So what do you do when you have a 3 day holiday weekend for the 4th of July, you want to avoid the crowds and heat at the parade, the fireworks are too late at night for your children,you already had your super fun picnic on Saturday and were busy all day outside on Sunday but now its Monday, and nothing good is on TV? The same thing our forefathers did with their families ~200 years ago: Kill time until bed time!
You know our forefathers were also fathers. When they were not fighting revolutionary wars or framing our constitution and setting a government of the people for the people, they were at home brainstorming with their wives how to kill time until bed just like we do today. I mean you can only take a horseback ride or throw sticks into the creek for so long until the kids want to do something else. Life back then was rough. Think about it, they didn't even have Nick Jr. Nick Jr. is like pre-school 24 hours a day 7 days a week. They had the school marm who had to teach 100 kids grades first through 12 the same lesson in an 8'x 8' school house. No wonder so many dropped out by the sixth grade! They probably heard the same lesson 6 times at that point. Of course I am basing all my assumptions on Little House on the Prairie and if I were in their situation, if I had to be in the same class with Nelly I either drop out or opt for home schooling. But I digress. Point being, time killing has been around since the foundation of this country and before. I am surprised it wasn't included in the Bill of Rights, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of time killing or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom to do anything deemed necessary and fair during the day to kill time with your children until their appointed bed time which shall not intercede or overlap into the Parent's God-given right to watch CSI or the Bachelor and therein to judge said Bachelor for his douchbaggery and pretentiousness."
I must say we had originally had plans to go to the parade in the morning. But after waking up 6:30 and already dealing with cranky toddlers who had bickered for a straight 2 hours, the thought of fighting traffic and huge crowds and blistering heat or rain showers to watch a parade, if you even get a spot toward the street, that may or may not throw candy from the floats but will generously hand out paper advertisements for Karate or Dance Studios or your local congressman/judge/county auditor/sheriff and then leaving the area traffic will cause you make it home 15 minutes after they have all fallen asleep in the car exchanging a 15 minute nap for their normal 2 hour nap in their own beds causing you to also miss out on your nap time/off-duty parent time, did not seen worth the trip to a parade today. So instead we have good intentions to take them and our new puppy to the dog park. That went well for 10 minutes until Nate wanted to get down to play with the strange dogs, including the Jack Russel Terrier who growled and nipped at every dog in there including our 7 month old ferocious shi-poo 7 lbs attack puppy. So the 25 minute car ride was worth the 10 minute dog park time.
From there we were able to make it back to the house with everyone staying awake and taking advantage of the much needed "nap time/Adult swim." We were all able to take naps, some shorter than others (sorry Lindsey) due to a 6 year old who hates naps as much as broccoli. But I got to take one, God bless America! When we were all awake, we decided to brave the place only daring or selfish parents attempt to take their children: the movie theater. We loaded up on snacks, candy, and sippy cups and set out for the dollar theater. Dollar theater because we were honest with ourselves knowing we might not make it through the whole thing and it is easier to leave a $3 theater bill versus a $60 AMC spend-a-thon after tickets and snacks. We took the 20 month old for his first movie, Rio. Nate was on my lap and everything was going well for the first bag of M&Ms, then Nate started to get fidgety. At this point here is the tally for what was covered in chocolate from Nate's M&Ms: his hands, his face, his hair, his forehead, his clothes, my arms, my shirt, my pants, the movie chair, and the bottom of his left shoe. The candy that melts in your mouth not in you hand, my foot! No really, it was on my foot too! Nate was then given a sucker which he proceeded to touch my arm and face with until he got upset about being on my lap and threw it 10 feet down the aisle. Of course that was after he took his shoe off and also tossed that on the floor. So what did I do when M&Ms and suckers no longer satisfy? That's right, send him down to Mommy. She was already dealing with Drew who was also fidgety and had consumed his own 3000 calories in chocolate and licorice. Nate wanted to sit on the folding movie seat but due to his light weight, fell between the seat and back of the chair and got stuck. I then had to pull him out while Lindsey is telling me to find his second shoe on the floor that he had removed. So I am now on my hands and knees in the dollar theater feeling around in the dark finding nothing but used sucker sticks and wet M&Ms that went into the mouth but then fell out, only to find out Nate still had his second shoe on his foot! So being sticky, covered in chocolate, sucker sticks, and something green, feeling a sugar headache approaching, Nate beginning to scream uncontrollably, Drew unable to sit in one place for 2 seconds, and Zachary talking to the screen like he was the only one there, it was time to leave. We walked out of the theater and saw that Nate had what looked like dried blood all over his hands and forehead! But after licking his head I found it to be melted red candy coating. Zachary then asked if we were going back in to finish the movie to which Lindsey responded "No, we wanted to leave early to make sure we beat the crowds coming out of the theater and make it to our car first." She is so funny and he bought it. The best part of the movie trip: it took us right up to bath and bed time. They had so much crap food at the movies, we pumped them full of carrots for dinner and sent them off to bed.
Avoided a parade, check. Visited the dog park, check. Got a nap, check. Attempted a family movie, check. No blood, only M&Ms, check. Children in bed by 7:30, check. Time killed today, check. Showered and unsticky, not checked.
Thank you forefathers for being fathers too,
The Joyful and Tired Dad