How Monkey Joe's Happens to Families
Well it happened. I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened. We were circling the snake floor of the science museum and the oldest complained, "Mom, this isn't fun. Can we go to Monkey Joe's?" To think - we even got to see the sloth. THE SLOTH. In the ten times I have visited the museum over the past couple years (which is maybe why it wasn't fun anymore), the sloth has been awake once. This was the moment of a lifetime - mark it down, we saw the sloth carry a piece of celery to his box.
"This is boring."
Read the placards. Isn't this why you go to kindergarten? You are supposed to learn to read and then magically the world opens up, and your curiosity compels you to read the placards by yourself in the science museum and never be bored again!
"Can I take a picture with your phone?"
"No." I stick my phone back in my pocket. "Hey look, a waterfall!"
"Can we go now?"
Look child, if an awake sloth doesn't totally rock your weekend, then I don't know what will... Oh wait, you say a sweaty germ-infested bounce house with screaming kids, oblivious parents, and elbows and knees constantly flying a mere two centimeters from your precious face would? Alright. I give up. Let's go home.
As we click our buckles I look over at Joe and sigh, "Well that was only mildly painful."
And this friends, is why when you ask a parent "How was your weekend? What did you guys do?" you get met with blank stares. We try to not be "those" parents. We try to walk the tight wire of not being overindulgent and catering to the "entertain me" generation and not being negligent. We try to keep our phones in our pockets (except when photographing said sloth) and engage them in conversation. We try to do something educational and tame and has typically been a big hit with the kids. We try teach them how their attitudes, not circumstances, dictate the level of boredom.
However, we failed not because of poor parenting (at least not this time), but because in their heart of hearts, the moment they woke up that morning, they were headed to Monkey Joe's. We held them off after lunch and through the early afternoon hours, then went out to eat dinner at 3:30 pm so our bouncing kids wouldn't catapult you mid-bite of Mexican rice from the other side of the booth seat. And then, full of tacos, driving home, "So, we are going to Monkey Joe's now?" That's when the chanting and nervous giggles began. They knew they were winning us over, but were careful not to over-assert their progress on the case. "Pleaaaaaaase!"
Me: "Well, it would wear them out."
Joe: "I don't want to go to Monkey Joe's"
Me: "I have two Groupon passes on my phone.."
Monkeys in the back seat: "MONKEY JOE'S! MONKEY JOE'S! WE'RE GOING TO MONKEY JOE'S!"
Me: "Want to stop and get your prescription on the way?"
This is how it happened. No lie. Just like that, we were sitting in mall traffic northbound to hell.
But I'll tell you what, seeing the youngest smile and climb and defend his place in line with his arms stretched out, and seeing them laugh and run, and having to carry their tired limp bodies up the stairs to bed when we got home, it was all okay. I kind of think we won. Joe, however, is still recovering from defeat.