Thursday, June 7, 2012

5 Places NOT to Take Your Toddler: Summer Edition


Hey remember in the spring when I made a list of places that I try to avoid going with my toddler? Well, now it’s summertime…

Ah, summertime, I love you. I love that I can open my back door and kick my kids out in the yard after dinner. I love outside Friday evening playdate happy hours with my mom friends. I love lightning bugs and the sound of the peepers singing me to sleep in the woods behind my house.

But you know what I flippin’ HATE?! Taking my small children to certain summertime places. People do these things all the time with children and have a wonderful time...but they are, in my opinion, infinitely harder with toddlers.

The Beach
Let me very clear about this: I will be going to the beach many, many times this summer. We live near a fantastic state park with a swimming lake and it’s very cheap fun for us. But do I *want* to take my two year-old there? He will accidentally eat sand and cry. Also, he doesn’t know how to swim so I will have a heart attack each time he falls in the water. He has very red hair and fair skin and actually physically recoils in the direct sunlight (we think he might be part vampire) so going to a place with no shade is, um, challenging. And don’t even get me started on the toddlers with leaky swim diapers I see squatting in the water. SO GROSS.

[Editor's note: Lydia here. Can we briefly discuss how my youngest will ALWAYS, always get sand in her eyes and then shriek like a banshee when I tell her she can't rub her eyes because she will scratch her corneas completely off and she's all "Woman. What the hell is wrong with you? I'm 3. I have no idea what you're talking about." And then I swear never to go to the beach with a toddler ever again.]

Yard Sale
Oooooh, I love me a good yard sale! You can find the best stuff. The good weather brings out the best garage sales and I have absolutely no problem giving my kids used toys and previously worn clothes. It’s good for Mother Earth, y’all. But sometimes when I pass a really good one on a Saturday morning and I have my toddler in the car I hesitate…because what will probably happen is this: while I’m inspecting the possibly designer purse for 50 cents my curious son accidentally bumps into a table of hummels, sending a few tumbling onto the pavement, breaking them into a bazillion pieces. And now I’m forced to haggle for something that I don’t want but have already, in effect, purchased.

[Lydia here again. I also love yard sales. I just got my kid a bike for $5. Suck on THAT, Walmart. But there's always the very real possibility of me ending up with a box full of colorful, plastic crap that I paid a dollar for that I have absolutely no room and no need for. Oh Goody! Toys from Happy Meals from the late 1980's! One-legged GI Joes and bald Barbies! Yet a small part of me thinks it will be a loooong summer and this box may one day save me from tapping a t-box at 2pm when the kiddos decide to be monstery and I'm at my wit's end. So I always buy it.]

Theme Parks
Again, some people love these places but I'm not a huge fan. Waiting in line with a toddler? Never. Fun. See, if toddlers had a job description it would be: move stuff, explore stuff, climb stuff, and yell stuff...so standing quietly in line in an orderly fashion is not gonna happen. And yet I find myself spending a car payment on admission to then spend 80% of my day waiting in lines, 10% riding the fun rides, and the remaining 10% wiping hands, faces, and butts. Oh, did I mention our two family summer trips this year are to Story Land in NH and Sesame Place in PA?! GAAAAH! The preschooler in our family is going to have a blast but the toddler is going to need a sedative. Oh no wait...that's me.

Hiking and Camping
Before we had kids Mr. Louise and I were what you might call outdoorsy. We would throw our beat-up 2-person tent in the trunk of our car, drive up to NH, scurry up and down a mountain and then find somewhere to pitch our tent for the night. We didn't make plans or reservations or even pack a dinner. We were young and in love! We loved nature and sleeping in dirt! Yippeee!

Fast forward five years...and have I once been camping with my children? No. Because I just don't see it going well. How do you make a toddler stay in a tent and go to sleep?? As it is at home, the kid often falls asleep on the floor of his room trying to figure out how to scale the gate out of his room like Spiderman. He would definitely just unzip a tent and be all, "Later, guys! I'm gonna go play with some coyotes now!'

Hiking presents a whole other cluster of issues. You can try to put your toddler is one of those hiking backpack thingies but they often find those a tad constraining. So then they're all, I want to walk. No, carry me! No, I want to walk! No, carry me!

[Lydia again. Oh my Maude. I went hiking with Mini and I have renamed the trail BrokeBack Mountain because she made me carry her all the way up and that's what she did to my spinal column. I almost had a mycardial infarction.]

Water Play Areas
I hate these things. All I want to do is stop at the playground for a half hour before dinner and thanks to the sprinkler thingy it turns into a giant ordeal that requires swimsuits, water shoes, towels, a change of clothes, etc. I'm happy to do water play at my house, in my yard, with extra clothes and stuff nearby. But at the playground I just want some good old fashioned dirt play...brush 'em off and they're good to go!

[Lydia again. Yeah, they have those here in parks and outdoor fancy shopping areas and stuff. No. No no no no. Maybe your kid has fun but there's always something weird going on like some teenagers thinking its cute to walk around in wet t-shirts or some baby in a saggy diaper screaming his head off or some creepy lurker staring at all the kids and making me want to call John Walsh. And my kids always want to do it barefoot and I'm like "NOOOOOOOOO! It's nasty so put your damn flip flops on before you get cholera or something, for the love of Maude, KEEP YOUR SHOES ON." And some kid is always just sitting on top of a spray and you know he's getting an enema and his glassy-eyed expression implies he's kind of enjoying it and you're like - "Kid, move. Please kid, move. Kid - move before your bowels explode right here."


And then, you do the unthinkable -- you try to leave. Cue the screaming and meltdowns]


(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2012

59 comments:

  1. We went camping this summer, with our (then) 22 month old daughter.

    Fortunately for us, she has a compliant personality and we do not have too many problems with her. Unfortunately, it took her all of about 10 seconds to figure out how to work the zips.

    We spent the first two days teaching her to STAY OUT of the kitchen area (since that contained all the hazardous stuff, like gas bottles, cookers, cleaning chemicals, porta-toilet chemicals etc etc). Eventually she got the message. I also got the super cute sight of her in the portacot giving her lovey a good talking to. Just the way we give her a good talking to.

    The main problem we had was that the days were hot (like over 40 degrees celcius), but the nights were freezing (we woke up one morning to snow on the hills). So we would put Sweet Pea to bed in just her nappy, and listen to her grizzle about being too hot, then have to wake her up and dress her in what seemed like all the clothes we had packed for her, and blankets, and a sleeping bag etc.
    And then listen to her grizzle all night because she was too cold.

    One adult in a single stretcher and sleeping bag? Uncomfortable but do-able. Add in a squirmy toddler? Impossible, but has to be done - somehow...

    Would I recommend camping with a toddler? Absolutely. Just be prepared. Take as many toys as you can pack in. Make sure that you tag team parent, and one of you has eyes on the child at all times.

    And pack winter warm clothes. You will need them.

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  2. I think this list needs to be included in pregnancy books, forewarned is forearmed. Save those poor new mums the trauma of finding this out the hard way.

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  3. I am crying with laughter. Actual tears in my eyes and on my face, because oh.my.Jesus. this is so true. All of it. In fact, I pretty much feel like we could add just about every place on the planet to where you don't want to take a toddler during the summer...or ever. Or at least I could. Love this post.

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  4. My daughter will be 1 in July. I can't even take her to the grocery store!!

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  5. Taking our 7 year old DD and almost 4 year old DS to Storyland next week. Fortunately I've been working out at the gym for the last 6 weeks.

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  6. Ren wants to go to the mountains this summer. I, on the other hand, am pretty sure at least one of the kids would end up catapulted off a cliff (most likely by a sibling but possibly as a freak accident). I couldn't handle the stress.

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  7. I did a double whammy.. I took my 13 month old CAMPING and an AMUSEMENT PARK on the same trip. I had a 3 year old with me as well. My three year old did great, but the 13 month old lost her shoes. How does a 13 month old lose her tied shoes?

    Sure I packed diapers and clothes and such but shoes? The little one was barefoot or socks only in the stroller rest of the trip. If she went on a ride, she rode in my lap (merry go round and such). The park was far far far away from anyplace like a Walmart so it was was it was. She had socks! I'm sure her shoes are still lost in Knoebel's- even 14 years later!

    We still talk about going back to Knoebel's -great place in PA by the way- and the joke is to my almost 15 year old daughter is to bring another pair of shoes!

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  8. All I have to say is "WORD!" I took my 2 yr old son on a city wide garage sale spree a couple weekends ago and I spent most of my time stalking sales from the car window. If we got out of the car it would take a good 5 minutes to unload him from the carseat, chase him across the backseat of the car because it's funny to make mommy climb through the back to "catch me", keep more of an eye on him than the goods so he didn't bump the wobbly table of breakables (P.S. people, don't put your fine crystal and collectibles on a card table... just sayin') or sprint down the driveway to keep him from running into the street.

    At one particular house they had a box full of brand new dinosaur sippy cups. Lord knows we don't need another dang sippy cup (especially one with a crazy head cap that's difficult to put on and is small enough to easily slip into the garbage disposal and become completely worthless after 1 use) but he just HAD TO HAVE IT. I took a stand and said "No. We don't need another cup" and he sure did grab it and run his little cheeks off to the car. First, I was mortified that he would tear off like that toward the road. Then I felt like a failure as a mother because my son is only 2 and already a shoplifting criminal. To make matters worse, after I scolded him and put the sippy cup back in the box, the elderly homeowner came to us with a dino sippy cup in his hand and said "Please... we would like for him to have it." So now I am not only forced to take the forbidden sippy cup home, but I feel like mega douche because I look like the mean mom who wouldn't spend .25 on a sippy cup that her son absolutely loved. PLUS, my lesson of "not stealing" was completely thrown out the window and altered to "if you try to steal it and get caught you will ultimately get it anyway out of sympathy and because mommy can't say no to a senior citizen". No more garage sales with a toddler in tow. LESSON LEARNED.

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    1. Hilarious! Sorry... It just sounds like me and my 2 1/2 year old son!

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  9. Outside: from the bug bites, to the sunburns, to the poison ivy, outside is no mother's friend in the summer. Even after your recoil from the 100-degree heat and haul all of your sweaty asses inside, you still have to apply bite cream, aloe and calamine. Better to just let them spend the summer hunkered down in the basement watching reruns of Lassie while spilling Kool-Aid all over the couch.

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  10. It is not just toddlers. I took my 7 year old son to SeaWorld last week. Half the day was spent whining that it was too hot, his feet hurt, why wouldn't I carry him. Did I mention that he is 7 YEARS old carry him around really!

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  11. The first time we went on a family camping trip my older kids were 3 and 6. They had a great time. There were a million chipmunks, ( Please don't touch the "chickmunks"they are mice with better tailors!), three deer (walked right through our camp) and one bear. The bear encounter happened as we were returning from a daytrip. We climbed out of the car exhausted(me) and cranky(also me) to see a young bear in our camp sniffing around our tent. (Everyone, back in the car, back in the caaaar!) And the ranger who nicely informed us there was a bear sighting in the area. Yup, we sighted 'em! Crazier still, we've gone camping every year since. Even the year I had my youngest in June and the trip was in August. Why yes, crazy does run in my family, thanks.

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    1. GAH! We are taking our three year old daughter camping and hiking next weekend for the first time. I was scared of bears before, but she has no fear and would probably try to pet it. I am frightened. Crazy runs in my family as well -are we related????

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  12. The first time we went on a family camping trip my older kids were 3 and 6. They had a great time. There were a million chipmunks, ( Please don't touch the "chickmunks"they are mice with better tailors!), three deer (walked right through our camp) and one bear. The bear encounter happened as we were returning from a daytrip. We climbed out of the car exhausted(me) and cranky(also me) to see a young bear in our camp sniffing around our tent. (Everyone, back in the car, back in the caaaar!) And the ranger who nicely informed us there was a bear sighting in the area. Yup, we sighted 'em! Crazier still, we've gone camping every year since. Even the year I had my youngest in June and the trip was in August. Why yes, crazy does run in my family, thanks.

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  13. That cracked me up about the water-jet play areas because it's so true! We're heading to the zoo in a couple of weeks with our 2-year-old and I'm 8 months pregnant. I live in the deep South and it'll be 90 degrees with 100% humidity by 10 a.m. Fun times.

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    1. Good luck! We love the zoo, but a 2 yo & 8 mths pregnant. Phew! We live near Houston & went when I was 8 months pregnant with my son (first baby, free tickets from hubby's job). Not fun! It was around 100 degrees that day. Even the lions were hiding from the heat. We take my son every year, but make it a spring trip. Its just too dang hot!

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  14. I am the camping QUEEN and thus far all I have had nerve to attempt was a cabin in a private camp ground with my (then)18 month and 3 1/2 YO. Nightmarish is the only word to describe that debacle. I asked my now 4 YO if he wanted to sleep in a tent with Mommy in the yard and he looked at me as if it was time to adjust my medication.

    I am trying to be all cool about it, but I am so scared that my kids won't want to camp EVER and it will ruin all of my dreams of taking my boys out into the wilderness to learn to be Earthy and well rounded and good men...sigh...taking it s l o w.....

    Oh, and they are GREAT hikers but now that the poison ivy is in full swing, we are avoiding the trails around here...

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  15. We are going to Story Land next weekend and a camping trip next month. . . now I am starting to worry we have made the wrong choice for summer trips!! I guess I'll just pack a t box and hope for the best : )

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    1. Just make sure you bring your wallet..its kind of expensive, and I believe if your kid is over 3 you have to pay full adult price (was $50) we took my niece last year. Stayed for 3 hours. Awesome.

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  16. We're skipping the family camping trip this year. Last year, my younger son (then three) tried to jump off a cliff (dad caught him before he succeeded), fell into the fire pit (I pulled him out before he got hurt), and fell into a tide pool (scraped knee, lost shoe, bonk on head).

    We feel, for his continued life expectancy, that we should probably take some time off from camping until he's a little less prone to suicide. :)

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  17. *shudder* the BEACH... ewww... First of all, I hate sand in my butt crack. Second of all, I hate getting sand out of a soggy diaper-laden wiggly squirmy temper-tantrum throwing toddler. YUCK!

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  18. Can I add public park? This morning we stopped to let the two little ones blow off some stink and so far have seen countless cigarette butts, the end of a Swisher Sweet, two artificial fingernails ( different colors), and an empty box of Extenze. We are leaving before they figure out how to sound out the nasty words written on the playground equipment....

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  19. My DH and I used to hike, camp, backpack all the time, many weekends a year, at least three seasons out of the year. But when the kids came along, I had to lay down some new rules, much to his chagrin. (And, unfortunately, he keeps trying to convince me that I should cave on those rules, much to my chagrin.) My requirements are: 1) No backpacking with babies or toddlers. (Unfortunately, DH convinced me to break this rule when our first was two years old and I was 5 months pregnant. It was miserable, due to constant rain, constant peeing (me), and constant monitoring to keep the two-year-old out of the river...) 2) Extra hands in the form of family or friends is a must. The only time we went on our own, I spent two hours driving up and down the access road to the campground trying to get my one-year-old son to fall asleep so we could eventually sleep three hours in the tent before waking up in the morning. 3) Zip the tent to the top! Do NOT leave the zippers at the bottom, or the toddler will escape and be found wandering into another campsite DOWN THE ROAD by random campers, as mine did. Luckily, my sister saw him escaping out of the corner of her eye the first time, and the other campers were already escorting him back... and 4) Limit the camping trips to only a few in the summer (no spring or fall trips), because otherwise mommy would lose her schmidt. I do anyway, but at least this way, we all have some recovery time. I'm already girding my loins for the three trips this summer...

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  20. My DH and I used to hike, camp, backpack all the time, many weekends a year, at least three seasons out of the year. But when the kids came along, I had to lay down some new rules, much to his chagrin. (And, unfortunately, he keeps trying to convince me that I should cave on those rules, much to my chagrin.) My requirements are: 1) No backpacking with babies or toddlers. (Unfortunately, DH convinced me to break this rule when our first was two years old and I was 5 months pregnant. It was miserable, due to constant rain, constant peeing (me), and constant monitoring to keep the two-year-old out of the river...) 2) Extra hands in the form of family or friends is a must. The only time we went on our own, I spent two hours driving up and down the access road to the campground trying to get my one-year-old son to fall asleep so we could eventually sleep three hours in the tent before waking up in the morning. 3) Zip the tent to the top! Do NOT leave the zippers at the bottom, or the toddler will escape and be found wandering into another campsite DOWN THE ROAD by random campers, as mine did. Luckily, my sister saw him escaping out of the corner of her eye the first time, and the other campers were already escorting him back... and 4) Limit the camping trips to only a few in the summer (no spring or fall trips), because otherwise mommy would lose her schmidt. I do anyway, but at least this way, we all have some recovery time. I'm already girding my loins for the three trips this summer...

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  21. We must be crazy here as our family vacations every summer are at the shore, and we have to go to the amusement park at least one night during the week but the past years we have gone twice. Last year was a disaster because I couldn't say no to my sister's request to go to the amusement park the same night that we got there because her boyfriend wanted to go to them and that was the only night he would be there. Try driving with a 5 and a 2 year old in the car for close to 6 hours, (with only a 90 minute ferry ride to eat and stretch but not get too close to the railing, pick up keys, go food shopping in a PACKED grocery store with everyone else who is down for the week, get another bite to eat, and then go to an amusement park. I think our 2 year old was up till about 2 and would not stop crying from 11 on as she was so tired and totally overloaded with stimulation. NEVER AGAIN! We have the same week rented this year but have already made the decision for an early relaxing night that first night.

    Jrseygirl in VA

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  22. May I toss out the idea of a pop-up sun shade kind of thing to make shade at the beach for the part-vampire? Because I'm sure you don't have enough to carry and pack to the shore... :P

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  23. Oh, toddlers at the beach. Don't get me started. We were transferred to Hawaii when my son was 18 months old. (Boo hoo, right?) My husband found a beach house where we lived the two years we were there, because he'd always dreamed of living on the beach. His days went like this: go to work, come back after the toddler's in bed, swim, grill dinner and relax. Mine went: wake up at 5 am so I can make sure the gates on the lanai are locked, the doors are locked, and my son hasn't escaped during the night. Spend the next 12 hours constantly watching my son to make sure he didn't jump the lanai railing and head for the beach. Take son to the beach because he wants to play in the water. Listen to him scream. Lather, rinse, repeat until 7 pm when the boy went to bed.

    Paradise? I.don't.think.so.

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  24. Funny 'cause it's true ladies - every last word.
    I was JUST having this exact conversation w/my bestie. DH's company pinic this year is a full out rented park, complete with midway, games, water features, bands, food - literally a gigantic amusement park and 40, 000 people. But get this? DH has to work it (yes, just like a carnie!!) This is how the convo went...
    DH:(very nonchanlantly)"Cool idea right? you'll bring the kids and spend the day, it's all free!"
    ME:(very skeptical)"Are you working or helping me?"
    DH: "Working - for the whole 12 hours, we have to help out w/cooking and games" (yes, again, like a carnie!)
    ME:(draining my glass of wine)"Well then, I'll see you Sunday"

    I mean, COME ON!! We have a 7, 5 and 2 year old. And by 2 year old, I mean raging hormonal fiesy little devil - one who refuses the stroller and wanders off at the slightest glimpse of a butterfly. If he thinks I am dealing with amusement park like conditions in the raging heat with THREE kids (and only 2 of which can actually go on rides - which in itself is pure hell listening to the toddler pitch a fit because SHE wants to also ride the coaster but can't!!) I am taking them to the lake and even though that's a big feat these days while I am solo - at least I can drink there.

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  25. Taking my werewolves anywhere is always an adventure, and I mean that in a Lord Of the Rings walking forever and fighting of orcs kind of way. My middle werewolf whines about everything in a way that makes me wonder if he is possessed by a cranky old Jewish grandfather. My toddler is fine until he gets tired and then you can look at him wrong and people begin looking at the sky for the tornado because his screams sound like the warning siren! And don't get me started on my oldest who makes the drama of a teenage girl look like nothing! That boy has been slamming doors in a snit since he was 2 and sees nothing wrong with going nuts in public now. Just the other day he was grounded to his room and informed us that we should just murder him. My hubby told him the body would be too hard to hide! Glad we don't live near a beach because the zoo is a big enough hassle for me.

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  26. I will back you on the camping, hiking, and water playground bits. OMM indeed. The hubs keeps bringing up the camping idea. My kids are 3, 6, and (as of today) 9. The youngest would be gone in a freakin' flash and/or stay awake longer than anyone else, including the owls (why should it be any different from home?). And the Mr. just doesn't seem to understand. Talk about work someplace else. The fountain enema? Yeah, I have totally chased my OWN kid out of the splashground before when I saw her start to cop a squat over one of those. Ew. Ew. Ew.

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  27. Can I add Major League baseball game to the list? This past weekend we sat in 2 hours of traffic (to go the approx 12 miles to the stadium). Got there and realized our seats were on the first row of the upper deck -- with a toddler and a 4 year old in the straight on sun...then there was the quest for (real - not fountain) lemonade....

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    1. Word. Even minor league games in the hot sun with little ones can be torture. We lasted about 3 innings...

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  28. Hilarious! And so true. One of the top 5 parenting mistakes we ever made was taking the kid camping at 18 months old. I'm still having nightmares.

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  29. Can we add the library. I mean, YAY books and stuff but my toddler tries to pull them all off the shelves while I'm busy picking up the trains he put back in the wrong box, then there's the older kid who has disappeared to search for books about BMX bikes. Heaven forbid I need to go the grown up section and try to find a book for myself...that leaves two choices: 1--don't even worry about where the kids wandered off to and find the exact book I wanted. Or, 2--keep an eye on my kids and be reduced to grabbing something random off a nearby shelf like "gardening for experts---in German"

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    1. lol, I was about to ask how everyone felt about storytime at the library, since I work at a local library. I had 5 kids, and the library was my favorite place--to go by myself for some peace and quiet. But I never went near storytime. That probably makes me the ultimate bad mom, but I just couldn't see taking little critters who. by their very nature, cannot talk quietly or refrain from throwing tantrums when thwarted, to a place where everyone is supposed to talk in hushed tones. Nowadays I feel so empathetic towards the young moms whose kids have meltdowns in there.

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  30. Soooo true! Especially the camping and the sand. Blech.

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  31. Ok folks, I used to like your blog, but you are going overboard with the complaining. Camping, the beach, and the park is too much work with kids? Really? What do you DO with them all day then?

    Camping is a wonderful activity for kids of any age. Toddler won't sleep in the tent? Get a portable crib. Teach your kid to hike, and learn to use the baby backpack for when they get tired. Yes you won't get far. Two miles is a good distance these days. Point out flowers/birds/trees etc along the trail, and it will keep them amused.

    The beach is too much work? Are you kidding? It's like the best sandbox ever! Your precious cupcake will not melt in the sun. Use sunscreen. Or put on one of those long-sleeve swimsuits. If you are the super paranoid kind, put floatie things on them so they don't drown. (I once put a dog leash around my 13 month old's waist because he wanted to play in the surf and I was worried he'd get pulled by a wave. It looked funny, but it worked.)

    I agree with your on the yard sales. But that's because I find buying crap as boring as a toddler would.

    Seriously, people! Get your kids outside, get them dirty, and get them having fun! There are too many precious snowflakes growing up around here! (And lest you think I have one of those "good" kids that goes along with everything, I do not. Oh no, I do not. Not even close. But he has fun hiking and camping and going to the beach and playing in fountains and all those things. And yes, there's yelling involved most of the time too.)

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    1. Absolutely agree that the complaining, whining tone has become overbearing.

      What's worse is that the rare poster who complains about the complaining is usually slammed by someone complaining about her/his complaining about complaining. It has even happened that the moderator writes a complaining response about all the complaining about the complaining complaining ... something about - find yourself another blog post to be part of (to paraphrase Phil Ochs).

      You can tell the seasons have changed when the whining emerges into the outdoors.

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    2. ok mommy, pour a glass of wine and chill. we all do these things with our kids, but it's not always fun. this is a place to vent, exchange funny (horrifying) stories, and known that we are not alone in the messy, undigified world of parenting.

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    3. There you go; right on schedule and true to RFML form - a complaint about the complaining about complaining.

      The point that some posters make (the ones who find the whining too much are trying to make) is that the humor becomes cloying and devolves into schtick when what is essentially privileged and affluent circumstance is passed off as "horrifying" and onerous. Of course, the crowd here has to be able to afford: the huge homes too large to clean; the vehicles and fuel to endlessly yo-yo here and there; the cost of sports programs to ninnynatter over their expense; the expansive wardrobes that demand so much maintenance; the vacation opportunities that inner city families would love to experience but cannot.

      So have at it. Just be aware that many of the rant-deserving "problems" you perceive are actually fabulous family experiences that only the tiniest percentage of mothers in the world can even dream of having. It would be much better if the blog's title indicated that these were exclusively first-world mom's rants. The vast majority of mothers in the world haven't the time, wealth, or tools to even access the internet much less to complain about how their vacation to a beach was spoiled because a child got sand in their junk food.

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    4. If "horrifying story" for you is your child getting sand into his eyes, thank your lucky stars!

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    5. "It would be much better if the blog's title indicated that these were exclusively first-world mom's rants."

      Now you know! So you can either keep reading, if you enjoy it, or, if you are among those who "find the whining too much," click on that little "X" and close your browser window. Easy! Problem solved. Now you can go back to improving the lives of others rather than wasting time reading things that irritate you on the internet.

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  32. Every stinking year, we get into the car and (I) drive for two days to visit my in-laws on the East Coast... for two weeks... in their little stuffy bungalow (don't open the windows, you'll let in the humidity!).... me and hubs sleep on a lumpy pull-out... the boys share a room and the youngest gets to sleep in the front foyer.... Anyway, we spend much of the time trying to go outdoors and that means choosing between a hike in the woods with a billion black flies or mosquitoes (depending on the time of day), or go to the ocean beach. The ocean beach is a 20 minute drive away, and then you park and walk for 15 minutes to the beach.... with all the clobber required for a beach visit with young children. I usually throw out some part of my body doing this. Of course the toddler is walking this walk too... or rather alternating between being carried on my arm (the hand of which is carrying a heavy cooler basket), or sitting down, or tottering perilously close to the poison ivy that lines the path to the beach. Of course this is while combatting tiger mosquitoes (a special welcoming species they have in that part of Nova Scotia). The boardwalk also crosses over a nice little river... OOOOOh so inviting to having toddlers fall in. When we finally get near the beach, I hope and pray that the tide is out. Tide out = sand flats and tidal pools to wade in, tide in= perilous drop off and about 6 feet of beach width. I have never actually had a swim at this beach since we had children. I have paddled about with the children SHRIEKING their heads off that Mammy is swimming away from them. Hubs is not so good at keeping them calm. The worst time was when #1 was 2.5 and #2 was two months old and hubs was off having a long swim (yes, HE always gets one, he is on vacation afterall), and I finally nursed #2 down to nap under the sun umbrella and reached for my bag of chips and discovered that #1 had occupied himself with throwing handfuls of sand into it. Then #1 proceeded to have a screaming fit that I would not let him eat the sand coated chips. Eventually, I let him try to eat them... which induced another fit. Or was the worst time the one when #1 almost fell into the hole in the outhouse?

    Gosh I hate the beach.

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  33. Or was the worst time when my oldest was a toddler and would have a screaming fit everytime he looked at the ocean? It was too big and scary I think. We had to keep him digging sandcastles with his back to the water. Or was it the year #2 was 14 months old and refused to let his feet touch the sand? Or will the worst time at the beach be this summer with my willful youngest (2.5... such a lovely time) who is afraid that crabs may eat her toes? Did I mention this beach has a ton of itty bitty hermit crabs? Or maybe she'll just make a break for it and try to swim (drown herself)... entirely possible. I .Can't. Wait. I just LOVE our summer "vacation" so much that I cry a little when I think about it.

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  34. Honestly, my kids do OK at all the places you mentioned. It helps that I only have 2 and my husband and I decide before hand which of us is watching which kid. No mixing, causes confusion. BUT...we took our kids to New York City and I was stressed the entire time, particularly riding the train into the city and riding the subway.

    My DH took both my daughters (6 and 9) to an amusement park followed by camping by himself with an entire campground of girl scouts (injury...I couldn't go). He seemed really tired when he came home but said the kids had a great time and it wasn't too bad.

    But the absolute worst for me...vacationing with family (or friends) that also have children where the parents are outnumbered or the parents don't do the best job minding their children or even coordinating it, who ended up with 2 out of 3 kids lost at a major water park and the parents in a screaming match about who was/wasn't watching which lost child. I found their kids and then they reamed the kids for wandering out of site. Yup, that happened. Never again.

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  35. That waterpark/enema comment cracked me right up. Loved it.

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  36. I am a missionary on an island in the South Pacific, so I sort of live summertime with a toddler. All. Year. Long. Some days, I just have to live with the fact that some people *may* go to hell today because my 20 month old is still pooping sand from yesterday.

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  37. Story land still exists??? My parents tools us there in 1984 to "practice" for WDW the next year.

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  38. Tips for Sesame - the rides with the longest lines will have NO lines during the parade. so see the parade once. Trust me once is enough - then ride the rolloercoaster - the big water stuff and you will be good. THere's never a line for the wave pool - hang there with the toddler. there's even beach chairs for moms. I spend May, June and September there. it's cheaper than joining a pool :)

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  39. I am a single mom and just took my 5yo DD camping by myself, for the first time. We had gone camping all together, before the divorce but that had been 3 years. I was seriously nervous but we have never had so much fun together! For those of you who said you want to camp but just can't make it happen for whatever reason, if you can afford it try to go to a private campground aimed towards families. The one I took my daughter too had a pool, mini-golf, small game room, planned activites, a playground, a large creek, etc. We walked through the creek spotting different animals and took a short hike (one that I could easily carry her back from, if needed). It was a little out of my price range but it was safe, clean and fun, so I made it work.

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  40. I've learned that the trick to anything that seems impossible to do with my 2-year-old is to take some of my younger cousins along. My daughter LOVES hanging out with them, they love playing mommy with her, and it gives me a break. It's a win-win-win :)

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  41. sad. life must be sort of boring without doing all these fun things with your kids.

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  42. YEs, these are First world problems. And yes, all these things can be loads of fun with kids. But, I think the point the blogger and posters are making is that all that "fun" comes with a price. I do have fun at the beach with the kids, and we go back every year, but I KNOW I will pay for the fun with poison ivy rash, mosquito bites, sand in unmentionable places and some aching muscles. The kids love it, and in the end it is all worth it, and I just supress all my reservations and fatigue with a huge smile for the photos. But that does not mean I am not crying a little on the inside. That is what "Rants from Mommyland" is about... it is a forum for the crying on the inside part that lives behind the huge Mommy smile. We used to just take valium... now we have the internet! It is meant to be a light, wry and above all TRUTHFUL look behind the huge Mommy smile. If you do not wish to read rants... don't!

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  43. Tip for camping with young ones... use a safety pin to connect the two zippers together. They can zip that zipper all night and they won't get out. If you are putting the kids to bed and want to stay up a little while with the adults, put the safety pin on the outside. Once your in for the night pin it on the inside. It makes pee breaks in the middle of the night slightly more difficult, but the peace of mind is worth it.

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  44. Another tip for camping - don't be ambitious. Find the wee little state park that has like 8 tent sites and a playground and is 1.7 miles from the Rite-Aid and Target and don't mess with trying to cook those campfire meals you fondly remember from newlywed camping. Use paper cups and plates and burn 'em, have your ipad charged and ready to entertain, bring a Subway or McD's picnic for dinner and call it a success if no one pees in the tent.

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  45. Don't take your kids to those spray parks. The CDC is trying to find a way to shut these down because they are inherently unsanitary. Unfortunately, because there is no "open water", they typically fall into a regulatory loophole. They aren't pools, so they don't have to be tested as pools, and even if they are tested, nobody has the authority to shut them down. Less than a handful of states have any regulatory authority to monitor these (Colorado, Florida, and New York last I checked).

    Here's a pretty good article about the subject:
    http://www.aquaticsintl.com/2008/novdec/0811_infectious.html

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  46. Know what's worse than waiting in line at a theme park with toddlers/preschoolers? Going to Disneyworld with toddlers/preschoolers at a time when the lines are minimal. Because then there is simply no decent excuse for WHY we can't ride Small World AGAIN!! And AGAIN!!! That was over 15 years ago. I am still traumatized. ;-)

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  47. This actually describes both my 2.11 year old AND my 5.8 year old. And I totally think "Museum" should be added to that list and "City hosted concerts/fireworks displays". Well, really anywhere I take my two younger children. *sigh*

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  48. HAD to comment. Three summers ago I was six months pregnant (and violently sick with that one) and after a long summer, dragged my two big kids to a group playdate a friend planned at a watery splash place here in Columbia SC, next to a large indoor pool- free splashpad, superfun playdate, right?. It was fun. It was also my first chance to see the kids giving themselves watery enemas, and I thought "huh. gee, I'm glad these places use chlorine."
    Fast forward a week later when EVERYONE OF US in the whole dang playdate had cryptosporidia. That's right: the "something's in the water/don'tdrinkthe water/Montezuma's Revenge thing, when water isn't treated correctly at thsoe palces. The City was paying someone to treat the water alright, at the splashpad from hell. Only, the contractor was happily taking the money and not testing the water, etc. Giant CDC episode and epidemic in the city, not to mention a total of over thirty mommies and kids from church all trying to get that parasite out of our systems. And let me tell you. It wasn't nice, it was horrible. And pregnant.. even moreso.

    Our mommy group refers to it as The Parasitic Playdate. So splashpads are now off limits to my littles. That was so horrible.

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