Here in New England, children do not go to school for a full week in February. Various theories have been set forth for having a week off in February. My favorite is the save-on-heating-costs explanation. My least favorite is the go-to-our-ski-chalet one. The two, when considered in combination, make the Northeast sound like it’s inhabited by very rich people who don’t pay any taxes to support public education.
Regardless of the rationale behind the break, most of the parents I know–I only have one who retreats to her ski chalet–spend the week trying to cobble together something fun to do which doesn’t break the bank. (Side note: The winter holidays were less than two months ago and it’s cold in New England, i.e., we have to pay for heat in our homes when the children are not at school.)
All this pressure to be entertaining at home (in a warm house) versus finding something to do outside the house (for free) leads the average parent to feel guilty when her bored and disappointed children announce that there’s “nothing to do.”
Now I consider myself a pretty creative person but “take the dogs for an adventure walk” (in -10 degree weather) and “how about a nice long afternoon nap?” are not the suggestions that cause my children to burst out in peals of enthusiasm.
Last night, we played Monopoly. You know you’re ready to be done playing when you try to land on St. Charles Place because it has a hotel and because that’ll lead to your bankruptcy. I was feeling that way long before the hotel was placed there, but I kept a smile on my face because the children seemed to be having fun. Loud, excited, wheeling-and-dealing fun, but “fun” nevertheless.
Today, to assuage the parental guilt of “we haven’t gone anywhere good ALL vacation,” we’re going to a small art museum on a library pass, i.e., $10.00 for six people for admission. (Side note: When the children made the aforementioned assertion, I reminded them that we’d been to the grocer store THREE TIMES together and ONCE they got gum. They were unimpressed.) While loose promises had been made about going out to lunch, I’m going to try to convince them that it would “way more fun” to pack a lunch and eat it–like a picnic–at the museum. I don’t think they’ll be sold on that idea, but I’m pitching it anyhow.
We’ll probably end up with a compromise: bahn mi sandwiches bought at the Vietnamese place on the way. Those are delicious and, I hope, will buy me some goodwill for an otherwise bummer of a vacation.
Oh well, there’s always next February. Maybe we’ll win the lottery and buy a ski chalet.