One more weekday, then the weekend – that’s all I have to get through before life goes back to normal. Two weeks of kidlets home with me has taken a toll, I’m not gonna lie. With one official day left in the “off-school days”, we’re well past having friendly family fun. We’re just trying to keep off each other’s last nerve. It didn’t help that we all had a sluggish round of whatever this nasty flu-thing is that went around for the last few weeks. It made us cranky and kept us from doing much visiting with friends, family, or even people outside the house.
We all pulled it together this afternoon and made our way to Barrie for dinner and then Retro-planet for a night out. It was the first time we had been in the van all week. Not that our feet hadn’t touched the snow – but our tires hadn’t moved off tread marks left there from 2011. Sincerely. We’ve been hibernating, and like all bears coming back into the civilized world – we were a little overwhelmed.
Dinner worked out okay – but who can complain when you’re stuffing your gob with Mucho Burrito? But by the time we hit the parking lot of Retro-planet the kids were at odds. This is one of those Chuck. E. Cheese type places with an arcade and laser tag and glow in the dark putt-putt, and it tops my daughter’s list of favourite places to go. My son on the other hand is heading into those teen years where kids screaming and games ringing and people putt-putting is sort of lame-o.
So she can’t wait to get in there and asks if we can stay till midnight. My son wants to be home by 7:00 (and it’s already 7:25). He doesn’t want to play the redemption games and won’t even take a token from the little plastic cup. For those of you who haven’t gotten sucked into the Chuck-culture – you play the game for a token or two, it spits out a few tickets, you feed the tickets into a machine that spits out a slip with your ticket total on it, and then you trade that in for crappy penny toys. Essentially you spend $20 on tokens to get 75 cents of plastic crap or a pixie stick to sugar the kids up for the ride home. All this among many other families with many other fighting siblings and kids jacked up on sugar and stimulation. It’s joyous, really. I get why my son – who is as laid back as an old weather-beaten summer chaise – is growing to despise this type of scene. But still – its family fun night, we haven’t left the house all week – suck it up buttercup and play the damn arcade game.
By the time I talk him into a game of air hockey with me, things are looking up. He forgets he hates the place and decides to focus on the game after I score once on him – after all, he doesn’t want to get sunk by his mom. (Now that would be lame-o). So things are going along great until my daughter comes over and wants to join in, which I think is sweet. We watch them play and get along. How nice – isn’t it nice? Life is good. I even get a chance to hug my hubby and challenge him to a water-shooting game. By the time I’ve beat him and am gloating about my nine tickets spat out over his measly three –all hell had broken loose with the kids. Sam pulverized Lainey in the game – something like 12-2 and she brought the game to a close by “passing” him the puck by picking up and tossing (by her account) or whipping (by his account) the puck. Either way – it hit his finger and caused life threatening injuries to the end of his fingernail. My daughter is a terrible sore loser, and my son is a skilled milker. Combined, it makes for drama.
I ask you this, dear readers – can you imagine going to a cool place like that when you were young and acting like such little ingrates? My parents wouldn’t have stood for it. At least I don’t think they would have, but we didn’t have places like Retro- planet to fight in. When I was a kid, it was a big deal to head to the Ponderosa once in a blue moon and make your way up the cafeteria line for a slab of steak. There was no midway games or other forms of fun for kids there – no – you just ate your dinner somewhere other than your kitchen table at home. Heck – my dad wouldn’t even let me get away with pocketing one of the “diamonds” from the gardens in front of the restaurant. He would have turned that darn bus around and headed home rather than have me steal a simple rock from the family steakhouse. And I didn’t argue about it. I sucked it up, emptied the 42 pieces of limestone from my jeans pockets, and headed inside for some cafeteria meat. And all the while I still felt blessed because we were out on the town. How have things gone so far off the mark?
My mother reads this blog, so maybe I’ll stand to be corrected. Maybe we did fight in public and act like selfish and rude, but I don’t recall it being like that. I really don’t. But then, I was a perfect child, so that might explain it.
The good news is – the kids had to go to bed as soon as we got home, which meant I got some time to myself to read, to write, and to breathe. I guess the night worked out after all. One more weekday, then the weekend. But who’s counting?