It’s March Break! Time for all those extra wonderful experiences, memories, etc. as you try to jam every ounce of fun you can into a short week-long break from school! Except, well, we didn’t really have anything planned for Jacob’s week. Andrea used up all her vacation leave finishing her M.Ed., I had some leave left but not as much fun just the two of us for going anywhere, and we didn’t set him up for any camps. So five days at the daycare. Now, don’t get me wrong, he loves the daycare and the woman who runs it, Ana. But, nevertheless, it wasn’t anything particularly “special” or “unique” for the week. Jacob doesn’t really know any better but he is beginning to notice when kids come back from trips to Disney, China, Vietnam, etc. and tell the class what they did over the holidays and he doesn’t have grand stories to share. We weren’t taking a trip, but I did plan to take today off for a special day with Jacob, and to cram as much as I could into one day! 🙂
The morning started a bit slower than I wanted it to, and first up on the list was me putting in Jacob’s lenses. There are lots of reasons why Andrea puts them in, partly as a downstream result of her having inserted them when she was off with Jacob multiple times over the last six years, she tends to handle most of the morning routine, and I’m out of practice. Some of it is I’m sure just laziness on my part, but there is also a practical element. Andrea can put them in his eyes in 30 seconds, it can take me up to 10 minutes to get them in. Separate from the frustration level for me, I’m more concerned with the temporary torture of Jacob. This morning, he wanted to try putting them in. Andrea learned when she was about 7, and Jacob already takes them out himself. So we tried briefly, and then we tried with me doing it. In the past, I’ve never had any luck with Jacob being in any position except lying down, but Andrea does them with him standing up, so I went for it. Jacob wanted to help, so for the first time, we had him hold his eye open, and I just focused on inserting the lens. In like Flynn, 10 seconds. Second eye was a bit trickier as his hand was in the way, but about 20 seconds in total. First time, each side. Today was obviously going to be an awesome day! Yay Jacob, yay Daddy!
We did have to have a serious chat first. Lately, Jacob has been complaining about stuff and to be honest, sounding a lot like Dudley from Harry Potter. Not quite that bad, but he was definitely of the “glass is not full” mentality. Hard to give an accurate example, so I’ll make one up…imagine him going on the bumper cars at the fair for an hour, repeatedly going, having a blast, but then we have to go. And he’d say with a heavy sigh, like he was so hard done by, “I wish I could have gone one more time.” Never “I’m glad I got to go” etc., never expressions of appreciation for what he did get to do, it was starting to be every time we did something, a lament that it wasn’t perfect. Time to nip that one a little more squarely in the bud. So we chatted a bit about it this morning, and stressed that it would be better if he thought more about what he DID enjoy than the one little thing he didn’t get to do perfectly. I confess too that part of my desire to have the conversation calmly is so that I don’t have it later in an aggrieved ticked off fashion that my little snowflake is basically crapping on some gift/experience that I expect him to enjoy and be grateful for, not greedy and selfish about some small aspect. He understood, and I made sure he knew he wasn’t in trouble, just something I’d like him to work on a bit more.
Then the FUN began. We went to Funhaven today, for the first time. It’s an indoor play centre for kids of multiple ages. Not like Cosmic Adventure that is more physical, this is a combination of indoor gym and games, games, games. Got him an all-access bracelet, loaded up the swipe card, and we were off. Played a racing game and he could actually PLAY it. Most of the stuff is normally beyond his abilities, but he’s been playing the PS1 of late with multiple racing games, and he “got it” right away. Even the foot pedals, which were hard for him to reach. A good start.
After that, we were on to the bumper cars. Yep, they have indoor electric bumper cars. More like bumper tubes, it’s a seat in a round tube with two levers — one on the left, one on the right, and they go backward and forward. Put them both forward and you go forward, both back and you go backward, one forward and one back and you spin in a circle. Takes a bit of work to get a good rhythm of forward all the way on the right and forward most of the way on the right to go left as you move forward, but doesn’t take long. Jacob had unlimited use for the day but we were there early so there was only one other kid at the time, so straight on to the game. I joined, and unlike the fair, Jacob got to drive all by himself (actually there’s no other choice). So both of us did it, mostly so that he would feel comfortable. But I was surprised — I liked it too! Sort of. The guy ran us for about 5 minutes, and then it shut off. Then he told us to stay put, go again, and about 4 other kids came on. Me, and six kids. The attendant was probably supposed to charge me, but he didn’t, I just went on. During the second round, the 8 or 9 year old kid from the first round must have decided he now “knew” me and so I swear, the little brat did nothing but bump me the whole time. Nobody else, just me. Little brat. 🙂 Jacob kept coming to my rescue to knock him off my butt, otherwise the kid just sat there with the gears meshing pushing against my tube. Weird little kid, or a jerk, not sure which. Finished that round, and with some kids now starting to wait, they had us all exit; while Jacob and I moved on, a couple of the other kids ran to the back of the line and still got on the very next ride. Not too busy yet.
Jacob wanted to play Connect Four, we tried a motorcycle game but Jacob wasn’t in to it (too much leaning, he couldn’t touch with his toes), a few other games. Then he wanted to go to the Jungle Gym area. Again, all access pass, off he went, although I don’t think anyone was manning the entrance to the zone anyway. By this time it was starting to get busy. A group of 30 arrived with the City of Ottawa day campers, a couple of other groups arrived, and then the place exploded. If you buy your pass before 10:30, it’s cheaper by about 15% so there was a huge uptick just before 10:30. Jacob didn’t care, he was lost in the Jungle Gym. I read on my phone for about 20 minutes and then went to check out how he was doing — not a care in the world, he was shooting balls out of a cannon. He accidentally almost hit me in the head with one, but he didn’t even see me, honestly. Just having a blast. Went back to sitting down. A guy next to me nudged me and said, “Is that one yours?” A little girl was up on top screaming for her Daddy to look, but no, not mine! Another kid lost his father and was a bit upset — turned out Dad was sitting on his butt about 50 feet away, one of the few adult sitting areas open, and the kid had walked right by him, out the zone exit and got hysterical. Fun for the workers, I’m sure, and hardly likely a unique experience. I do think that place should institute the same protocols as Cosmic Adventure though — sign ’em in, get a bracelet, sign ’em out, check the bracelet. The kids are a bit older here, but the place was an absolute zoo. Easy to lose a kid, I’m sure. I set up a “lost check-in” point right at the start with Jacob — we get separated, we will meet at the Connect Four game. You can’t miss it, it takes up a 20′ by 20′ section of wall! We played it twice too, so Jacob would definitely know where it was.
After 30-40 minutes in the gym, Jacob was tired. We did mini-bowling (five pin sized balls, small alley, 10 small pins), tried a basketball game, couple of other smaller games, all working well with the swipe card. Reloaded it, kept going. Jacob tried skee-ball, and I was pleasantly surprised. He plays it on the tablet all the time, but when we’ ve played at the fair, it’s too hard for him — he can’t roll the ball well enough to get it to go up the little jump, most of the time it comes back down. This one had lighter balls — no problem! I won’t say he was amazing at it, but he could do it! So he played two or three games of that. We tried a game where you knock down clowns, another where you drop balls in a hole, another where you put balls into fish tanks. Every game you play, you get “tickets” for how well you do and you can redeem them at the end for cheaper-than-dollar-store fare, but all in fun, and nicely, all on the swipe card. They don’t expire either so you could save up — we had about 350 points at the end of the day and they have some hockey jerseys that are about 3000 points, so if you were a regular goer, you might get something good eventually.
By this time, the lineups were getting near ridiculous. Bumper cars probably had about 50 kids waiting, call it maybe a 30 minute wait. Another thing, a laser maze (which Jacob seemed to think was like one-person laser tag based on things his friend has told him) was limited to one person at a time, and there were probably 50 kids in line for that too. Looked like a slow wait. Kids were lined up (well, sitting) for laser tag, and they appeared to be older. Kids were running around in groups of 5, looking a lot like birds returning to Capistrano, they go in waves!
But we did go back and do a bunch more car racing games. It’s really Jacob’s favorite, and I would be tempted to go over some morning first thing, just do the swipe card and the racing game with him before the lineups start. When we first got there, we could have raced a dozen times before we would have had to let someone else have a turn. There were a few other racing games I’d love to try with him too, but the wait was too long, he was tired, and we had a lunch date. We grabbed loot from the ticket redemption area, left some money on the swipe card for next time, and headed for lunch.
We had arranged to pop by work today — Jacob has wanted to see our office again for awhile now, he doesn’t really remember the last time he was there (probably 16 months ago, I think?), and we agreed to have lunch with Mom. Met up, had the Tim Horton’s experience with extra timbits, and Jacob regaled Mom with his stories of the morning. Oh, I almost forgot. Remember that little speech I gave the cub first thing? As were leaving Funhaven, and again with Mom, he said, “I am *so* happy I got to do all these things today.” In fact, he stopped me to tell me he had something important to tell me, and then told me that sentence. He’s such a cutey. Sure, he’s doing it because I told him it’s important, but I didn’t prompt him, he remembered on his own.
We did the tour, and then off we went in the car. We stopped at Chapters to pick up a stuffed toy he wanted — he saw it yesterday when he was out with the daycare woman and I had forgotten to give him some money to buy something if he wanted. He fell in love with the BB8 toy, but didn’t have any money to buy it. Mom wanted him to use his money (he has a small amount saved at home), but I felt this was one I was willing to get him for a March break treat, so I picked it up on the way home. After we stopped at DQ for ice cream, of course.
I got home and took a small break while he played on my tablet. Then we sorted his hockey cards from his latest series, figured out what he was missing, and then headed off with duplicates to the card store. They have a deal whereby they do 2:1 trades (you need card #22? you can give them two cards from your duplicates for it). We were down to needing about 15 cards, and we got them all. I even picked up a couple of other “specialty” cards too. I didn’t splurge though for the Connor McDavid rookie card for $300. We did however get the free McDavid card that completes another small set we have. Jacob was pretty happy, but that might have been partly the location — it’s right next to Lone Star, which is where we had dinner.
Finished dinner and headed home, two tired boys. Best line of the day from Jacob though? When asked by me, Mom, friends at work, if he had fun this morning, he responded repeatedly the same way:
“Of course. That’s why it’s called FUNhaven.” Duh, adults are so silly.
And, I really enjoyed today too, even as a blue.
To quote Bill Watterson, “The Days Are Just Packed.” It may not have been Disney, but he was a pretty happy little boy tonight. Tired, but happy. Mission accomplished.