Tuesday, July 17, 2012

For the Kids

Charles is snuggled up behind me on the couch, watching Wallace & Gromit, the third “dog” movie I have started for him, because the other two weren’t The One.  When you’re three, “The One” refers to the correct movie, and not the love of your life, I guess.  Movies that weren’t The One included All Dogs Go to Heaven and Oliver & Company.


He was up all night coughing and vomiting and begging me for medicine to make him feel better.  There is no medicine that would make him feel better, of course, so I just rubbed his back and got him back to sleep every time.  There’s not a whole lot worse in life that seeing your child ill, but at least I have the benefit of knowing that he’ll feel better soon.  Poor kid.  I’m now killing time until the doctor’s office opens.


And poor me, poor Tony.  We haven’t had much sleep lately, what with teething and colds, and it’s starting to take it’s toll.  We’ve also been busier than usual, I think because we have some sort of subconscious fear that we’ll be bored if we don’t pick a major activity for every weekend.  Last weekend, we went to both A Day Out With Thomas and The Pacific Science Center.  I’m starting to recognize that we’re a bit too busy, so I’ve mostly been scaling back these adventures – it’s only too true that there is more to see and do in the world than we will ever have time for, and activity away from home really needs to be balanced with activity at home. 


The two weekend activities had an interesting contrast that got me all riled up on the drive home Saturday – I was riled up Saturday and then noticed the contrast Sunday.  At A Day Out With Thomas, there are all sorts of activities for kids: meeting Sir Topham Hat, taking pictures with Thomas, bouncy castles, train rides, balloon animals, temporary tattoos… and the train tables, by far the most popular area for the kids. 


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Have you noticed that both Jamie and I have a wonky eye in photos?


Now, I try not to be judgy.  I really do try.  You can, of course, name your kid whatever you like.  If you want a trendy name and don’t care that every other kid in your child’s kindergarten will be similarly named, be my guest.  If you want to feed your child a vegan diet, fine.  Your child, your choice, and I can’t begin to know your reasons.  But it just galls me that parents can’t let their kids be kids at some of these events.  Every time I saw a kid crying as they stood in the 30-minute line to take a photo with Sir Topham Hat because they wanted to play with the trains and they were hot in the 80-degree sunshine and scared of the guy in the suit, I found myself wanting to ask these parents if they were there for themselves or for their kids.  I mean, if you want a photo with Sir Topham Hat, great, but all your child wants to do is play with trains.  Why not let him or her?  Why force your kids to visit every exhibit, even if they have to stand in line and they hate it?  My philosophy is, I’m there for Charles and James.  We do what they want to do.  And what did they want to do?  Play with trains the whole darn time.  So we did.  And they were so, so happy.  Which made me happy.  No fights about standing in line.  No screaming “I don’t want to!” fits.  Just fun.


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At the Pacific Science Center, on the other hand, I saw kids leading the way, and it just seemed so nice.  I understand that with something like the Pacific Science Center, there’s a bit of a directionality and you have to herd kids from one exhibit to the exit when it’s time to go, but other than that, it just seemed so much happier.  No screaming, crying kids.  No angry parents yelling at their children or pleading with them to just wait in line for a few minutes longer.  So nice.  Maybe it was because it was mostly geared toward older children?  Whatever the reason, I felt on edge at Thomas, and not a the Science Center.


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Also, we got to see the “Japanese” branch of the family, and it was terrific.  Charles and Claire, especially, were just too cute. 


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