Monday, February 27, 2012

Winter Break

Three guys at Five Guys.
            Last week my boys were home for February school vacation. I was looking forward to a week without homework and school bus schedules almost as much as they were (there is surely a post in my future about how twitchy fourth grade homework makes me). I had to work Sunday and Monday (did you know President’s Day weekend is the biggest shopping weekend of the year other after black Friday?). So the minute I got out of work on Monday I met the boys at Five Guys Burgers and Fries for some high calorie fun.
We're taking the band on the road next vacation!
            Tuesday morning I had the luxury of sleeping in to the delicious hour of 6:45—yes that’s sleeping in around here. The boys entertained themselves beautifully. They did art projects, played Rockband, and just goofed off. Then, shortly after lunch time someone threw a switch on my little angels. They began to bicker and argue about everything. There were insults and accusations. There was huffing, puffing, whining, moaning and groaning. I did my best to separate them for short spells in hopes of cooling off their vitriol. But it only seemed to rev them up.
Let's take out ALL the art supplies!
We only had plans for one outing all week and that wasn’t until Friday. Clearly hanging out at home wasn’t going to work for the whole week. Fortunately, a coworker posted pictures of his kids at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston that afternoon. It hadn’t occurred to me to take the kids to a zoo. Normally during February vacation, we’re buried in snow—or worse.  Last year we spent February break trying to exorcise the stomach plague from our house.
The next morning we took off for the zoo. We saw zebras and bongos and lions. Most importantly, we saw gorillas—Owen’s favorite. The weather was unseasonably warm and sunny. After a few hours in the fresh air the kids were spent. James even fell asleep on the ride home. Our outing soothed some of the tension between the boys.
Thursday wasn’t as exciting—there was a trip to the dentist and an oil change for my car. But we discovered the new Honda dealer in town has a diner and a big screen tv in the waiting area. There are worse ways to kill time than on a big comfy leather sofa watching Despicable Me.
Dan took Friday off and we all headed into Boston to the Museum of Science. One of the great things about being a kid is how exciting mundane things are. The boys were excited to ride the train into town. They were in awe when I told them I rode the same train every day before they were born. “You’re so lucky!” they said.
Mom? What does "gangsta" mean?
We’re in a golden age as a family. I can carry a bag that is only slightly larger than it would be if I were alone. I don’t need to have diapers, wipes, a change of pants for them and a change of shirt for me. They understand that they need to stick close when we’re in the city. At the same time, we haven’t reached the surly teen years. Of course, they do come out with the occasional smart-aleck remark or eye-roll. But we still have a couple of years before full-blown teen angst.
Despite the vacation week crowds, Owen and James were enthralled. They were saying, “Whoa! That’s so cool!” before we even got into the building. The learned about geckos, mathematics, lightning, dinosaurs, evolution, energy, and nanotechnology. They played, explored, and were filled with wonder. Once again, they were exhausted within a few hours. We couldn’t take in half of what the museum had to offer so we bought a membership and promised to return.
Too tired to cook dinner, we ordered fish and chips for supper and watched a movie together. I was thrilled to end a day out with the family feeling tired, but relaxed and happy. There are so many that end with me frazzled and worn out.
The perfect end to an awesome Friday.
So this morning I was ready to get back to work. I did everything I could to get the kids ready to go back to school. Lunches were packed the night before, laundry was sorted and clothes laid out. Alas, when Owen came downstairs he informed me that James was moaning in his bed and wouldn’t get up. When I checked on him he informed me that his brain and his tummy hurt. So my youngest got a little extension to his vacation today. I must admit, I’d rather miss a day of work, than a day of vacation. I’m sure my boss and my bank account wouldn’t agree.