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Parenting Vacation

This past weekend we took a drive to Washington, DC. For those of you who have never been, it is a fantastic place to go with kids. All the big museums are free, there are tons of outdoor places to wander around in, and there is always something special going on. For example, this Saturday was the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival, an event that involved hundreds of people flying kites on the National Mall. 

It was awesome!
FYI, flying a kite is not as easy as it looks. I spent a very frustrating 45 minutes attempting to get ours into the air before Matthew showed up and used his Math voodoo on it, adjusting the strings to exactly the right shape and angle. 
He is a smarty pants.
Maya's favorite part of the trip was of course, the hotel pool, which she visited no fewer than four times over the weekend. We had a good deal going. First came the breakfast buffet. I then got half an hour of sipping coffee and reading the paper, long enough to get that sweet caffeine flowing through my veins, before putting on my bathing suit and jumping into the chilly water. But Maya was fair. If I spent some time pretending to be a shark or playing "pool dance party", I could then sit in the hot tub and watch her splash around from a distance. She could have stayed in there all day.

I loved the kite festival and the Air and Space Museum. But my favorite part of the trip was actually Saturday night, in the hotel room. Since we had a two room suite with a kitchen, we decided to stay in and cook dinner one night. We made a simple meal of pesto pasta, which we ate in the living room while watching the Food Network. (Watching cooking shows while eating dinner is a lovely multimedia experience. It also keeps you from doing something stupid like ordering an entire rack of BBQ ribs or trying to eat an ice cream sundae the size of the White House just to see if you can.) The sofa was folded out to be Maya's bed so she actually ate her meal under the covers. And her dessert under the covers. 

Here she is eating an Oreo in bed. Yum!

And what the hell, since we were on vacation we then told her she could watch TV until she said she was ready for to go to sleep. 

You should have seen the look she gave us. You mean I can eat cookies in bed and stay up as long as I want to? Who are you people and what have you done with my parents???

Hey, its Spring Break. Somewhere right now a drunk college girl is removing her top for beads. Why not let my five year old break a few rules too? 

Kindergartners Gone Wild!!

But seriously, the point of a vacation is to shake up your normal routine. To have an adventure. And sometimes even to (gasp!) actually relax. So why can't we let go of some of those pesky parenting responsibilities too. Go ahead, have ice cream for breakfast. Watch some extra TV. Skip the nap. Say yes to "just one more" whatever. Wear pajamas all day. Take a bath in the morning instead. Pass on the broccoli, just this once. And, if your four hour drive home unfortunately turns into a six hour drive, she can have whatever the hell she wants. French fries? Yes. Jelly Beans from her Easter basket? Yes. The free milkshake the Wendy's guy offered her at the rest area? Yes. A Star Wars marathon? Yes. Yes. Yes. Whatever keeps her from whining. On I95. In barely crawling traffic. 

Of course, in order to have a rules free weekend you have to have rules to begin with. It is your reward for actually parenting the rest of the time, for doing the real work day in and day out. Those of you who never say no to your kids are not just lazy, you are depriving your children (and yourself) the thrill of a special treat.  Who wants every single day to be their birthday? No, really.

By the way, this trick works for grownups too. Don't believe me? Eat super healthy all week and then on Sunday, order a burger and fries. You'll see.

Also, if you are like us and do not get away very often, you don't have to wait until your next trip to have a "wild weekend". Just do it. Make this Saturday night movie night. Eat popcorn and peanut M&M's in bed. Stay up waaaaay past bedtime. I'll be right there with you. We can Skype.

Don't worry, we'll start that parenting stuff again first thing Monday morning.
Its a tough job but I love it!


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