The pier did us in….
Over spring break I got quite a few texts from different friends saying how horrible it was to travel with kids…. in a funny, I still totally love them way. I didn’t join the group conversations about this topic because I didn’t want to burst anyone’s bubble with how amazing my kids are. They travel like gems. Always grateful, respectful, and so fun to be around. I’m not being sarcastic this is what was really going through my head. Justin thinks I tend to forget the hard things about having kids, I don’t know what he’s talking about… every trip we’ve ever had was perfect, our kids were always great sleepers, they never threw tantrums (OK now I’m being sarcastic) But I realized something this last trip when we tried to do something other than playing at the beach……
We didn’t try to do anything major. Josh just wanted to walk up and see the rides on Santa Monica Pier. All three had been excited about the prospect all day. However, we decided to do it after spending 5ish hours at the beach mostly in the water. We ended up having to park a couple of blocks away at a parking garage. Max had somehow lost his shoes at the beach… so we made a quick stop at Old Navy to get some. Which was at the far end of 3rd street promenade. No big deal…. we decided to take a stroll down memory lane and meander our way to the pier. Their were street musicians playing in the background and people in crazy costumes. There were even huge snakes which almost made Josh pee his pants. (Josh has been terrified of snakes ever since I let him watch Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as a 3 year old) By the time we get to the pier Max and Anna are exhausted and beyond done. But we were so close and Josh looked at me with those big brown eyes.
So we headed down. Justin I each with a child on our backs. By the time we got to the actual pier I had elected to sit on the curb with Anna while Justin and Josh walked down to see how much it cost to ride the ferris wheel.
And I being the awesome Mom that I am… taught Anna how to people watch. She was delighted by the idea and delightful to listen to. We weren’t judgmental, just observing… and we had a little lesson about pointing at people. I really wish I would have had my camera to capture her as her eyes opened a little bit more to different people, cultures, and fashion choices. Our favorite was the guy with bling all over his pants.
That was the high point, and only the half way point. The ferris wheel was too expensive. I saw the disappointment in Josh’s eyes, but he sweetly didn’t complain when we decided we wouldn’t be doing that this time. So we started the half hour trek back to our car each with a kid on our backs. One of them screaming. Finally the end was in sight. We hiked up the stairs to find our car and realized…. we were a block too early and our car was not in that parking garage, but the next block up. So we trekked back down and back up and entered rush hour traffic for the drive to our friends house… bless you DVD player and books on tape…. the end.
He was much happier hear.
My kids are great travelers as long as we are doing kid friendly things and don’t plan too much. But…. even though our little tourist expedition wasn’t necessarily an experience I want to repeat… their were still little moments of joy. Anna’s eyes when she saw the Indian family, Josh as he maturely accepted he wasn’t going to get what he wanted, and Max with his chubby little arms around my neck as I hauled him back to the car…. maybe Justin’s right I do tend to block out the hard things. I will have to wait for our family trip to Cambodia and Peru I think….love them.