The thing with children is that they are so unpredictable and you often don't know what will set them off, cause a meltdown or if today will be the day they will be bouncing off the walls. Especially when you are out and about with them,
Yesterday, in honor of Sukkos, we took them to the Central Park Zoo. While we all had a good time, it was also stressful to make sure not to lose anyone. Y and M are both runners and losing them in a large public place is my worst nightmare. We managed not to lose Y till the very end, about three hours in, at which point we decided we had done enough chasing and it was time to go.
Sometimes when we get home from outings like this, my husband and I decide to stay local for a while. We prefer the boredom of going to the same playground week after week to the stress of taking our kids on an adventure. But it doesn't last. Sooner or later we need to get out. And remember, we were the crazies who took our kids halfway across the world for a month this summer.
On some level, it comes down to a cost benefit analysis. What will an outing, airplane ride, trip, etc "cost" you in terms of stress and both physical and emotional energy vs. what are the benefits you will get from going. If you want it badly enough you will do it, even if it means a lot of work. For example, a few years ago, I flew to Europe by myself with Y and A (almost 3 and 1.5 at the time) because I really wanted to see my family. While flying alone was scary, it was totally worth it because I got to spend a week with my parents and siblings.
The truth is that even at home, things can be a little exciting.This year, both Y and A are in school till 3, so really my days should be less hectic with more time to breathe. And usually they are. Until 3 oclock hits that is. Once they come home, it seems like they are trying to fit an entire day's worth of energy, jumping and mischief into the 4 hours before bedtime.
Case in point- today we went to a sukkah party at the kid's old preschool. It was really sweet and they were so excited to see their old teachers and friends again. But both Y and M wandered off numerous times. It's a good thing one of the teachers was standing at the door to the building or my kids would have been meandering down Amsterdam Avenue. When M wasn't trying to escape, he was insisting on playing on the sopping wet playground and riding the sopping wet riding toys. Guess who was sopping wet?
When we left, A claimed she was needed a drink right then and there, so we stopped off at a deli to buy some water. In the 5 minutes I was in the store, I had to prevent Y from grabbing fruit and beer (?) off the shelf. Meanwhile Baby M took his shoes off and proceeded to throw them onto the floor and then tried to wriggle out of the stroller so he could grab the drinks I had just bought.
We finally made it home and I told the kids to play for a few minutes while I make supper. All of a sudden I hear the sound of water being spilled. Y took the water bottle I had paid a ridiculous 1.50 for, and had spilled it all over the floor. The kids were now all pretending to "swim" in it. I promise, I could not make this up if I tried. Thankfully my husband was home, because at this point I had had it. We spent 15 minutes cleaning up the mess and wrestling wet children into pyjamas and then it was finally time for books and then bed. By then I was ready for bed too!
I am sure you all have your stories too of the crazy things your children do and have done- feel free to post some in the comment section. Even though it is infuriating at times and exhausting, it is certainly never dull. Whether homebound or out and about, every day is guaranteed to be a bit different. And that my friends is both the pleasure and insanity of life with kids!