My wife awoke in a cold sweat.
Her body trembled.
“F-Five days of.….destruction and mayhem.”
She stared blankly at the bedroom wall.
“Are you having nightmares again about the kids’ vacation?” I asked.
“It’s NOT a vacation for the parents.”
“You’re right. It’s more like house-sitting prisoners on a weekend furlough.”
I understand her fears. When the kids are home on vacation, they fight, scream, cry, announce they’re bored, destroy the house, and eat all the food in the house. After a brief respite, the vicious cycle repeats. And that’s just the first hour or two. On the bright side, they do manage to play nicely together at certain points in the day. But the tension is clearly mounting.
By the second day, they usually figure out that I’m hiding–I mean working—in my office and start paying me random visits. I’m not certain but I think my wife makes sure they’re aware that I’m in my office. Regardless, it’s time to get them out of the house, otherwise, the crying and whining—from my wife and I—will never stop.
But where do we go?
First, we have to come to an agreement on what to do which is about as enjoyable as having an ingrown toenail removed. Considering that it takes my kids about an hour to decide on a show or movie to watch, I brace myself for a long fight that includes screaming, crying, kicking, biting, etc. After about a half an hour of arguing–though my wife insists we’re discussing, not arguing—we come to an agreement that we can’t agree on anything. Therefore, it’s time to head to the mall yet again where we can all do what we want.
When we arrive at the mall, we fully embrace the concept of the family vacation and go our separate ways. My son and I go to the sports and electronic stores. My wife and my daughter head to Children’s Place and check out jewelry, bags, etc. We’re all free to do as we please until lunch and everyone is happy.
But there is one potential monkey wrench in our harmonious afternoon. If my wife encounters a mall emergency (i.e., needs money or has some important gossip to tell me), my cell phone better be on otherwise all heck will break lose. If we avoid this, the day goes off without a hitch.
The next day we’re back in the same situation of deciding what to do. However, my wife and I have regained our senses. As opposed to letting the kids choose, we smartly pick the activity then let the kids know what we’re doing. So it’s time to head to Manhattan where there are tons of options—huge toy stores, the American Girl store, Coach, Macy’s, and great restaurants.
Unfortunately, Manhattan has no stinkin’ parking. After an hour or two of searching for a parking spot, everyone is antsy and ticked off. Whose bright idea was this? Why didn’t we just let the kids choose where to go? Where’s the nearest bar? Eventually, though, we find parking and enjoy the city.
By the last day of the vacation, we finally have it down to a science as to how to pick what to do, when to do it, and where to park. We’re experts. Maybe we’ll actually remember some of this for the upcoming vacation. If not, I’m relocating my office; otherwise, we’re heading to the mall.