with our suburban, day job having, make our kids laugh with backporch sing-a-longs lifestyle. You can see the similarity there can’t you?
So I found it interesting that they said that having the first child threw everything out of wack, but the second child smoothed everything out.
I found it completely opposite. Maybe it is different for rock stars. How did it work for you? And please indicate if you are a rock star … just for reference.
- Lindsey Johnson
My daughters have subtle similarities. They like some of the same things, and they both are pretty bright. But their outlook on new situations and new activities are night and day.
While my youngest daughter adapts quickly to new surroundings and wants to do whatever “fun thing” is available, my oldest daughter is more leary, reserved and decides quickly that she is not going to have a good time.
I might as well give up right then … but I don’t. I push her just a little more, hoping and praying that something will happen to make a difference, to switch her sullen mood toward a joyful smile.
And so, it was with hopeful promise that I registered both girls at a summer day camp for a few weeks. Activities! Fun! Games! How could I possibly go wrong?
When my 13-year-old told me, “I said I didn’t want to do that,” I guess that should have been a warning sign. But I laughed it off. Sure, “you’ll have a great time!” I told her. But as school ended and the days drew near, she became even more adament and frustrated with me. She was going to have a bad time. It was going to be awful.
Still, I was hopeful.
And then the night before, she became even more insistent that she didn’t want to go to the camp. She stated matter of factly that she would not go.
I hugged her, told her I understood and that I was so sorry she felt that way … but she was still going.
Day 1, I took her (sullen-faced and all) and her little sister to the camp, signed them in and left quickly, thinking, “It’ll be fine. She’ll make friends. She’ll smile again.”
That afternoon, my husband picked them up and then called me. “One loved it, and one hated it. Guess which one,” he said. That evening I got to hear about how boring it had been and my heart sank a little that I had pushed her into something she didn’t like.
But on Day 2, the clouds of despair parted, hope shined just a little (must’ve been the wind). “How was it today?” I asked. “It wasn’t as bad today,” she said. And by Day 3 she was able to traipse off to camp with nary a tear or outburst. — Linda Lynn
My mom once told me about a time when she picked me up from daycare and my breath smelled like mayonnaise. She made some remark about it and the lady who kept me said, “Oh, Lindsey loves mayonnaise.” My mom apparently cried all the way home. She didn’t know that I liked mayo much less loved it. I think she even stopped working after that.
I always thought this was so hilarious. It’s just mayo, Mom. But then this weekend at a birthday party I was helping my 3-year-old make a hot dog. I asked her if she wanted mustard or ketchup. She said, “Ketchup. I don’t like mustard.”
I didn’t know that she didn’t like mustard. I almost started crying.
What’s your It’s-hard-to-be-a-working-mom story?
- Lindsey Johnson
OK. So here’s my keep-it-all-together trick. My secret sauce. It’s actually a little trick I learned in Lamaze. And I’m glad I got something out of that because once the contractions kicked in, that breathing bologna went right out the window. Hook me up and let her drip. Although I did get a few massages from my husband during the help-her-relax-through-the-most-excrutiating-pain- a-human-being-can-feel-without-going-into-shock-and-dying portions of our classes. And it was also during this portion of our weekly class that I learned my little trick. Our instructor would turn down the lights, we’d close our eyes and she’d give us the description of a serene locale.
“You’re walking on the beach,” she’d say. “You can hear the crashing waves. A gentle breeze is blowing on your face.”
Then all of the sudden I could taste the salt in the air and feel the sun on my shoulders. I could hear that crunching squeak the sand makes when it slides under your feet. The way the sand feels cold between your toes but hot on the soles of your feet. The squawk of seagulls. This was powerful stuff because we were in the community center in Durango, Colorado.
I noticed this afternoon that CNN is doing some special coverage on busy moms. The microsite is well organized and easy to look at. So add that to your arsenal of places to get good advice.
- Lindsey Johnson
I hate those experiences that you look back on and think, “What was I thinking? I’m smarter than that.” However, these are often the ones that give us the most laughs – several days later.
This weekend after playing in the fountains in Bricktown until 9 on Friday night, two birthday parties, an over-night at Nana and Papa’s, a 20-mile ride around Draper Lake in a cart behind their father’s bike, and a walk around the park with our new puppy, I took my tired, hungry and dirty little girls to Wal-Mart on Sunday evening. What was I thinking? I am smarter than that.
It started off well. Everyone was complaint with their seating arrangement in the cart. I strolled through the garden section real fast, just in case there was something there I couldn’t live without. What was I thinking? I am smarter than that. While the children are happy you make a mad dash through the store grabbing everything as quick as you can as if your very life depended on it because they are soon going to realize that they are tired and hungry.
I’m always looking for new things to do with my 2-year-old. One of the best things about our weekend outings is that almost anywhere I take him, he gets in free. So I thought it might be helpful to other parents if I compiled a list of the most popular things to do with kids in the metro area where they can get in at no charge.
Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge: Age 3 and younger FREE. 301 W. Reno. 297-3995. myriadgardens.com.
Science Museum Oklahoma: Age 3 and younger FREE. 2100 NE 52. 602-6664. omniplex.org.
Oklahoma City Zoo: Age 2 and younger FREE. 2101 NE 50. 424-3344. okczoo.com.
Oklahoma City Museum of Art: Age 5 and younger FREE. 415 Couch Dr. 236-3100. okcmoa.com.
Sam Noble Museum of Natural History: Age 5 and younger FREE. 2401 Chautauqua, Norman. 325-4712. snomnh.ou.edu.
Oklahoma River Cruises: Age 5 and younger FREE. Regatta Park, 725 S. Byers. 702-7755. okrivercruises.com.
Oklahoma City National Memorial: Age 5 and younger FREE. 620 N. Harvey. 235-3313. oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org.
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum: Age 5 and younger FREE. 1700 NE 63. 478-2250. nationalcowboymuseum.org.
Frontier City: Age 2 and younger FREE. I-35 between 122 & Hefner Rd. 478-2140. frontiercity.com.
White Water Bay: Age 2 and younger FREE. 3908 W. Reno. 943-0392. whitewaterbay.com.
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art: Age 5 and younger FREE. 555 Elm Ave., Norman. 325-4938. ou.edu/fjjma.
Oklahoma Redhawks games: Age 2 and younger FREE. AT&T Bricktown Ballpark, 2 S. Mickey Mantle Dr. 218-1000. oklahoma.redhawks.milb.com.
Ford Center: Age 2 and younger FREE at most events. For a specific event, call 602-8700.
Oklahoma State Fair: Age 5 and younger FREE. 1-800-511-1552. 2008 Fair dates are Sept. 11 – 21. Tickets go on sale July 12. okstatefair.com.
If you know of any other venues or events that kids can enjoy free of charge, let me know here or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to add it to this list!