Right now we’re in chilly San Francisco. It’s beautiful, interesting, and I couldn’t live here because it’s windy and chilly all the time. I’ve been wearing three layers for three days. Somebody turn up the heat – it’s the end of June!!
By this afternoon I’ll get the heat I’m seeking. After a stop at Oakland Kosher Market for provisions, we’re picking up a 27-foot RV to go to Yosemite for three nights. Wait, aren’t I the girl who said I wasn’t going camping anymore?
Well, it is an RV, not a tent, and at least the raccoons can’t get inside. Don’t remind me about the bears…
In the last three days, I’ve realized just how much better traveling with older kids is than with babies and toddlers. As my father-in-law says, traveling with little kids is a trip, not a vacation. No diaper bags, no diapers, no strollers, not too much whining. We have been walking non-stop the past three days, and only today did I hear “I’m tired,” and that was from Big Girl who had a whopping headache while we were in a science museum.
So here are my rules, some new and some time-tested and mother-approved, for maintaining the no-whine zone:
1. Electronics are to be used in transit or while waiting, but not at sites or in restaurants. And NOT while walking down the street – we’ve all seen adults bump into poles, but these are our kids, and we need to train them to actually look up at where they’re headed!!
2. No cackling. We all know that moment, that moment that makes parental hairs on parental necks stand on end: when the laughter of innocent children becomes the maniacal cackle of evil monsters disguised in Old Navy clothing. The moment when laughing with you becomes laughing at you, which becomes let’s torture him till he overreacts and then claim, “What? He hit me! I didn’t do anything.”
3. Carry food. For us, it’s just a water bottle and a bag of almonds and chocolate chips, but you never know when the munchies are going to strike and in a big city like San Francisco it might be a whole block before you find a bakery or bodega.
4. Set the expectation that there will be one souvenir per person. For Bulldog (age 8), it was a stuffed sea lion (or, as he wrote in his journal, a “see lion”) bought after seeing real sea lions. For Big Girl, at 14, a pair of shoes bought at Fisherman’s Wharf. For Skater, a Miami Heat baseball cap. What? That doesn’t have anything to do with San Francisco! He didn’t care, that’s what he wanted, so that’s what he got.
5. Make them journal. Bulldog is having fun with it, the older two are rolling their eyes at me. But I intend to keep up the torture, they may thank me later. They may not, but I’ll risk that.
What are your rules with traveling kids?