The kids are in ESS (Extended School Services) this week at one of the local elementary schools. It is an extremely well-run program, the staff is attentive, they split up the kids into manageable groups, keep them busy and active and best of all...the kids LOVE it! When I picked them up yesterday, they were excited about the craft projects they'd made and were filthy-dirty and pink-cheeked from playing outside all day.
On a daily basis, the kids aren't always a cup of tea. They are both 7 and both high-spirited (a nice way of saying they are a handful).
The Boy is a teaser. He will bug and bug and bug a person until they just can't take it anymore and will haul off and slug him! He's also majoring in the art of negotiation. I find anything I have an answer for is retorted with, "No, but..." and followed by his reasoning for why I should change my answer!
The Girl is Autistic and generally pretty easy-going but once she gets going on an idea, she has a hard time letting go and it usually escalates into a fit. She doesn't like being in trouble (well, really who doesn't?) but can't admit when she's wrong, she will adamantly insist that she's right...even when we KNOW the truth!
So my days are generally spent refereeing these two strong-headed kids. Neither of them are particularly good at giving in, which I suppose is a strong suit but a challenge for me. I'm so moody and hormonal lately (16 weeks pregnant) that I just don't want to hear any more tattling ("She poked me in the eye" and "He stole my book") or "Stop that! Stop that! Stop that!" on a loop, you know what I mean??
At the Fair this weekend
This past weekend we decided to take the kids to the Fair. My husband's grandma works there as a supervisor so she'd already given us free entry tickets and 20 ride coupons. I'd told the kids that they'd each get to ride about 3 things.
We first walked through one of the animal barns and checked out the hundreds of prize chickens and roosters, the goats, llamas and the biggest steer I've ever seen.
"Let's go on the rides!", said The Girl.
Soon, I said, we're going to eat first.
We got souvenir cups and drinks from Nana and went to the Chuckwagon to eat. This was the only money spent all day, $19.50 on two plates of food that we split between the four of us. Oh, the smoked bbq pork sandwich with cole slaw was SO good and even though Danny said, "I'm not that hungry" he still ate half of it and all of the beans (which I knew he would!). The kids shared a foot-long hot dog and criss-cut fries.
"When are we going on the rides?", asked The Girl.
Pretty soon, I said, let's digest our food and then we'll walk over there.
After exploring the fine art exhibits, student showcase, and refilling our drink cups (thanks Nana!) we wandered out to where they were holding a chalk drawing competition. The infield and kiddie rides could be seen from this point, including an elephant ride, the gigantic slide and Ferris wheel.
There was no stopping them now.
"I have an idea!" says The Girl, "Let's go on the rides now!"
Talk about subtle! We finally headed over to the infield, bracing ourselves for what isn't always a pleasant experience. I warned the kids to watch where they were walking in case someone had spilled a drink or thrown up. The carnies were hollering out about how everyone wins a prize at their games but we headed to the other side of the infield with our 20 ride coupons in hand.
We'd prepped them about being able to ride about 3 things. The kids quickly agreed that The Spider was the first ride. This was followed by something fast and spinny (too spinny for me to take pictures!) and then the Swinging Pirate Ship.
We had 5 tickets left. Each kid ride takes between 3-5 tickets so instead of buying more tickets, Dad suggested that we find a kid and give the tickets to him. Our kids loved that idea and scrambled to spot someone. They were so excited to walk up to the kid and hand over their leftover tickets.
We walked out of the infield, past the booths selling fried-everything-on-a-stick, Hawaiian ice, past the balloons and inflatable things and past a screaming child hopping up and down mid-temper tantrum.
"Thank goodness we don't have one of those", I whispered to my husband.
Our kids held our hands and we went happily back to the bus that would take us back to the car. They were excited to sit in the farthest seat in the back.
"That was easy," I said. Danny looked past me at the kids, sitting together and looking out the bus window, sipping our of their drink cups. "Yeah, it was...they never asked for anything".
It was true, we'd prepped them beforehand so they knew what to expect (lunch, drinks and a few rides) and they never asked for anything else. It reminded me of the Disneyland trip, where they were absolutely perfectly behaved the entire two days, despite the long hours on their feet. They never whined or asked for anything during that trip either.
It's unfortunate that my daily dealings can't run as smooth. Too bad I can't make every day as exciting as The Fair and each errand as fun as Disneyland or the kids would always be cooperative and happy!
"We have them well-trained", I said.