Weekends with kids are a wee bit different from weekends without kids. I was thinking of that as we were driving back this afternoon (Sunday) from Sesame Place in Langhorne, PA. This Sesame Street themed water park has its charms: a reasonable entry-level roller coaster, some nice water slides, a lazy river. However, it’s highly unlikely I would be going there if I did not have a 10-year-old, a 7-year-old, a 5-year-old, and a 2-year-old. Someone was whining in the back of the minivan on the drive home, despite having been taken to a water park — which makes them lucky kids! — and I mentioned this. My husband agreed that it would probably not have been our first choice for a summer Sunday in the absence of offspring. “We would have gone to Paris,” he said.
I don’t know if we would have been in Paris or not, but we also probably would not have eaten at Benihana on Friday night. We’ve been trying to do more semi-grown-up things with the big kids, and eating out is one of those things. Eating out with the 2-year-old is pure torture. But the big kids can sit quietly, sometimes without hitting each other. So we decided to go somewhere where we could watch the chef cook on the grill in front of us, figuring they might find it almost as entertaining as, say, watching YouTube videos on my phone.
It was…ok. I knew the food wasn’t going to be Michelin starred, so that is what it is. But I also realized that I really like food. I like trying new things and tastes and that’s part of the excitement of going out to eat. My children do not share this perspective. Going out to eat is for them a battle to make sure they will get something from the small list of approved foods. So there they were, filling up on white rice, quite possibly the least tasty thing on their plates, and worse, they were complaining about the other things (“Do I have to try shrimp?” “What is that on the chicken?” Sigh…)
I was also up before 7 a.m. both mornings — another thing that distinguishes weekends with kids from weekends without kids. One morning was by choice — a lovely 8 mile long run along the river — but I heard the baby stirring as I was getting ready, and I know he was shouting as I was leaving (and my husband dealt with it). And part of going early is to get it done before all the kid stuff (like karate at 9:30 a.m.) Saturday night I made the mistake of staying up to 11:30, and then the 6 a.m. shouting was pretty hard to deal with.
To be fair, I did get some good eating in, around the crispy chicken sandwich phenomenon of Sesame Place. Saturday night my husband cooked mussels in a white wine and cream sauce. Then Sunday night we grilled lobster tails, and yellow squash from the garden (which is copious…I welcome recipes). We ate a cucumber salad from our garden too.
And of course, it is possible that either with kids or without kids I would have spent part of Sunday night watching Michael Phelps “race” a great white shark. I really can’t blame the kids for that one — that use of time was all me.
In other news: I’m writing a story about paternity leave. If you or your (male) co-parent took a longish leave (more than the U.S. standard 2 weeks) and are willing to talk about it, please let me know. As always, you can email me at lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.