If Nautical Nonsense …

5/31/08 at 6:04 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

… is something you wish,
then drop on the deck and flop like a fish!

Once again, the Tater crew was treated to nearly non-stop SpongeBob during our stay at the beach. I had the first part of the SpongeBob song down, but it was not until this week that I got the second part down. Actually it’s one of the few shows that will entertain all of the kids and there’s not anything objectionable besides some potty humor. I was reminded of why we don’t have cable channels at home when I see some of the trash that passes for “kid shows” on Disney and Nick.

Otherwise the trip was OK for a short (Sat-Wed) stay. The temperature was in the upper 70’s and sunny, cool enough so that the sand did not get too hot to walk on but warm enough for swimming. Unfortunately the surf got more choppy as the week went on, rough enought to slam the 5 y.o. boy into the beach. He got a little cut/scrape on his back but took it well. He also had the misfortune of a bug (probably mosquito) bite just under his eye, causing it to swell up.

We actually had some cash left over when we got back home AND we didn’t use our credit cards, which is a good thing. I could tell the price of gas was causing a significant drop in visitors, as places that were crowded last year turned out to be sparsely attended this year. The NC beaches rely on out-of-state visitors, and with travel costs so high the resorts are going to feel some economic pain this summer.

Speaking of pain, I will have to make a decision in a few weeks that will cause pain no matter which way I go. This recent beach trip was a “dry run” for a trip to Chicago in July we have been planning. Since the two younger kids came to live with us a year and a half ago, we have only made short (a few hours) trips in the van. My loyal reader may remember the plan to fly to Chicago this summer, but that was quashed when Skybus went belly up (we finally did get a full refund – yeah!).

While I love her to death, the 4 y.o.girl makes traveling very burdensome. She has a difficult time of sitting still/quiet in one place, and ends up getting in trouble either on her own or antagonizing her brother. When things do not go her way her typical response is to scream loudly, usually followed by crying. While the +13 hr. trip itself will be difficult at best, I’m also concerned that the houses we will be visiting/staying at are not equipped for preschoolers.

I have not visited Chicago in a couple of years, so I guess I’m “due” to see both of my parents. I keep coming back to the important factors for this decision: what is best for my immediate family, what is best for the girl, how do I spend my vacation time/money. The dry run this week confirmed some of my fears about extended travelling. I do not want to spend a week of yelling at the girl, yelling at the boys as they react to the girl’s misbehavior (or misbehave all on their own), having to worry about the kids breaking things or getting into stuff when we visit another house, and always feeling the stress of finding things for the kids to keep them occupied. Unfortunately there are no cousins their age to play with, as we seem to have hit the “between generations” period.

My parents don’t have much of a relationship with them now, as they may visit us about once a year (less for my dad), so building relationships should not be an overriding factor. They are also relatively young (66) and in good health, so we should have at least a few more years to visit. I could bring up expenses too (at least $300 just for gas @$4/gal) though we’re counting on Uncle Sam to cough up some $$ due to us.

Given more time I could come up with more justification for not going, but in the end it comes down to disappointing my folks vs. dealing with the needs of a smart, energetic and stubborn 4 y.o. girl. I can’t think of a friend she could travel with to help occupy her time. Her younger brother tends to stick to older brother. They (4 and 5 y.o.’s) will occasionally play well together, but more often than not it devolves into physical confrontations. She is about as big as he is, so there’s equal give-and-take. While we encourage the older brother (10 y.o.) to be the good big brother, he’s just not at the point where he can rein in both kids as well as himself.

There’s also this nagging feeling that I choose not to travel out of selfishness (laziness). Other parents faced the same challenges and managed to get through it, so I should too. Driving at night could alleviate some of the travelling problems, but I have a hard enough time staying awake during the day. At 70 mph one slip up can be deadly.

Should I stay or should I go?





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  1. We haven’t watched SpongeBob. So far we’ve stuck with VeggieTales and Thomas, but then we don’t have a 10-yr-old!

    We’re travelling to Ohio in about a month. Our kids travel pretty well, but the gas expense is nothing to sneeze at! (Ironically, I just sneezed). If you decide to go, you’re welcome to borrow our portable DVD player with 2 screens. My sweet aunt gave it to us, and my brother and I used it the last time we went to OH. Just let me know!

  2. Thanks for the offer, but I’m afraid with 3 young’uns there would be more fighting than watching with the DVD player. Ironically, Kristal and I just talked tonight about having a DVD player for the van (for the proposed trip).

    We’re still leaning towards not going, as the girl showed again today that she is not ready for an extended van ride. We went to a brief party for the older boy’s soccer team this evening, where the kids had pizza for supper. With a playground next to the party area, she spent most of her time there and did not eat much. On the way home she kept telling us about how hungry she was, even after we kept telling her that she had to wait until we were back home (and to pipe down!).

    I don’t want her to be “the bad guy” even though we need to work through these problems. Just no easy answers …

  3. Ironically, we both began sentences with ironically on this post =]


    The boys and a friend and I were at the zoo today. I was thinking about y’all (and the DVD player)

  4. We don’t travel very much, because it is a big pain in the neck. My children can easily turn an 8 hour drive into a 12 hour one and when we tried driving through the night we, the parents, were miserable the next day while the kids were bouncing around in their usual fashion. We also don’t have any car tvs, but we do listen to a lot of books on cd when we travel, which the kids like.

    I guess it would be nice to take the kids more places, but instead we mostly sit around and wait for really special things like the the England trip to show up. Before that we hadn’t gone anywhere in a couple of years.

  5. It comes down to making vacation trips for the right/best reason, and not because you happen to be “due” to visit family. You want the kidlets to experience the world (within budget!) but not at the expense of family discord. Yeah, youngsters will misbehave and sometimes even seek attention, particularly when bored, and long trips are prime boredom opportunities.

    Kristal and I talked about it tonight (we had a date night courtesy of Uncle Sam coming through with the big $$) and we decided not to make the Chicago trip. Instead, we’ll stick around the Piedmont. Now comes the fun part of telling my folks. Ionically, I anticipate some static.
    [We let our zoo membership lapse, so now we have to pay to go, unless I can get some passes from work.]

  6. That is a problem with living far from grandparents. They tend to expect that family vacations will be to come visit them. My parents and my inlaws both live about 500 miles from us in opposite directions. It would be nice to visit them all every year, but it just doesn’t work out, plus it would be nice if those who don’t have kids could come see us instead.

    One year we did take a “family vacation” to Chattanooga to see the aquarium and Rock City. That was a lot of fun and it was nice to do something like that independent of all family obligations.

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