Kids are loud and obnoxious. Kids are messy. Kids are the worst kind of know-it-all.
They push your buttons and will find the most inopportune moment to reveal your deepest darkest secrets to that stranger passing you on the street.
Kids are rambunctious and have most likely smashed more than one of your precious keepsakes.
Kids are clingy and impatient.
Kids are blunt and rarely worry about your feelings.
It was for all these reasons that I was fretting endlessly as I packed our day-trip bag during the early hours of the morning. I had decided to take the children out for breakfast followed by a road trip to the Markerville Creamery and then to their cousin’s new home in Elnora.
It was going to be a full day, and I was praying that the many stresses and strains of parenthood weren’t going to get in the way of our adventures.
As they grumbled out of their bedrooms, trying to rub the sleep away from their eyes — none the wiser to my plans — I confronted them with their jackets and sweaters.
“Hop in the car kids, we’re going on a road trip!”
Lars was immediately elated with this unexpected change in routine and giddily pulled on his fleece while heading towards the front door.
Sophie, however, had other things on her mind.
“I’m hungry! I’m not going anywhere until I eat my cereal.” Tears were welling in her sleepy eyes.
I should have known better than to try and surprise her during breakfast time.
However, she became a good deal happier once we arrived at our local eatery and she realized the plethora of options that were up for the pickings. I ordered an omelet and coffee, Lars had pancakes complete with a whipped cream smiley face and Sophie — well, Sophie had a full-size plate of bacon, eggs and a side of french toast. She was content.
We drove to the creamery with full bellies and happy spirits. We were singing Down by the Bay loud enough that I’m sure at one point the driver of a passing truck joined in on the chorus.
Lars conjured up a fascinating verse that went something like this: “… for if I do, my mother will say, ‘have you ever seen a llama eating a grandma?’ ”
There was an awkward silence for about a millisecond before Sophie began hysterically laughing.
Lars joined her and the two’s laughter was rather contagious, which got me going as well (even though I didn’t quite get the joke and was still feeling a bit unnerved as to why my children found llamas eating grandmothers so side-splitting).
Once we were all sung out and arriving into the hamlet of Markerville, it took us about two seconds (this is not an exaggeration) to find the creamery and another two to realize it was not open for the season for another week.
I really do need to start calling ahead to these kinds of places.
But because Lars and Sophie are a couple of the coolest people I know, they weren’t all that upset. Rather than stew about our miscalculation (like a bunch of lacklustre adults would do), we strolled the town and took in the beautiful sights and scenery that Markerville had to offer.
About three minutes later we were off to Cousin Hannah’s house.
When we hit the halfway mark on our way to another small settlement called Elnora, I realized that I had to pee something fierce. I pulled into a little checkstop bathroom where I would have called the lighting in the place unjustifiably eerie.
I tried to convince Lars to join Sophie and me in the bathroom but he looked at me like I was wearing a mongoose as a top hat and said, “There’s NO WAY I’m going in the GIRLS bathroom MOM!”
I wondered when he had defined such strong feelings about this kind of subject matter but my bladder felt as though I was nine months pregnant and jumping on a trampoline.
So instead, I made him stand directly outside of the door and told him if anybody even came close to him to yowl like he’s never yowled before.
He seemed OK with that, although I don’t think he knew what “yowl” meant. I’ve never peed so quickly in my life.
We arrived at our destination in good time and had a wonderful visit with the family.
As I drove home, I wondered why I was so worried about this trip in the first place. Kids can be a lot of things, but sometimes I think we can get all too wrapped up in the negatives to appreciate the alternative.
And the alternative is to remember that most of all kids are fun.
Lindsay Brown is a Sylvan Lake mother of two and freelance columnist.