Our kids have had the chance to go to some pretty cool places, and although we do our best to plan out things that we think they'd like to see and do, sometimes we forget just what age they are. Deciding whether or not your kids are old enough for something isn't an exact science, and even if there was a handy chart to spell it out for you, it would most likely be different for each child. We've had lots of great trips and my kids have seen lots of things that I'm sure they're going to remember forever. Unfortunately, there's also a few that I'd love for them to forget. Here's five places that we probably shouldn't have taken our kids:
Disneyland Tower of Terror -
I don't understand this about kids. When they're babies, their favorite game in the world is when you toss them up in the air and then catch them again on the way down (They're not so fond of the game if you forget to catch them again.) Here we are a few years later, you put them on a ride that does exactly the same thing on just a wee bit bigger scale, and it turns them off thrill rides. Each of my kids rode the Tower of Terror for the first time, said it was fine, then refused to ride it again for at least the next three years. Two of them have now come back to it and love the ride, but the youngest still won't go near it. We probably should have waited.
Spring Training, Phoenix Arizona -
Don't they look happy? This was taken after being at the Texas Rangers spring training camp for about 15 minutes. I realize that I'm the only one who really cares about sports in our family, but I thought that having plenty of room to run and play is what kids want. Apparently mine just wanted breakfast and to go back to bed.
The Strip, Las Vegas Nevada -
I don't belong in the "No kids in Vegas" camp, but I do belong in the "No kids walking the strip late at night" camp. We've had a couple of times though, where we got caught out. I'm sure I don't need to explain to you why we don't want our kids on the strip after dark (Hint: It's not because they'll get sprayed from the Bellagio fountains) but sometimes things happen. It's just a lot harder for the kids to walk with Lori's hands covering their eyes.
The Globetrotters, Kelowna BC -
Didn't see that one coming did you? Let me say that the actual Globetrotters show was a ton of fun and my kids enjoyed it immensely. What I shouldn't have let happen though, was for my daughter to be chosen as a volunteer. My daughter is one of those kids who always seems to get picked for things, and when the Globetrotter stopped in front of her he paused and said "I don't know, she's a little younger than we usually take." My daughter assured him that she was up for the challenge, so he explained to her that she should come sit with him on the players bench and that when the time came, he would take her out on the court and spin a ball on her finger. She agreed, but as she sat on the bench waiting for the time to come, nerves got the best of her. Just as the time came to go out on the court she bailed, and the poor Globetrotter had to quickly choose a different girl out of the stands. Not getting to do the trick was no big deal, but it made her very hesitant to volunteer for anything for the next little while.
Lady Gaga Concert, Anaheim California -
I know, I can hear every one of you out there going "Well Duh!", but the problem wasn't really with the concert itself. Lady Gaga's message is about acceptance, and I have no problem with my kids hearing that kind of message from anyone, popstar or not. Lady Gaga's audience, however, seemed to have a different message. In particular, the two gentleman in front of us while waiting to get in wearing leather chaps, a g-string, and saran wrap, had a very different message that they were determined to share with anybody unwise enough to give them a second glance. Even with the flamboyant audience I thought the show went fairly well, and I might have convinced myself that my kids had merely focused on the stage and ignored everything else, until on the way out my teenage boy turned to me and asked "So what made you think that this would be a good place to bring us?" We might have overstepped this one just a little bit.
These certainly aren't the only questionable destinations we've chosen while traveling with our kids, but I like to think that some good comes out of everything we do, whether it goes smoothly or not. I'm sure that when they're grown my kids will tell their children stories about "that time Mom and Dad took us to the Lady Gaga show", leaving their kids to wonder if it's safe to be left alone with Grandma and Grandpa. I'll have to sit down with my grandkids and explain to them that we had the best of intentions when we took their parents places, but the important thing to remember is that all the really crazy stuff was Grandma's idea.