This break from school has been less than ideal for my big kids. I've been sick for most of it (I think I got sick on the second day) and still have a lingering cold and cough. But yesterday I was determined to take the kids out someplace, anyplace to get us out and about like we usually are during their school breaks.
Miss M wanted to go to the Mall of America. I was reluctant to go, but after I made sure she understood there would be NO rides at Nickelodeon Universe and that SHE (and her brother) would need their own money to buy whatever they thought they needed there, I conceded.
My mom suggested that I ask my dad to come with us, so I did and he decided he could come along for the ride. I neglected to mention my plans of eating lunch at the American Girl Bistro. Whoops! Good thing he's a good sport.
Before we left, all three kids emptied their piggy banks and we stopped at the bank to use the change counter. M ended with $21, K had $23 and D had $65. I planned to buy D an American Girl Doll to put away for a few years until she is older, and her $65 would help pay for half of it.
We headed for AG first and purchased D's doll and M's puppy (Coconut...$20 for a little dog...what a rip off!) and headed for the Bistro. We'd never ate there before but I thought it would be fun for something different. At first K Man refused to eat there. He's a boy after all, so I don't really blame him. So I did what any (not-s0) nice mom would do and told him that he would have to go hungry then because this was where we were eating.
I asked the big kids if they wanted to "borrow" a friend to dine with. M has an AG doll, but we didn't think to bring her along. They have boy "Bitty Babies" now so I asked K if he wanted to dine with a boy "friend." At first he said no, then I just grabbed one and asked if he'd like to have lunch with that boy. He said no and picked a different one. We were on our way with our new friends and an extra seat for "Coconut" the new (expensive) addition to our family.
With the seating arranged and the meals ordered it became clear that the K Man was enjoying himself much more than he would ever admit. I think he wanted to take his new friend home with him. The waitress brought cups, plates and a tiny pitcher of pink lemonade for the dolls and the puppy. The kids had such a great time pouring lemonade for their friends (and drinking it) that they asked the waitress for 4 refills because their "friends" were so thirsty. (I was surprised that the food was as good as it was...but it is expensive.)
After lunch it was time to head to the Lego store for the K Man. Naturally, Lego Land is under construction and NOT in the usual spot so we had to walk an extra 4999 miles to the new (temporary) location. Here's a thought...note on the maps around the mall that Lego Land is temporarily relocated. Kthanxbai! I know it's not like I couldn't use the extra walking, however, it was rather irritating.
My son is, by nature, not a good decision-maker. Or rather, not a quick decision-maker. He considers all of his options in every possible combination. It can last for hours. It is frustrating to say the least. I am quite proud of my patience yesterday. Yes, yes I am. I am also proud that my son ended up with 4 new (though small) Lego sets for his $23. He chose carefully and wisely.
This trip had several purposes for our family. My kids have been fighting almost nonstop during this break from school. I know much of it has to do with the lack of activity. I haven't felt up to the fun and trips and activities I usually plan. I hoped to get them out of the house, having fun, using their own money to buy something so they could be proud of it, and realizing at least a little bit, how good we have it.
They were fighting in the van on the way home (the Bigs...the Toddler was sleeping for much of the ride) and I tuned it out for most of the ride home. Most of the time if I ignore the whines for Moooooooom to intervene and arbitrate every dispute they figure it out on their own. I did feel the need to deliver a mini-lecture (no more than 3 minutes) about how good we have it and how we should be so grateful for all we have, especially our family. Yes, I know it goes over their heads. They are self-involved. As they should be. They are small still. But. We ARE so lucky. So I won't let them get by without calling it up at least once in a while.