Warning: Family Outings May Be Hazardous

I’ve got some advice for you: next time you think about taking your kids somewhere, don’t. Trust me when I say it will only end in disaster.

Case in point: earlier this week, the boys and I joined a friend and her 3 kids on a visit to the science center. This involved packing up 5 kids ages 16 mos.-5 years in one minivan and driving downtown. Just installing the car seats was a major feat.

Unfurling the strollers, crossing busy intersections, and gaining admission were no small tasks, either, but things started off fairly smoothly. We got there right when it opened so it wasn’t crowded. The kids eagerly ran around exploring all the cool exhibits.

Then, 45 min. later, things started to go downhill. First, I ran out of snacks. I naively thought that since the baby had eaten breakfast right before we left, a bag of popcorn, some Goldfish, and a granola bar would last till lunch. Wrong. He plowed through all that and was still whining for more.

Then he started to protest being confined to the stroller. Against my better judgment I let him out, whereupon he promptly climbed up on a dinosaur display that was clearly labeled “Do not even THINK of climbing on this.” A chase ensued, followed by a heated struggle to get him back in the stroller. A passerby laughed. Glad I can provide entertainment for you, lady.

Then my friend’s 2 y.o. broke out in a rash all over his face and arms. A freak allergic reaction to the sand in the fossil-finding area? Or maybe the vapor used in the tornado exhibit? Who knows. We decided to high-tail it out of there, anyway. But first we had to feed the troops or risk mutiny.

When I tell you we caused a spectacle in the cafeteria, I am not being dramatic. The 2 babies were crying and kicking in their highchairs, another kid was lying on the filthy floor, and another was sprinting his way toward the exit. Meanwhile, all around us, groups of Stepford children were sitting with their parents, calmly and quietly eating their lunch. What the heck’s wrong with OUR kids?!

When we finally made it home, we were so traumatized we didn’t leave the house again for days. Until I decided to take everybody to the pool.

If only I hadn’t insisted on stopping by the post office first. If only Miles hadn’t worn flip-flips. If only I hadn’t asked him to open the heavy, metal-edged door so I could push the stroller through. Maybe then he wouldn’t have sliced off the top of his toe and launched a medical emergency right there in the middle of the post office.

The place looked like a crime scene by the time I’d quieted my son’s screams and rustled up a band-aid. And no one came to our aid, in case you’re wondering. Except for the nice guy who offered Miles a mailing label as an award for bravery. No pool for us. It was off to the doctor’s instead.

I won’t get into the ice cream outing that ended with a preschooler fistfight. Suffice it to say, we’re staying home and watching TV for the rest of the summer.

TIP O’ THE WEEK: Pick a pediatrician you really, really love. I interviewed 3 before my first baby was born. If you’ve got kids like mine, you may see way more of their doctor than your own spouse.


Heather said…

Funny Post! I am now following!

Shannon @ AnchorMommy said…

What is it with people who just walk on by a mother who is clearly in need? I can't believe no one helped you out!

Well, I don't blame you for staying home one bit. In fact, after reading this, I don't think I'm going to set foot outside for a week, at least. You've really been through the ringer!

YUMMama said…

SMH. How rude of that lady to laugh. And what's even more upsetting is that nobody came to your aid at the post office. While, this society is getting worse and worse by the second. I wouldn't stay home all summer though. Accidents happen and you can't keep your kids in a bubble just because passerbys and other parents act like they've never had a moment or two or three.

The more you expose them to and try to get them to understand that when we go this place you have to behave like this, the sooner they will get the message and change may not come over night, but it will come. Hang in there.

katie said…

Ohhhh, so sorry! It is the worst when people laugh. I can't believe no one came to your (or Miles') rescue! I would have, if that restores any of your faith in humanity. 🙂


I've been on many similar outings! Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it if I've spent the whole time yelling at/wrestling with my children. I know getting out of the house saves everyone from losing their marbles, but I've noticed that my children actually enjoy staying at home. So we do our best to balance it out. I don't think we have to be on the go all the time to be good moms. In fact, after a big weekend, today was pajama day. My kids had baths at 2pm! 🙂

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