Here's how I spent Easter vacation with my children.
First of all, we planned a delightful little Easter Day, complete with friends over for dinner...a fabulous Easter egg hunt in the garden...chocolates aplenty...cute baskets with thoughtful gifts for each child...Rick took the older ones to the three days of Easter evening services, and culminated the experience with a late night trip to Barnes and Noble's cafe for hot chocolates.
And the activities! One day, I took the three older kids to the park so they could ride bicycles. Another day, I took all five of them to a BBQ at a park next to the Beach, again with bicycles. I took the boys to the Zoo. I let them go to a Cal baseball game with a friend. We had movie nights almost every night -- and introduced them to the Wizard of Oz.
We had ice cream cones. We made home-made lemonade.
I actually took them to McDonald's, and if you know me, you know that this is a big deal. The last time Rick or I took the kids here was October of 2006; it was Samuel's birthday meal choice. This time, I took them there because they filled the bean jar. The one they get beans for if they clean up without complaining, the first time I ask. It has taken them FOREVER to fill the bean jar.
I took them all to a Trip Through Time event, where kids displayed their history projects in a church hall and had interactive exhibits that visitors could get involved in. My boys, especially, loved it. One boy had a DaVinci exhibit, and my 7-year old spent LOTS of time here, making models from toothpicks and beans, creating a DaVinci model parachute, and playing with a prism/perspective contraption. My 9-year old really liked the History of Chocolate exhibit, and the History of Written Music exhibits. At the last one, he got to write with a quill and ink -- so cool. And since we were out and I had not packed lunch, we went to Nation's Giant Burger and then to a park to play play play some more, where Vincenzo got to climb a big ole tree, Sam got to play soccer with a huge pack of big boys, and the girls got to swing to their hearts' content.
Suffice to say that I bent over backwards to give them a fun and interesting Easter vacation...and I thought I did a pretty fantastic job.
Fast forward to today, in the minivan on the way home from picking them up from school. First, the boys asked me to take them to get something to eat. They ask me this EVERY DAY. They think food at restaurants is better than food at home. Nations and McDonald's notwithstanding, we don't actually take them out that often, but they still jones for restaurant food. Anyway, I said NO, like I usually do, and they got very mad at me. Apparently, I never take them ANYWHERE and they never get to do ANYTHING and I am SO MEAN. This quickly transformed into AND I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE A GOOD VACATION WE DIDN"T DO ANYTHING FUN AND WE NEVER DO ANYTHING FUN.
Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend, More hideous when thou show'st thee in a child Than the sea-monster.
To say that motherhood is a thankless job doesn't quite express the jaw dropping, speechlessness that this reaction left me with. I was just unable to speak. At least for a few minutes, after which I spoke plenty. And loudly. And forcefully. Gave those little ingrates a piece of my mind, I can tell you. The only problem is, if I keep giving them pieces of my mind like that, I will definitely give them some pieces I actually need. Screaming like that must chip away at the brain and shave minutes off of a life span. Anyway, I about burst a blood vessel in my strenuous attempts to impress upon them how distasteful such ingratitude is.
I think I brought home my point. They were actually subdued for about five or ten minutes. Amazing.
Whew. This was BEFORE the dinner time fun when I actually -gasp!- made them all try the beef stew I had made. But that particular episode will remain untold for now. Describing one all-out battle between me and my kids is enough for one day.