Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Entertainer

Vacation (n) - Leisure time away from work devoted to rest or pleasure.

Sorry. Can you excuse the tears of laughter rolling down my cheeks at the moment?
OK? OK. Thanks.
We are still in Kansas/Missouri for our annual trip home. I have called it a vacation because I am away from work. So part of the definition fits.
But vacations are not what they used to be since we had kids. Especially after we had twins. Vacations, actually, are more work than, well, work.
The problem with going on vacation is traveling is hard on the kids. It makes them cranky, irritable and tired. It makes us feel the same way, only we as parents don't get to express it except in biting each other's heads off. Kids get to express it by throwing three fits a day, throwing stuff around Grandma's house (which Grandma doesn't like because she's long forgotten what it was like to have little ones running around) and throwing a bonus fit at bedtime. Let's couple that with their general spastic hyperactivity and throw in the Twin factor, and you have what is commonly called a "shitstorm."
So that leaves us with two choices. Locking them in the basement, unfortunately, is not really an option because I will not be able to afford therapy later in my life. So the only real option is to get them out of the house and give them something to do.
So that's been our "vacation." There is no rest or leisure. Little pleasure, either, unless you consider watching your kid paint a cardboard snake under a florescent light a kick in the pants. And I kind of do enjoy watching my kids have fun. They're at a cute age. But after a while, you want to have fun yourself.
I think this is why parents eat a lot on vacation because it's generally the only "me" time they get. When we went to Gates barbecue one night to pick up some sauced-up heaven, in a place where the smoker burns your eyes and the floor sticks to your shoes, I was truly thinking of myself, not the kids. It felt great. It was probably the only time this whole time I've had the luxury of doing that.
I think this might be one of the toughest parts of having small children. When you go on vacation, you don't get a vacation. You get to come up with ways to burn the days for your kids.
In fairness, this is also one of the joys of kids. You get to be a kid yourself again. We go to the zoo, to some really cool parks and the aforementioned craft place where kids do a bunch of artwork for free.
My favorite was a cool dinosaur exhibit with moving, life-sized dinosaur robots. Of course, the kids were too scared. So I didn't really enjoy it as much as I could have. Then again, I doubt I would have gone if I didn't have kids.
My 20th high school reunion is Saturday. That is for me. I hope that's fun. But that, along with my kid, also doesn't necessarily depend on must me.

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