Saturday, September 05, 2009

Why Do I Gotta Be So Honest?

Why can't I just come home from a two day vacation and post some pictures and say "A good time was had by all" ???

I don't know that i can count on one hand the number of kids that had a good time, and I'm not sure anyone had a REALLY good time. I've been trying to analyze the dynamics for several hours and I'm not sure I totally get how things turn out the way that they do.

I think part of it is the awesome responsibility that I feel attempting to accommodate everyone. I want Bart and all of the kids to have a good time so I am consistently juggling trying to make each person happy. The problem with that is that the tougher more demanding kids never get everything they want, and the quieter more easier kids don't say anything but eventually sit and get pouty that they aren't get what they want, even though they never told me what it was. And then I get frustrated with myself because I can't figure out why I can't make everyone happy and why everyone is so crabby. That adds to the tension.

In the meantime, the places we chose to go (at the recommendation of one of the more demanding and pushy children) were places where it was impossible to be happy as a child. I realized this yesterday. An amusement park, with half price admission (but still $20.00 each) lets you ride all the rides you want and see three different shows for free as part of the admission process. However, several things at the park are not free. Go Carts are an exception to the "Unlimited Everything" possibility. Are every game in the world that costs $ to try and win big prizes. Video games, ski ball, and all that stuff costs extra. And then there is the food. The prices are incredible -- $3.50 for a pop or a water and everything goes up from there. And souvenir shops. Unlimited things to buy.

So if you aren't a millionaire, how do you get through the day without hundreds of frustrating arguments about why they can't have more and more and more money to do the things that aren't covered in the admission price? Dominyk was bored within an hour of arrival, refusing to ride rides, and obsessing about needing to eat, play, buy more, more and more. It made for a not fun at all time. I wonder how many kids at Valley Fair yesterday got everything they wanted? I doubt many at all. But throw in special needs to the mix and you have a disaster.

So all day yesterday I kept thinking to myself, "I coulda had this much fun for free!"

By the time we went to the Mall of America to look around and finish a couple school shopping deals today and were eating at the Rain Forest Cafe several of the kids were very tired from endless begging and we as parents were frustrated beyond measure. Three kids refused to eat, others whined about the food, and we just sat wishing vacation was over.

So I have to ask myself if I would have been more relaxed would it have been more fun? Will the kids remember this in the future as a fun time? Will they "take the best and forget the rest" as time goes by?

Because I can guarantee I won't remember the time fondly.

Based on my Facebook responses today I'm thinking there are many mom's who come back from vacations feeling exhausted and unfulfilled, wondering if anyone really had any fun. I hope that is the case. Not because I'm sick like that and want everyone miserable, but because then maybe I could feel more "normal" and thus, better, in a weird sort of way.

This was our last attempt at a full family vacation. By next summer we will have a grandchild in and out of our lives and I think we're going to divide it up and go in small groups with two or three children and one parent. I guarantee you everyone will have more fun.

And later I'll blog a few pictures and if you haven't read this you (which of course you will have if you're reading this, but anyway, the people who haven't read this) will think everyone had a wonderful time. I think I'll call the post, "And a Good Time was Had by All."


Vanessa said...

I did both Disneyland and SeaWorld with my preteen daughter this week, and even though she's an only child and the beneficiary of all the attention and resources at my disposal, she *still* wanted to do and buy and eat more than I was willing to pay for. I think it's just the nature of kids and amusement parks.

Susan said...

When we go to "fun" places we always just give each of the kids some cash (or an allotment that I hold for them) and tell them that they can spend it however they like, but they can't ask for anything. I started it when my oldest kids were small. I will buy lunch and one snack (sometimes more than one depending on how long we are there)but everything else is up to them. I end up spending less money that way and the kids really think about what they want. Peter almost always comes home with money (sometimes all of it) in his pocket and Ella's is usually spent in five minutes. This also helps to limit how much sugar they eat, which is a big deal for Ella's behavior.

Also, I almost always come home from vacation needing a vacation.

debbiem said...

the other moms are right. and yes, down the road they will remember this as a good vacation. some things just are. regardless. family vacations are usually exhausting. but kudos to you both for attempting that with all those kids!!!!!