The Dear Husband occasionally laments the fact that we don’t do “anything fun” as a family. I give him my completely confused and horrified look. Taking three young children out anywhere is rarely a purely “fun” event. The words “family” and “fun” are only a sadistic marketing scheme.
Here are 10 Steps to one of our “fun” family outing:
1. Find suitable event that is within the budget and tolerance range of all 5 participants. (This excludes a lot of things.)
2. Plan outing with military-level logistics. Consider physical needs of all 5 participants-naps, food, beverages, and how often I will be forced to attend to the potty needs of 3 girls (as The Dear Husband enjoys his time alone and 20 min snack break while he waits for us).
3. Prepare and pack accordingly. Jackets? Snacks? Sippy cup? Water bottles? Toys for the car? Government issued disaster-readiness kit? Distraction paraphernalia for members of the 5 who may be unhappy with the event? (Not always, but frequently, The Toddler Tornado).
(4. Decide it is totally NOT worth the hassle and give up. Let children watch mind-numbing TV while parents recoup from event preparation.)
5. Get everyone fed, pottied, and in the car for the 30-minute drive to event. Fight with spouse regarding directions, parking, etc.
6. Extract children and mountain of stuff, packing stroller and parents with everything anyone might need. (Note: smarter parents just use the stinkin’ snack bar and overpriced gift shop).
7. Lug children/stuff to event origin and pay for “fun”. Realize it has taken 2 hours to get to this point in the family outing.
8. While still in ticket line, respond to physical needs of children, including poop-explosion induced outfit change. Debate merits of purchasing pack-lette of gift shop wipes or returning to T-Rex Level 16 to get forgotten jumbo pack of wipes.
9. Remind self and spouse to poke eye out instead next time.
10. Finish event in less time then it took to organize due to chasing squealing toddler all the way through as other parent schleps stroller full of 45 lb. pack of necessary items that were never useful, all the while hurrying dawdling older children. For good measure, lose one of the children.
*Please see my next post on “The Toddler Wins Her Day at the Museum” for what these steps look like in practice.