My CrazyWife – I love her – but her way of scheduling things family related is something challenging (she is working on this). So, here we are for 2 weeks spring break holiday for the kids and the wife scheduled a trip to India (awhile ago) but forgetting about this important fact – Easter, Spring Break, 2 weeks of me and being entertainment for them.
This included Easter. I’m Muslim and she is Christian and we are a culturally diversified family. And, the fact is, I like chocolate so its always a plus.
Her work is important but I also understand that she seriously needs to find an App for “No-You-Cant-Book-Your-Trip-For-This-Week” (any ideas?). But, I’m here and now I am tasked with creating fun and exciting and educational things for these 2 small things.
I had the luxury of putting my oldest into Sports Camp (E-sports rocks by the way) so that she could run out the energy for a few days (dodge ball was apparently a big part of her daily activity – and I apologise now for any children she assaulted with the round bouncy object at the time). That’s only for a couple of hours. So, here I was planning the next 2 weeks (I realise the crazy wife was only in India for a week but still – its a lifetime).
First of all, we did Easter morning on a Saturday (flight was Saturday night) so there we were – egg trails, crazy wife doing Bible stories (yes, I’m Muslim but I’m also a tolerant human being that doesn’t really care who you are if you are nice to me – I’m nice to you).
We combined this with Easter Egg colouring and a lot of dye all over everything and everyone (but I love this). The girls go crazy for this stuff. We get some music happening and dancing and having fun.
Ok, thats day 1 and the wife hasn’t left yet.
Now, the crazy wife leaves. What do we do. The great thing is, I was calm and collected (and spent a lot of money on caffeine). I have been doing this for 6 years but it never gets any easier with 2 very ‘active’ kids and I am definitely not getting any younger (my grey hairs are too numerous to count at this point – atleast on the beard).
After a couple of days, I call on the only other trustworthy person in my life – my sister. She jumps in the car and heads to Dubai from Al Ain along with my awesome nephew.
My sister in all of her most wonderful self basically said, after 2 days, “We are going to Al Ain – we are heading to the zoo”. And that was it – our direction changed and so did the rules.
We packed up our bags and we went to Al Ain Zoo.
It all started great until there was an argument about a flower and how their momma knows how to plant flowers (they clearly don’t look at our garden very often because there is nothing flowery about it). This did not go over well and now we are on Day 4. Im sending great pics (not this one) to the crazy wife and saying “Yay, we are having a great time don’t worry” (and she says that makes her happy and she sends me a pic of her toes peeking out of a bubble bath in some fancy hotel as I bang my head on the table).
After a few lions, some Oryx and snakes that they ran away from at the reptile house, we sought refuge in ice cream and all unnecessary sugar accessories. This brought a few smiles and a bit of sugar high craziness.
What I found out during this time was how my oldest was understanding rules.
All of the days at the park, all of the days spending time reading together with her cousin and her sister there were some great things that we figured out together.
As parents we create rules. We create a structure that will keep them in a few boundaries and safe and all the while trying to keep us very sane. After all, we can’t run for the border.
We do everything we can to protect children and when you are a ‘single’ parent (even for a week or a day or on a permanent basis), trying to keep things in line is a big challenge.
She taught me something.
“Baba, why do you and momma always put rules for us?” She asked me on the way back from Al Ain?
“Why not?” I was taught a long time ago to always ask a child questions (atleast this one because she loves to answer with her own theory about life).
“What do you think if we switch and I give you the rules and you do it?” After much thought, this is what she has thrown out there.
Hmmm…this might be an opportunity. I truly thought that afternoon driving home that I had time to talk about this with her and understand her thinking so why not. The crazy wife was gone, I can do what I want and lets see what happens (whats to worst that can happen? I end up eating cheerios for dinner?)
We let everyone give instructions to us all of the time – the way we drive, the way we arrive to school, the clothes we wear and who we should and shouldn’t talk to. Why not do something different today.
I ate cheerios. I took to exit to the next gas station because she wanted – juice (yes, just juice). She said we should go by Burj Khalifa so we took the long way around and went that way. She wanted to hear Hello from Lionel Richie and both of them just sang and laughed and wiggled around in their seats.
She was so happy to be able to give me a few instructions. There weren’t so bad actually and given the choice, she did some fun stuff that I didn’t realise she would think about.
I know that we should look at children and create structure. Sometimes its fun to just let go and give them a chance to make some rules – even just for a few minutes. They might surprise you.
When we arrived home and everyone was bathed and relaxed, she asked for one last rule – I was suppose to read to them. That was all I was suppose to do – read to them.
So, even though my crazy wife might be on holiday (or whatever it is that she does on these work trips), sometimes its not so bad to switch the structure around a bit.
You might be surprised what kids are going to tell you (and yes, we like Lionel Richie 🙂 ).