Once again, my friend, Christie and I headed down south to see the Todd family in Buford, Georgia. This has become an annual trip to wherever their destination may be. We've been to Adel, Georgia, enough to feel at home there (and know our way around) and this was our third trip to Buford. We still aren't completely familiar enough to take off without some help from Siri or Tracy, the human GPS, but we're getting there. Laughter and fun are always a part of the trip. If I haven't left with sore ribs from laughing, the trip isn't complete. Mission accomplished.
This year, my recap will include lessons learned from the view of parenting. I'm not a parent, but I do love me some preschoolers. Living a few days at Hotel Todd, you learn all sorts of great lessons on raising children and the life they lead on a daily basis. Here are just a few lessons I learned on this year's trip...
Twistable Crayons are the best invention since, well, crayons - Coloring is a daily activity with Allison and Logan. As we busted out the paper and crayon box, I noticed these intriguing plastic covered crayons. Tracy enlightened me that they are twistable crayons. I was in love! She said they last longer, no paper to tear off or sharpener needed. Where have these been all my life? When I returned home, I had to go shopping for some new sunglasses that met their demise while on our trip. As I perused the aisles at Walgreen's, I noticed they had the twistable crayons and colored pencils buy one get one free. I may or may not have bought two boxes.
Car rider lines are fascinating - When I was in elementary school, I was a "car rider" but when school was out, my Mom just parked out in the school parking lot and I walked out until I saw her car. Pretty low tech. These days, the car rider pickup logistics are amazing. On Friday, we went with Tracy to pick up Allison from Kindergarten. When we approached the turn-in to the school, Tracy hung up her number. One of the school workers was there to text/radio back the number. As we wound around the parking lot to get to one of five pick-up spots, we could see Allison, all ready to go with her Elsa water bottle and backpack. We pulled up, she hopped in and off we went. We were never this organized when I was in school. The anticipation of seeing your child waiting to be picked up was exciting. Clearly I need to get out more. And, if you need your child picked up from school, I'd love that!
Chick-Fil-A is more kid-friendly than I realized - I'm a Chick-Fil-A fan, but even more so now. Of course, I knew you could trade in toys in the kid's meal for an ice cream. And I knew many of their locations had indoor playgrounds, but after a visit at Chick-Fil-A with Allison and Logan, I learned even more goodness! They provide plastic place mats! As Tracy was ordering the food, Chad was setting up the seats and pulled out these plastic stick-able place mats for the kids. How ingenious! The Twistable Crayon folks must have come up with this one! Once we were done, we could just peel off the place mat, wrap up all the trash and voila! Clean! Actually, I suspect Tracy engineered these.
Kindergarten is the new First Grade - I'm amazed at the level of learning in Kindergarten now. When I went to kindergarten, it was a half day and we had nap time during that time. I remember learning about presidents, and voting for kool-aid flavors. We had birthday celebrations where we could pick a birthday buddy to sit with us and share a cupcake. And we learned how to roast pumpkin seeds. Allison is in a whole new realm of learning. There is music, PE, art, literacy, along with her regular class. She goes for a full day and is learning all sorts of things....like 2D and 3D shapes. Friday was hexagons. I don't think I knew what a hexagon was until later in elementary school. Still don't as I quizzed Allison with a stop sign...which is an octagon, not a hexagon. She even has homework! After coming home on Friday, Tracy reviewed her backpack to pull out her homework and a newsletter to parents. Good thing Tracy is organized because there were a ton of things to keep up with - picture day, homework, and teaching Allison how to open her own applesauce and punch in her own Capri Sun straw. No wonder sweet Allison zonks out on the couch every day. That's a lot for a little one to soak in.
Kids hear everything and repeat it - Ok, so I already knew this lesson, but it was even more hilarious during our trip. On Saturday we decided to go to Chuck E. Cheese. But as we discussed the other options, we gave it the code name of "Charles E. Cheddar" to keep the children from figuring it out. One day, they'll figure out the code name, but hopefully that'll be after Chuck E. Cheese has lost its luster. Anything I said, Logan would repeat. When playing Guitar Hero, I said "Daddy's guitar is on fire!" to which Logan repeated that phrase. Logan wanted to play another game on the Wii. Tracy said no (which is a rarity folks, she's a softie...especially with that long-lashed boy...and, I can't blame her one bit!) Logan asked Daddy if we could play the game and Chad said, "No Mommy poo-pooed the idea." Logan replied "Poop? Who pooped? Where's the poop?" He was seriously looking for someone who had poo-pooed. Hilarious.
Another fun trip to the Todds has come and gone. And I miss getting my good night hugs from Allison and Logan and playing games with their parents...and them. Until next year's lessons, I'll just look at their picture on my desk at work in those moments when I need the right perspective on life.