When a vacation isn’t really a vacation at all.

Last week was “Vacation Week” here in Maine.  Vacation Week is when all the schools close.  HOORAY! say the kids.  YIPPEE! say the teachers.  ARGGH! go the parents.  Vacation Week translates to 7 days of overcrowded conditions at every kid-friendly venue w/in driving distance.  We never had this sort of thing in Philly.  No way.  It must be exclusively New England.  I found out that Boston schools also had the week off.  So I’d imagine New Hampshire, maybe even Vermont also participate.  If you are rich, you can have the nanny take the kids someplace.  Heck- if you are rich, you can fly somewhere for the duration and let the nanny deal with them at home.  But for those of us living in the real world, Vacation Week is a 7-day test of wills.

My vacation week was spent mostly refereeing between my daughters.  My younger one has developed an acute sensitivity to all sounds made by her older sister.  So much of the week was filled with variations of the following scenario:

YOUNGER DAUGHTER:  (Expressing extreme exasperation) UUUUGH!!  Madison – STOP IT!  Mommmm, Maddie’s making SUCKY NOISES!

OLDER DAUGHTER:  I am NOT.  She’s touching me!!  Quit touching me!!  MOMMMMMMM!!  Make her stop!!!

By Monday, I was ready for a real vacation.  Which of course meant I was sh!t outta luck, since I cannot fly and we don’t have a nanny.  So what did we do?  We went to the movies.  The girls wanted to see Planet 51, but it wasn’t playing anywhere.  I wanted to see Fantastic Mr. Fox, but it wasn’t playing anywhere.  I suggested Percy Jackson – which sounds like a Greek Harry Potter, but the girls said No.  So we wound up at The Tooth Fairy.  Did I mention we got there just as the movie was starting, and since it was Vacation Week & everyone else was also there, we had to sit in the 2nd row?

Tuesday.  The girls had two of their best friends over, who also happen to be 2 sisters.  Normally they get along really well, but for vacation week the 5 hour play date was more like boot camp.  For some reason, the girls kept pairing off and picking fights w/ each other.  The fact that our very large dog, Max, viewed the whole thing as a novelty to be impinged upon didn’t help matters.  At one point, Max knocked over the smaller of the 2 sisters and attempted to mate with her back.  Funny?  NOT FUNNY AT ALL.  Did I mention she was outside, it was snowing and the ground was covered in mud?  And she was wearing her brand new jeans she’d gotten the day before?

Wednesday.  We’d been planning on going to Vermont for the weekend, so I had a bazillion errands to run.  To the vet to buy Sir Humps Alot more food.  To the thrift shop.  The Library.  The Grocery Store.  The Other Pet Shoppe.  You name it.  The 2 sisters called to invite the girls over for a sleepover.  I was there in 20 minutes w/ a dozen Dunkin Donuts.   AHHH.  Vacation Week.

Thursday.  Friends from Philly stopped by in the morning, on their way to Northern Maine.  The girls returned from the sleepover.  We went out to lunch at Indian Buffet.  We left Indian Buffet and I was immediately informed my daughters were hungry.  We decided against going to Vermont, since it was cold & snowy there, and in Portland it was gorgeous, sunshiny and 40 degrees.  I put away our snowshoes and we went to the beach.  The girls fought in the car, on the beach and everywhere in between.

Friday.  We went to Boston.  Ignorant of the fact Boston’s children were also on Vacation Week, we made our way to the Children’s Museum.  Aka, GROUND ZERO.  The entrance line trailed nearly out the door.  Every single stroller in Bean Town appeared to be in tow.  The place was so damn packed I gave up trying to do anything but stand someplace, anyplace out of the way.  Note to self: If I should ever have another child, teach them to walk IMMEDIATELY.

Saturday.  We went to the community center to go swimming.  My first time.  Since my hair is longer than shoulder length, I was required to wear a swim cap.. which I didn’t have.  So I had to borrow one from the LOST & FOUND.  Since they were fresh out of circa 2010 cloth caps, I was forced to wear the one grandma bequeathed the pool in 1960.  The ear flaps were an added bonus.

Sunday.  The highlight of Vacation Week comes on its last day.  We drove north to Popham Beach State Park.  Miles of wide coast, sand bars, and rocky isles.  The day was beautiful.  The kids barely fought.  Even the dog was on his best behavior.  Almost made me wish for another week of vacation..  NOT.

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11 thoughts on “When a vacation isn’t really a vacation at all.

  1. New Hampshire & most parochial schools have vacation the week following ours. When we were on vacation, one of us 4 could have a friend over; I think the rest of us played over at a friend’s house OR we were all outside. Mom was good at getting us outside most of the time, at least that was where I went, & preferred to be. We dressed for being outdoors, playing outdoors like the rest of the kids. On days that were too bad to be out or if any of us were sick in bed THEN the surprise toy came out. Every Christmas, actually the day after, we each looked at our stash & needed to select 2 gifts we would let Mom put away in a closet. Then when weather was very bad we could choose from the closet which of our 2 toys we wanted to use that day, only to return it to the closet that night. It would be in the closet, safe, until the next stormy day. Before the next Christmas, that secured closet, usually in Mom & Dad’s room, was emptied to our toy boxes waiting for the new stash for the coming year. The procedure repeated if we were home sick. That tradition kept up until about when I went to jr. high school. And when we might have a ‘new’ toy, no one else was to bother us. Yes, our poor mother went through those Mom-m-m-she’s-copying-me OR Mom-she’s-making-grunting-noises-at-everything-I-do days. I did, too, when my kids were young; & I had a boy & girl two yrs apart. Thank goodness you survived the week. Just look at the experience as preparing you for the next stage. Eventually all the stages build on each other with the outcome being that you admit you have great kids who are just being curious kids. At least they aren’t out doing drugs or killing/robbing anyone. You’ll survive. Ask your mother; she lived through it. We all do.
    Have you noticed any early flowers coming up by the rock wall next to the driveway? The rocks reflect the sun’s warmth on the old bulbs along there. Spring usually doesn’t pop out in full glory until about Memorial Day weekend & lasts until about mid June. Then late August into September you get what you saw when you 1st saw the house. That’s our yard in Maine. Kate

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    1. Hi Kate, I often tuck things away for a rainy day, but never in such an organized fashion. Listen up, parents – a good tip! No flowers up yet, but if the sun keep shining this way, it won’t be long.

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  2. And it’s taken you a week to recover!
    The old Please Touch had a stroller area– you couldn’t bring your strollers into the museum.
    The new one… lets you bring your stroller in. If it’s not too crowded, it’s a small annoyance. If it is too crowded, it’s hard to move around (especially in the grocery store). Yeah, it’s a lot bigger, but I don’t know why they just didn’t keep the no-stroller rule. If your kids can walk, they shouldn’t be in the stroller– they should be playing. If they are not walking, they shouldn’t be toooooo heavy to keep in a sling or something. Well, what do I know. Lilia got pretty heavy by 6 months, and couldn’t walk till she was a little past a year… but still… you are hogging up a huge amount of space with that stroller– and I’m sure you know how big some of those things are!

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    1. Laura, I completely agree. Most of the people at the museum were carrying their kids, or the kids were running around. The parents were just pushing these (often enormous) EMPTY strollers from place to place, taking up boatloads of room. They bang into you, you bang into them, it can’t be helped. They just take up too much space and restrict everyone’s freedom of movement. I guess my point is, it’s not just the strollers themselves, it’s the parents. There are a lot of people who use strollers and are thoughtful. They tuck them out of the way when not in use, or at least roll them over to a corner. But even then, they’re often too big to get out of the way. But some people are so completely oblivious, they’ll roll you over as soon as look at you. Drives me NUTS!

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  3. What a whirlwind week! You are hilarious! Sir Humps Alot…LOL…and the grandma swimcap…hahahaha!!

    At least your daughters have each other to get on each other’s nerves. My son is an only child and we homeschool so I am the one who gets on his nerves. Ugh!! He says to me, “Mom, I love you, but you just get on my nerves.” :-/

    Being as we homeschool, I never keep up with the public school calendar so I sometimes get caught in situations such as yours with loads of kids everywhere and then I wonder what’s going on…Ah, school is out.

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    1. Oh trust me, the swim cap was just the tip of the iceberg. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of swimming to begin w/ – my crazy ear always hurts afterward from the cold water. But I went anyway to make my family happy. So I am faced w/ this hideous swim cap. It took me FOREVER to even squeeze the thing on – the plastic rips your hair out. I looked like a freak, then I get in the pool it is FREEZING and my husband starts busting on me, saying I am going to get lice, etc. The indignity!

      I am so sorry your son says you get on his nerves. I say you threaten to send him to military school.

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  4. Friday sounds like a nightmare.
    Saturday demands a photo. You DID take a photo of you in your gran cap with ear flaps, right? Please say you did! Must see!!

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