Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Spontanity-SO Overrated

I am a planner.  I am the type of person who thrives on routine and a planned outing.  I like to pretend I'm not that way.  In fact, after having a bunch of days in a row with something going on, you will often hear me complaining about how I want a day with nothing to do.  However, a day with nothing to do tends to make me a little crazy.  Because when you have three kids there is always SOMETHING to do and if you don't have anything planned to do, your day gets a shot to hell.  Much like it did yesterday.

Yesterday morning, after letting the kids get up and take care of themselves while we slept in a bit, Andy said we should go and do something for the day.  I suppressed my urge to say "WHAT?  But we didn't plan anything!  We can't just GO somewhere!" Instead I decided it was a good idea to try and be spontaneous. I do need to explore that side more.  So yes!  Let's do something fun.  After all it was a gorgeous 80 degree January day in Los Angeles, so might as well take advantage.  (Sorry for you poor people on the other side of the country freezing your asses off.  Don't worry!  April is just around the corner.)  We started brainstorming things to do that weren't too expensive, outside and fun for the kids. The zoo was the best thing that came to mind.  We have a pass there so it would be free.  Sure it was gorgeous and some people had the day off, but there were a lot of people who still had to work so it might not be too crowded.  These are things I might have known for sure if I had planned.

Okay, don't get me wrong, I'm not a crazy planner.  I'm not the type of person who has every minute planned.  However, when we go to the beach I get ready the night before, with clothes, toys, swimsuits etc.  Same thing with going to the snow.  My Type A personality and the genes that my mom handed down  make it so I need at least an outline of what's going on.  I'm not so good at getting up and deciding the day of to do something, but Andy is more inclined and always throws it out there.  I usually turn it down, but I was trying to be more fun.   He's more willing to get in the car and go wherever, but  I know where that can lead us with three kids.  Especially when two of them still nap.  Before kids it was easy to do that kind of thing.  Now...not so much. 

Well, we got to Griffith Park, where the zoo is here in L.A., and  saw a HUGE line of cars headed in the same direction as the zoo.  Immediately, Andy turned the other way and said,

"Oh forget it!  We're not going to the zoo if it's that crowded.  Where can we go instead?"

I don't know!  THIS wasn't planned, so I certainly don't have a back up plan!

We ended up a little ways down the road at Travel Town, which is also in Griffith Park. It's basically an outdoor old train museum.  We had been once at Christmas years ago, but I hadn't been since.  The girls, however, had their hearts set on the zoo and there was no parking in the Travel Town parking lot.  So we turned around again and headed back to the line toward the zoo.  We figured that road led to other things in Griffith Park, so perhaps something else was going on.  It couldn't be that EVERYONE was going to the zoo, right?

 Oh, but they were. From how crowded it was I would have thought MLK Jr himself was there to see the animals.  The parking lot was packed.  We turned around yet again and headed back to...TRAVEL TOWN KIDS!  How exciting!  We're going to see trains instead and maybe ride on one!  YAY!!!  

I actually managed to convince them that this would be better than the stinky zoo.  That is until we got there and they saw what it was.  I thought it was cool because  I love old trains.  We even got to go in a couple and walk around.  Sonya was enjoying herself too.  Georgia was starting to get sick, so I don't think she cared either way.  Lana....well Lana had this to say 10 minutes into walking around Travel Town,

"I wanna go home now."

In her defense she was starting to not feel well either.  Courtesy of Sonya who stayed home from school on Thursday and Friday with a fever.  Once one goes down, you can guarantee the others aren't far behind.  

We walked around some more with Lana whining to go home the whole time.  I asked if she wanted to ride the train to which she at first said no.  Then I showed her it was a little train to ride and not the big ones we'd been looking at.  Suddenly she was interested.  That would have been all find and good except when we got to the line, it was obvious we would be there for a while before getting to ride the train ourselves.  Lana was really started to break down and Georgia wasn't far behind.  It was at this point I decided to call it quits and we started to leave.  This not only upset Lana further, because she wasn't going to ride the train, but Sonya decided to add her unhappiness to the party and the two of them cried and screamed the entire walk out of Travel Town.  Don't you love when your kids become THOSE kids?  Don't worry, I've learned to ignore the judgmental stares.  

We got to the car and loaded everyone in.  The two older ones continued to cry and scream the ENTIRE WAY HOME.  Well, Sonya stopped at one pointed but started up again when we pulled into the driveway.  Lana was a trooper though, and kept it up.  She only stopped when we got into the house where I threatened a time out.  I guess the idea of sitting alone in the bathroom for 3 1/2  minutes was enough to get her to calm down after crying for at least twenty minutes.  

Needless to say it was one of the least fun times we've had as a family.  We wasted our entire morning doing something that ended up not being fun for anyone.  We at least made it back in time to put Lana and G down for naps, so I was able to go back to my schedule anyway.  The rest of the day was just kind of blah from there.  

So would I like to be a more spontaneous, less anal about planning kind of person?  Sometimes.  But  most of the time that part of my Type A personality, is what lets us have the most fun and get the most done.  Really, it's what helps makes me a good mom, most of the time anyway. 

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