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

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