And how many family outings have you regretted while still in the middle of them?
Fit To Be Tied... with a wristband
Every year my husband and I and our triplets (now 11 1/2) head over to "Gotta Be NC" which is a smaller version of the state fair. If you buy a $20 wristband per child instead of tickets, they can go on unlimited rides. The people selling them are very particular. They have to wrap the wristband tightly around each child's right wrist. Not the left. Not over a sleeve. Not dangling. (Gd forbid the kid has no right arm. "Sorry, those are the rules.") If the ticket booth people worked for the criminal justice system, people on house arrest wouldn't be slipping out of their tracking bracelets every other day. This past weekend when the fair was held, the weather was a little iffy. But there are no refunds for inclement weather. If you factor in the cost of tickets and how many tickets are required for each ride, we figured each child would have to ride 5 rides for us to break even.
So we got the wristbands and I looked up at the clouds and my kids were standing around deciding what they should go on first while my husband started off the day's festivities by yelling at them:
"What are you standing around for? I just spent $60! Go on something before it starts pouring!"
Finally they all agreed on a tween-approved helicopter ride. The girls went together. My son disassociated himself altogether and went on by himself. They got off the ride. They're sauntering through the exit while we're looking up at the clouds:
"Come on! Come on! What do you want to go on next? How about this one?" My husband shoved them through the gate of the adjoining ride as I called after them: "You're doing great. Another four rides and we'll break even. After that you can go on whatever you want."
Triplet C yelled back: "I'm starving! I want to eat!"
"There will be plenty of time to eat once we break even! The sooner we break even, the sooner we can eat!" Not that I had a one track mind or anything.
My Two 11 Year Old Daughters and Their Geriatric Triplet Brother
Triplet B knew what rides she wanted to go on. Triplet C looked at Triplet B to tell her whether she too wanted to go on the ride or not. Triplet A, my son, looked up at most rides and commented thusly:
"I can't go on that. It would upset my equilibrium."
I looked at him: "Upset your equilibrium? How old are you?"
He prefers to take the can-never-be-too-careful approach to amusement park rides. He likes the rides that never leave the ground and look like an eighty year old church lady is driving them. You know how kids are always crying at carnivals because they're too short to go on the rides? My son is the opposite. He laments that all the rides he would feel safe on have a height limit of 3 feet tall. The only other would-be riders who are ever turned away are those who haven't yet mastered sitting up by themselves.
If I hadn't been a somewhat crucial part of their birth, I would swear that my daughters were born two minutes apart and half a century after my son.
Fasten Your Seat Belts... It's Going To Be a Bumpy 4 Minutes
Bumper cars are something we can all agree on. Although, the second time my son went to get on them the other day he said:
"I'm not sure if I should go again. I think I pulled something." I said:
"Get in the seat. Your Medicare will cover it." I was adamant. Nobody will stop me from sitting behind the wheel of my own bumper car with all three of my children driving around the pit. Bumper cars with your kids. What a wonderful idea and legal in all 50 states. I'm never prouder of having passed my road test 37 years ago than during a round of bumper car derby with my kids. I like to personalize my hits as I gun it towards each child: "This is for crying during Final Jeopardy!" "This is for finishing my Mother's Day cake before I even got any!" "This is for handing me your report card to sign Monday morning as the bus is coming!"
I've considered renting out the whole bumper car pit for an hour or two so I can "reconnect" with my family without any innocent people getting hurt. It gets tiresome yelling at strangers: "Get out of my way! She's the one I want! You're blocking my shot!"
I suspect I'm not the only parent who feels this way. In fact, I know it. Lots of times while I'm driving around on my mission, a parent will call out to me from the other side of the gate: "Over there! Blond hair, blue shirt! Hurry! He's getting away!"
If you'd like more laughs at the triplets' expense, please subscribe to my not-overly-frequent newsletter and check out my eBook written especially for parents at this time of year: Laughing IS Conceivable: From End of School to Back-to-School. (I love my kids. I love my kids. I LOVE MY KIDS!!).. Both doable from the home page.