Tag Archives: grandparents

Family Vacation: What I learned

We recently got back from a trip to Florida. The purpose was to give my dad a sort of birthday present (he turns 70 this month) of having all 4 of the grandchildren on a trip together. So my wife and I went with the girls and Pam, my sister, went with our niece & nephew. My brother-in-law was unable to make it due to work. The third sibling, my brother, was also not there but he likely didn’t want to go. So we had a total of 5 adults with my parents, sister, Lisa and myself. The 4 kids are between the ages of 3 and 7. So obviously, they had the advantage over the adults.

Did we have fun? Sure, there was fun. The kids seemed to enjoy playing together, though there was a large amount of whining. I’m also sure I speak for many when I say putting extended family together for a long time is not without stress. But this whole thing was a learning experience, so I will now share the knowledge that has been bestowed upon my squishy brain matter.

FLYING WITH KIDS IS A PAIN- We had a 2 hour delay for our flight to Florida. This pretty much killed the excitement of 5-year-old Phoebe, who now panicked that the trip was ruined. By the time we got on the plane and took off, she hadn’t fully recovered. Zoe, the cranky pants toddler, was tired but did not manage to fall asleep until about 20 minutes before landing. However, we also had a yappy dog on the plane that barked the whole time. The flight home was very early and Phoebe spent most of it being difficult. Zoe was pretty good, only fussing once which was cancelled by the presence of apple juice. This was the opposite of what we expected, having thought Phoebe would be excited by the plane and entertained and Zoe would get cranky. So maybe next time, which may very well be in a few years, we’ll just drive.

LET THE GRANDPARENTS TAKE THE KIDS- If my mom or dad wanted to go somewhere with the kids, they pretty much got it. Lisa and I were able to get a few moments of quiet and even got to go out after the kids went to bed. Once just the two of us and once with Pam, who by that point needed the break as well. Plus, we all got to take a nap at least once! How awesome is that? How sad is it that I get excited about naps?

BE BETTER AT PLANNING OUTINGS- Somehow we ended up going to the Naples Zoo on one of the hottest days of the week. Needless to say, everyone was cranky about halfway into the time there. Also, the animals as a whole were smarter than us and mostly laid around in whatever shade was present. Good for you, striped hyena and honey badger. Bad for the tourists, us included. Zoe also clarified that every big cat she saw apparently goes “meow, meow”. I’m sure the 3-year-old has conducted scientific research so pass this on to the tigers and leopards. No roaring for you. It’s “meow, meow” or nothing. So sayeth the toddler.

We’ve taken short little weekend trips with the kids in the past, but this was our first big family trip. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for vacations with Phoebe and Zoe. People keep asking us if we’ll do a Disney trip with them, which I think is possible but certainly not until they are old enough to remember it better. This is the question about the trip we just took. Will they remember much of it? A little, I think, but it will probably be more along the lines of how they had fun with their grandparents and cousins. So I think vacations like trips to Disney World and things like that can wait until Lisa and I don’t have to change diapers at the airport.

 

 

The Negotiator and the Manipulator

Let me be honest. I love my daughters more than I can ever fully express. However, I fear we are raising a team of diabolical master planners. Beware world, lest you fall to the powers of Phoebe and Zoe.

For the prophets said, unto you shall come a tenacious negotiator and a mighty manipulator. They will appear cute, yet will unleash an age of parental oppression.

THE NEGOTIATOR: Phoebe loves to haggle. She’s four and, I repeat, she loves to haggle. I pity the poor future salesperson who will deal with her. If my mother-in-law offers her some pieces of chocolate (let’s say two pieces), Phoebe will ask for ten.

P-“How bout ten, Nonni?”

N-“How about two?”

P-“How bout eight?”

N-“How about four, Phoebe?”

P-“Okay, Nonni.”

Granted, I am of the opinion that if a grandparent wants to spoil their grandchild, they’re allowed. But Phoebe will try this with everyone on just about everything. Maybe she can watch “Sofia the First” AND have a story? Can she take a toy in the tub with her? How about TWO toys? And in the case of her parents, if it doesn’t work with one she will try the other.

“Mommy, can we go to the cat food store? Maybe Daddy can take me.”

“Daddy, can we have a┬átreat? Maybe Mommy can get me a treat.”

She’s determined, I’ll give her that. And she knows how to be cute about it.

THE MANIPULATOR: Sweet little Zoe. Full of great big feelings and perfectly content to play with your emotions to get her way. She just turned two last month and she is becoming more and more of a troublemaker. And she is queen of the big “boo boo” face. Did you just do something she doesn’t like? Here comes the little pout and the teary eyes.

“Poor little Zozo. Here we’ll give you snuggles.”

Just like that, myself, her mom, or a grandparent scoops her up for a snug. She has poked at our squishy spots and struck gold. Oh, and forget about it if her sister gets a treat a Zoe doesn’t. Here come the big feelings! Quick, someone fetch blueberries or some crackers!

Now,Lisa and I genuinely love that Zoe is a sensitive little thing. But I’ll be damned if she doesn’t now how cute we think she is. As much as we may not want to admit it, she can play both of us just as well as her sister. Diabolical, I tell you.

Do I really think this is all that different from what other parents deal with? Not really. Do they always get their way? Definitely not. Which then leads to little meltdowns, time outs, taking toys away, and an early bedtime. It’s a pre-schooler and a toddler. This is all to be expected. And at the end of the day, these girls have their good days and bad days like anyone else. And there will be more as they continue to grow.

I realize I have a bias as a parent, but I think that Phoebe and Zoe are both pretty good girls. And I will do my best to make sure they grow into good people and amazing women. Hopefully, they won’t drive me totally nuts in the process.