Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Survive a Family Vacation with Little Kids

 As you know, I have been preparing for our family vacation.  I have written it about it here, here, and here.  And guess what?  The drive went really well!  Yay!

However, the rest of the vacation wasn’t *exactly* how I imagined it.  During our twelve hour car trip, I reflected a bit on what went wrong differently.  Number one thing I would’ve done differently was to prepare my suburbanite Babes what life in the big city is all about (walking, lots of walking).  I usually do lots of prep work with them (we watched the Disney planning video for months before we went)!  However,  we had to make some last minute changes to this vacation(more on that later!), so I was preoccupied with making the trip actually happen as opposed to explaining the rules for riding in the cab (apparently is frowned upon if children play with the window controls.  Understandably so).

Here is the rest of the information I have processed and felt compelled to share with you so your family vacation is a success!

First, change the word from “vacation” to “adventure.”  Vacation conjures up images of relaxing on a beach with a drink and a bag of chips.  However, on an adventure, you never know what you are going to expect.  Maybe a yummy frozen hot chocolatefrom Serendipity.  Perhaps a whirlwind of a time at the American Girl store.  Possibly a homeless man getting dressed in the middle of the sidewalk. You never know – it’s going to be an adventure!

If “adventure” doesn’t work, try using the phrase “team building exercise.”  We all need to work together if we are going to walk 10 blocks (which my delicate suburban Babes thought was a country mile).  If everyone six and under starts to cry because that tenth block was just too much for their little legs, start using the word “experiment.”  Therefore, if your daughter is crying because she wanted to spend her college fund at the American Girl store while simultaneously complaining about walking a few blocks, you can say that this experiment failed, and it doesn’t sound as bad as your family vacation was, at times, uncomfortable.

When it comes to restaurants, I found it best to eat a place that has a kids’ menu and an extensive cocktail menu as well.  Let’s just say, before you had brunch at a quaint little place called Cafe Luxembourg, you had a wonderful day at Central Park and taking in the musical Freckle Face Strawberry.  Since you (foolishly) assumed all the wiggles were out and had promised pancakes, you were in the clear for a delightful meal.  Oh, no.  Quite the opposite.  Thomas had a full on meltdown complete with hitting and screaming hurtful things like “I HATE YOU!  I HATE PANCAKES!”  I tried talking to him calmly.  I tried taking him outside, but we ran into homeless man screaming FUCK as loud and as many times as he could. 

New York City is a big place, but there was room for only one meltdown, and since we were on this guy’s home turf, we let him have this one.

Back inside with an angry child who was not being allowed to express his true feelings for the horror of having pancakes in the middle of the day, I politely asked the waiter about the Rosemary Fizz cocktail.  Without skipping a beat, he said, “Delicious, I’ll have one for you right away.”  (I felt an instant bond to this waiter and secretly wished to trade places with him so he could watch my kid while I took over his shift).

Since all my strategies had failed, I decided to just drink my Rosemary Fizz and ignore Thomas in hopes that everyone else would do the same.  Success!  (I think.  I had stopped paying attention at this point and was focusing solely on my drink).

Will we go on a family vacation again?  Yes.  Any time soon?  As soon as it takes for me to forget about how mortified I was by their behavior.

You may be thinking, “What?!  That’ wasn’t so bad!”

I must take a break before I talk about how my kids need to learn the finer points of being a well-behaved house guests while staying with family.

Please, I beg of you, tell me about your worst family vacation adventure team building exercise experiment memory!

1 comment:

New York Mama said...

Now I know everything is how we experience things. It was my family home that Mommy on the Spot and her wonderful family were visiting and those darlings were PERFECT!!!!! Marie is such a wise soul and very introspective really thinking about everything that is going on around her & genuinely concerned about doing the "right thing"! She seems much more than her 6 yrs! Thomas is ALL boy! Laughing and loving life to it's fullest!!! Yes, and sometimes growling! LOL!
Both of these kids know how to express what they are feeling and thinking, which is awesome in this world. Even when left alone with me (their Great Aunt), they could tell me what they were feeling & thinking! How. AMAZING. is that!!! Many kudos to their parents for instilling in their children to speak what they think and feel! Thank goodness they don't know how to pretend something else!
I've lived in NYC since 1979. Most New Yorkers get that it isn't an easy city for adults let alone kids. There is lots of overstimulation, lots of thrills, too much noise as if one was plugged into an electric socket. Those darlings and their parents handled it ALL like champs! My family had a FANTASTIC time with all of our guests!! They were AMAZING and we can barely wait for them to return xxxooo<3! I will tell you that the waiter at the restaurant sighed and felt badly (as he touched his own heart) that the little darling was having a hard time. Truly to all of us at the table it was minor, but I know to Mom & probably Dad it was huge! You & your kids were expert New Yorkers!!! COME. BACK. SOON!!! We miss you!!! xo