July 5th, 2012

Where I Have Been and What I Am Doing

I'm not posting very frequently. There are reasons.

First, we went to Storyland and Santa's Village. We left a week ago Tuesday and returned last Saturday. We spent Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Storyland (nominally -- mostly at the hotel the first two of those days) and after checking out Saturday morning, we spent a little over 4 hours at Santa's Village before returning. This is our third trip doing more or less the same thing: drive up to North Conway. Check into a hotel. Go to Storyland the following morning. Swim in hotel pool. Visit outlet shops. Take kids to grocery store/fast food/ice cream/etc. Sleep. Lather rinse repeat.

We've had some issues with where we have stayed in the past. The first trip, I took a risk and didn't get a full kitchen. That turned out to be a huge error. The second trip, we stayed at a place that seemed to have an awesome pool/water play facility. But the water play facility was _loud_ and A. wouldn't go near it. Also, our unit had huge problems with an air filter that we didn't realize was causing a massive allergic reaction. Once it was replaced, R. got better, but it took a while to identify the problem. We've also had some problems with the kids in hotel pools, which I'm not going to get into here (gross, okay? Let's just leave it at that. We are NOT innocent parties).

Anyway. The Residence Inn (which is quite new) turned out to work well for us. This is not a surprise; we stay at these places everywhere else. This will just reinforce my natural tendency to want to do everything the exact same way everywhere I go. The kids had had their first swimming lesson the Monday before our departure, and that meant that A. was happy to get into the pool after spending about a year being highly resistant to going past the entry steps (possibly more than a year). Unfortunately, T. still had (note verb tense) a tendency to drink the pool water, resulting in gastro issues. It took us a couple of days to resort to children's imodium; once we did, they started being willing to stay in the park and going on rides longer. Go figure; if you feel like you're going to have diarrhea, rides just aren't as much fun. It did not occur to me until even later to explain to him that drinking pool water leads to owie tummy, which has at least got him to try really hard to drink less of it.

T. is sufficiently verbal that I was able to explain about the trip in advance this time. In previous years, this has not been successful (verb tenses, again), and we've had significant battles upon arrival (unloading stuff) and when bedtime arrives (wanting to go home). This time, he was so game for the trip, it became possible to get the kids to behave by threatening to call it quits and go home; they actually _wanted_ to stay. Every previous trip they've wanted to end early (and we often have left early, if planes were not involved).

The first day, we split up. On the succeeding days, I tried really hard to keep the four of us together, mostly because I was hoping I could convince T. to stick in the park a little longer. It turns out that both kids kinda liked that.

The weather was cool with some rain the first few days, but then warmed up, allowing the kids to enjoy playing in water features (the hotel pool was indoors, so that didn't really matter) at the amusement parks and in the public park. Also, we went on very splash-y flume and raft rides, but enjoyed it.

They've since had a second swimming lesson. I signed them up for lessons in the therapy pool in the next town over, based on a recommendation from someone in our local school system. The kids have a half hour together. After the first lesson, M. was a little reluctant to try to continue with them together (T. was being obstreperous); after the second lesson, M. thought things would work out after all. I've since bought us a summer membership and taken the kids to play in the kiddie pool.

Their summer programs started on the 2nd, however they did not (obviously) have school on the 4th. For whatever reason, T.'s program also did not have class on the 5th, and he doesn't have class on Fridays, so I've been trying to keep him busy. We went to Nara park to go swimming at the town beach, which was extremely comfortable. It was warm enough to enjoy being in the water, but just a bit cloudy so I didn't feel like I had to break out the sunblock. I was going to take them both out to the indoor kiddie pool after A. got home, but instead we got out the small inflatable and played in that. R. has since taken them out to the bike path. Normally, R. takes T., and they'll do anything from 5 to 15 miles on the Nashua River trail. This time, A. went with the trailabike; we'll see how that turns out.

T. continues in his de-cluttering efforts. Lately, he's been wanting to pack up bags of stuff to take to HGRM. Which is a good idea, because a year or so ago I got the contents of my condo shipped out to me and we now have 2-3 of all kinds of household things. Once we've picked out what we want, we really should pass along the rest of it. Today's efforts included unloading a shelving unit (not one of the industrial ones; a nice one) and bringing it upstairs to store toys in the upstairs all. While I was at it, I unpacked the iMac from 2001 which I abandoned in late 2003. It's sitting on the dining table in the living room (not the kitchen table, which we actually need to keep sort of clear) where I have established that it definitely still works -- but I need to get it connected to a network because I never bought an Airport card for it. I was thinking I'd let the kids play with it so they could get more used to a keyboard and a mouse, but the screen on it is much worse than I remember (this is the last of the CRTs) so I'm just not sure. If it does turn out to be desirable to keep around, I'll have to come up with a better home than the table.

In addition to the usual array of control-freaky-me freak-outs, T. carried two iPads from the hotel room out to the van on our second day at Storyland. Well, he tried. I didn't notice he was doing this and R. didn't realize that I don't generally let them carry iPads outside (because it just doesn't seem safe to me). Unfortunately, T. dropped the newest one, which only has a Smart Cover, corner down on concrete with predictable results. We were in North Conway, which meant the nearest Apple Stores were in places like South Portland, Salem and Nashua. Also, while the hotel room had free high-speed wireless, it seems they were throttling streaming downloads, and both kids were wanting to watch video which I had not put enough of on the iPads -- and one of the older iPads has the minimum memory on it anyway. *sigh*

Fortunately, Apple will deal with that predictable outcome (fractured screen, but still functioning touch) for $300, which I got around to dealing with last Monday when the kids started school. I also bought the replacement a Smart Case, in hopes it might protect a hypothetical (and to be avoided) future drop on the corner incident. In the meantime, we made sure T. understood clearly that he had broken the iPad with video his sister was watching and therefore had to share his iPad until we could get more video downloaded on another iPad. Also, R. now has a fuller understanding of what looks like aw-just-let-them-do-anything, but which is actually a lot more nuanced. Unfortunately, it seems that my detailed and fully internalized set of principles for keeping the kids mostly out of trouble while minimizing arguments and obvious rules may be really, really, really hard for anyone else to learn.