When we are with friends our kids make us look good. They are so well behaved and downright delightful. This is wonderful as I would hate for them to be unruly when we are with other people but once in a while it would be nice to give them a glimpse of some of the challenges of our home life.
The other day we were invited to meet friends an hour down the road in the seaside town of Parksville. It was our friend’s birthday and we were honoured that she wanted to spend the day with us. She had it all planned out. First we would meet for mini-golf followed by lunch, a sand sculpture exhibition, and finally a play on the beach. This was a far more ambitious schedule then I think we have ever tried as a family of 5. We were concerned that this much activity, such a long drive, plus so much time in the sun, was a recipe for certain disaster. First off, is it really a good idea to take 2-year-old twins and a 5-year old to play mini golf? We thought Annika would get frustrated and we would be chasing the twins around the course pulling them out of windmills. After the excitement of mini-golf would they be able to settle down enough to behave during lunch? Then we were going to take them to a look but not touch sand castle show with crowds of people when they can see that the beach close by. We knew that our kids are great at the beach but surely they would be exhausted and grumpy by then. We really did not want to face the certain meltdown but at least we would get some sympathy from our friends.
Our kids provided no reason for sympathy and in fact our friends must think we have it easy. It was truly a great day. Annika had a great time playing mini-golf and showed no signs of getting frustrated. The twins stayed with us the whole time and had so much fun as the official ball retrievers (luckily just from the cup and not the insanely blue water that circled the course). We were also happy that we avoided a windmill incident. The good moods carried into a lively but civilized lunch and while the twins were a bit bored at the sand sculptures and were starting to get tired (nap times were to be missed on this day) the adults were still able to have a good look before hitting the beach. We have recently been swimming in warmer water then found in Parksville so our kids decided not to do any more than wading but still they had fun. It was relatively easy to get everyone back in the car and the drive home was uneventful.
Our kids really impressed us that day and it shows that sometimes we can push them a little harder then we have in the past. Of course when we got home the exhausted twins had a few tantrums and we were happy once everyone was tucked into bed so we could relax again. Maybe we should have recorded a video of this part of the day and sent it to our friends. On second thought I think we should be satisfied without the sympathy as long as we can have days like this one as a family.