My “Weekend of Yes”
Like every parent, I try to strike a balance between carefree fun times and serious learning moments. I want my children to grow up to be responsible, hard-working adults who understand and respect rules. But I also want them to enjoy their youth and learn that’s life is too short to take everything too seriously.
I recently organized our family’s first staycation right here in Kansas City.
My husband was leery at first. He worried that the whole weekend would be lame since we weren’t even leaving our hometown. But that just made me determined to prove him wrong. (Not to mention that gypsies can always find something new in their surroundings, right? There are benefits to being a perpetual tourist!)
I started to think about what really gets my kids excited and it was simple. They like it when I say “yes.” Poor kids have to listen to me shoot down their requests all day.
“Can I use this Sharpie marker?
“Can I cut my own hair?”
Can we have cake before dinner?”
It never stops. I feel like the I was put on this planet to stop all of their fun.
So for our staycation, I decided to dub it the “Weekend of Yes.”
The sad part is that I had to really THINK about it. My knee-jerk reaction is to just blurt out “no” in response to all of my kids’ wild requests. But this weekend, if it couldn’t severely injure them, I was going to let it slide.
We took our first trip to Kansas City’s Legoland (sidenote: extreme Lego lovers and kids ages 7 and up are much more likely to enjoy this place than younger ones but live and learn, right?). The kids jumped into the activities and started their typical line of questioning. “Can we climb on this?” I had to fight it… I promise you. But I looked around and told myself, they can’t break that Lego structure, odds are that tons of unsupervised kids have already done it, just chill, Mama. “Yeah, go ahead.” You should have seen their FACES! They climbed and crawled, all while watching me to see if I would change my mind, but instead I just watched and enjoyed their bliss. And it just kept going from there.
“Can we eat now?”
(Literally minutes after we entered the place and while we were nowhere near the Café)
“Will you sit with me and play?”
“Can we just try that ride and see if we like it?”
That was awesome! Can we get straight back in line and do it again?”
After a while, it started getting easier for me. And I felt like the fun mom instead of a fun hater for once!
Once we arrived at our hotel, I unveiled the next big surprise. There was a very modest water park. It was no Great Wolf Lodge, but the Sleep Inn in Liberty offered two pools and a water slide. No one was complaining about that! We got in our rooms and I went full-fledge vacation mama on them. I climbed on the beds and immediately started jumping and bouncing from bed to bed. The kids tossed their shoes aside and joined me in a fit of giggles. The “Weekend of Yes” continued.
“Can we go swimming right now?”
Off we went.
“I’m getting hungry, can we eat soon?”
“Yes!” (I ordered pizza to be delivered to the pool … bonus points for me!)
“Can I have an Izzy drink with my dinner?”
“Can I get back in the pool?”
After the pool, my husband reminded me that Liberty has a Sheridan’s Frozen Custard, which is a local favorite of ours. So we threw on dry clothes and went for ice cream without bothering to shower first.
“Can I have chocolate chips on my chocolate ice cream?”
When we got back to the hotel, my 4-year-old complained that her head hurt. I thought that maybe it was her ears, since she was in the pool earlier. So I told her to snuggle up next to me and just rest. She started to drift off to sleep and before I knew it she was dry heaving in an ice bucket. Oh snap. The wrath of the “Weekend of Yes” was upon us. What had I done? I started to replay it all in my head. Spinning rides, jumping on beds, pizza, carbonated drinks, swimming, ice cream. It was too much! What did I do to my baby?!? I took her to the lobby to try to settle her down and help her move around a bit.
Luckily she rallied and eventually passed out (in the middle of the bed, of course). In the morning, she opened her eyes and said, “I feel all better! Can we go to the pool again?”
“Yes. But first we’re going to eat a healthy breakfast.”
Lesson learned: We all need to cut loose sometimes, even kids. It feels great to say “yes” once in a while. But just try not to let anyone end their “Weekend of Yes” with their head hanging over a hotel ice bucket!
-By Emily Shedek