I recently went on a two-week beach vacation, a mention worthy event on its own since I hadn’t taken two weeks straight in a very long time.
I have three kids – all boys ranging from 15 months to six and a half years. I thought I knew my kids before but we spent so much time together that I ended up learning quite a bit more. Think of it as a kids emersion training, kind of like learning French. Here’s some of what I learned and some more, while it’s still fresh.
- I realized I love dining with my kids. We tend to go to fancier places, because “honey, after all we are on a vacation, let’s do something nicer” but kids don’t care if it’s a $3 plate or $10 plate, they aren’t eating their meals anyway, and so I end up finishing theirs. Which, like I said, tend to be pretty good options (like an absolute delight of a bacon cheeseburger that my oldest one simply couldn’t push down his throat anymore).
- Their kind of fun is surprisingly the same as my kind of fun. I mean, sun, sea, sand tunnels – they know no age boundaries. The kind of fun that completely wears them out by day end, they pass out faster than usual so we can have more of uniquely our kind of fun.
- Their behavior that ranges from squealing kind of whining to bickering and outright fighting is much easier to handle. You are so exhilarated not to be at work or deal with any kind of domestic challenges that you love everything and everyone, for two weeks you turn into a Tibetan monk only in a warm and balmy climate. You actually love your children and everything about them. LOVE them and their nasty behaviors. If it gets too much, you just focus your attention on a pretty dune or a seagull. Anything goes. Don’t even need an Om.
- It is for that same reason – your complete detachment from the real world – that you cough up a ton of money on food and entertainment. The wife’s “honey…” statement reinforces what must be done, gents.
- You grow to appreciate electronic gadgets, availability of WiFi networks and the digital content revolution beyond any parental instincts. After all, the uniquely our kind of fun often takes us past midnight, and hardly ever sober, and so when the oldest and the middle one wake up at 7, they don’t need to ask for an iPad. They know where to find it, and they know you won’t mind. Because vacations are sacred.
- The kind of movies they watch leaves you wondering what happened to this fine art form. However, it’s right in your face, and you start paying attention, and following the story, and after 7 or 8 replays you actually end up having conversations with your three year old about Scooby Doo. I mean, why not? That’s what vacations are for.
- You spend such a long time with them side by side that you start noticing actual physical changes. Getting taller, gaining weight, muscle build up… it is an odd change from an hour a day routine plus weekends to a 24/7 routine for two weeks. My oldest one tried out a surf board and it somewhat worked for him. And I thought, hmm, that’s cool and I had no idea he can do that!
- You are learning all kinds of things about your kids. After a couple of drinks you start thinking while they are misbehaving, oh they got that sense of humor from me, or they have my energy in them. And the younger one, he’s just my copy, the way he eats or moves or farts or whatever. Your eyes get all misty – a mix of booze making its way through the veins and a monk like attitude towards everything. This is generally the time you get along well with your wife, the in laws if they are present, even your boss if he or she happens to be there too.
The list can go on and on. I don’t want to dwell on it because it’s late and I have to get up early, pack 5 lunches, wipe 3 butts and get everybody out the door so the boss who I loved so much not a week ago won’t give me an evil eye. Like I said, vacations are sacred and we need to cherish them. Just like our kids, really.