How NOT To Prepare Young Children For Big Changes

Scene: The family station wagon, 9:15(ish)am, sunny fall day in Poland

Adorable Child One: “Mommy? Can we paint our room when we move to Texas?”

Hot Mommy: “Sure. I mean, well, actually, the worker guys who build our house will paint the whole thing.”

Adorable Child Two: (trembling lip, teary eyes) “Daddy said we could paint it ourselves with brushes and pick out the color and everything.”

HM: (cursing Daddy in her mind) “Well, sure, we can do that. We’ll let the workers do the whole house and then paint your room just before we move furniture in.”

ACT: “And we can do it too? Not just you?”

HM: “Sure. That won’t be a disaster at all.”

ACO: “When we move to Texas, we’ll stay with Nana and Grandpa at first.”

HM: (excited to steer the Texas talk to less messy endeavors) “Yes! We will. We’ll stay there for a couple of weeks and then move into an apartment. While we are in our apartment, we will have a new house built. The new house will be super close to your big boy school where you will go to kindergarten. It’s a lot different than your school now; it’s not a Montessori.”

ACO: “At school, the teachers don’t tell us stuff, they let us do it ourselves.”

HM: (stunned that her boys have so easily grasped the ideals of Montessori) “Yeah, well, public school won’t be like that. There will be more time doing what everyone else does. You’ll have to do all the activities, not just the ones you like. But you’ll meet lots of new friends too.”

ACT: “But I like my Poland friends.”

HM: (startled but not deterred from selling the Texas life) “Well, we still have 77 days with them. Well, not that many actually, because you won’t go to school the last couple of weeks before we leave. You’ll need new friends since we won’t have any way to keep in touch with your Poland friends.”

Silence.

HM: “Anyway, along with your new school, Mommy will have a job! I’ll be teaching again, so I’ll be in school too! Mommy hasn’t had a full-time job since you were born.”

ACO: “And Nana and Grandpa will watch us.”

HM: “Maybe. But you’ll be at school the same days and times as Mommy is at work, so they may just pick you up and bring you to my school. Or you may stay at school until I get you. You’ll be in school 5 days then. It’s the whole week, so it’s more days then now. Plus the days are longer. But that’s not until next August, so I wouldn’t worry about it now.”

Silence.

HM: “Here we are at school! Why are you looking so serious? Well, have a fun day and relax!”

The End.

Mommy, be still while I check your vitals. It appears you’ve got talking-without-stopping-and-thinking-itis.

The Five Stages of Family Vacationing

This article appeared on Aiming Low, which, like visiting Disney, was a dream come true.

My husband, twin four-year-old sons, and I just returned from Disneyland Paris, and I’m happy to report we are still married and still claiming the children.

All families who visit Disneyland are contractually obligated to take a picture like this.

Though this was not our first family vacation, I was still rocked by the stress of it. I foolishly believed we had finally figured out how to enjoy vacation time as a family and would be creating wonderful memories whilst also mocking the other parents who were doing it wrong. Unfortunately, I had forgotten the Five Stages of Family Vacationing that we all must go through, novices and experts alike.

Stage One: Happy, Happy! Joy, Joy!

Your bags are packed! The sun is shining! Your children wake up with a smile! This is when you believe you are about to have a great time and maybe even reduce stress.

This is going to be so fun!

Stage Two: Tired, But Still Optimistic

You arrive at your destination. Maybe there were some hiccups to the travel process, evidenced by the poopy underpants you are carrying in a baggie in your purse, but you know a quick rest will set you on the right track. Possibly a child gets ill. That’s okay though; they will be better with a little dinner and some hotel bed jumping. It’s possible the crabby feelings and maybe some food strikes last into your first full day. But it’s okay! You have time to adjust.

Stage Three: What Have We Done?

You realize you are raising ungrateful, screaming lunatics who are pleased only when Mommy and Daddy are yell-whispering threats. Suddenly the children are scared of animatronic figures and fake rain. All the pizza places are closed though that’s the meal you’ve promised. In short, this has all gone to pot, and you vow to never vacation as a family again.

Exhibit A: Child will eat none of that food in front of him nor will he be seated in this restaurant due to evil Disney characters lurking all around.

Stage Four: Parents, Banded Together in Defeat

We eventually gave up on seeing Paris and just toured the twins’ favorite Disney sites. We started to laugh at the remarkable tantrums erupting all around us. One father literally just had a seat as his daughter flailed on the concrete. At this stage, you forget about what you wanted to do and just make the best of what you are doing. And you use sarcasm to cope. So much sarcasm.

The closest we came to the Eiffel Tower.

Stage Five: Where To Next?

You arrive home safe and sound with a pocket full of new experiences (like having a hotel doctor come to your room at 3am) and happy memories. Your kids hoot and holler as you pull souvenirs out of suitcases. Then your husband sends you a link to Legoland in Florida saying it looks fun.  You promise yourself the next vacation will be the easiest one yet.