Our summer of two islands and two countries has come to an end. A bit of a luxury? Sure. Better than spending that money on day camps, water parks, or new toys? Absolutely.
Our girls definitely learn best by doing. Reading books and looking at pictures is great but nothing beats hands-on experience. One of my many favorite little memories from the past week was passing the Amish family buggy on the road near our rental house and the conversation it sparked with Cecilia. You could almost see how the first hand brush with a vastly differently culture was re-mapping her worldview through curiosity and not skepticism.
Whether we were on a working lobster boat or visiting the community bakery, the girls were able to see firsthand how different cultures live, taste the food, and maybe step into their shoes for a short time. These sensory experiences allow the girls to gain knowledge in a more meaningful way. I think that’s worth stretching the budget for.
If you are reading this it means we’ve survived our 12 hour car trip across the border into Canada without an international incident and are back in PEI for a week of mussels….and not much else beyond a relaxing end to the summer.
Family road trips can be many things but mostly they are a test for parents on how long they can keep kids occupied before the children reach their breaking point. I try to see this as a way to help them develop patience and slowly prepare them for a life of sitting in a cube working on TPS reports.
The girls actually did great. We’ve built up their stamina with road trips to Jersey, Philly, and DC and they handled the extra hours pretty well. We did Harry Potter on audio, they did a few movies, there were silly road games, some French pop on the radio, and a breakfast truck stop.
We have three cardinal rules for our road trips: First, keep everyone fed. Second, embrace the chaos with as much humor and patience as you can muster. Third, always bring baby wipes no matter how old your kids (or their father) get.
Like most things in my life recently, I blame most of this adventure on Wicked. While the girls were watching the 15th anniversary show on television, someone (Idina?) said on camera that the original Elphaba dress was now at the Smithsonian.
Now, every other year we travel down to D.C. to visit family for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hmmm. The girls are getting older, why not go a day early and hit up some museums. We’ll use Elphaba’s dress as the lure. We played up the dress, the ruby slippers, and the monuments to get the girls excited. It all worked like a charm. Right up until we got the information desk and we were told, yeah, that thing on TV? Not quite true.
Here’s how the rest of our 24 hours in D.C. with kids went…