Every summer I like to come up with some kind of idea to occupy the kids and myself during the summertime. One year I thought it would be neat to introduce the kids to coin collecting. Another year I did a read aloud with the kids almost every day.
This year I saw a list in the paper of all of the city parks and all of the equipment and amenities at each park. I thought it would be a great idea to try out all of the parks since we are in a new community and are not familiar with all of the parks. We could learn where the good ones are, and the ones we might just say that one time was one too many.
I excitedly shared my park plan with my oldest daughter, Madison. She, and this was no surprise to me, was less enthusiastic than myself about the prospect. She said with a grimace on her face, “Is this going to be like your McDonald’s plan?” I laughed and said, “I sure hope not.”
Years ago one of my ideas, since we lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex where there are hundreds of McDonald’s, was to go to a different McDonald’s one time a week for lunch that had a play area. I got the idea after watching a show on The Travel Channel about the top ten McDonald’s in the world. One of the top ten McDonald’s was in Dallas and is shaped like a happy meal box. The kids were receptive to the plan. So, I researched play places, charted our course, and made a plan.
Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans! One week we went to a McDonald’s which had a play place. We ate our food. The kids went off to play on the play equipment. It wasn’t long before Madison and Nathan came back to tell me, with faces lined with disgust, that someone have thrown up in the ball pit. I had to tell my alter ego (aka slightly germophobic mom) to step off as I calmly told the kids to keep playing and to just not play in the ball pit or anywhere close to it. They came back another time to say it was starting to smell like throw up in the tubes. Gross! The last straw was when they came back to the table and asked to leave. Apparently, a little girl who had been following them around the play place offered to show my children an unidentified rash she had on her butt. I was sure that rash had to be communicable. Slightly germophobic mom then emerged in all of her glory and said, “Let’s go.”
Let’s hope this year will be different. So, city parks here we come. I am sure slightly germophobic mom is going to come along for the ride. She might cringe when she sees kids in saggy diapers at the spray park when she know that water is just getting recirculated. I will have to tell her once again to step off. Summer is no fun without a little adventure, right? After all, whether the kids would say that the McDonald’s summer was a hit or a miss, we sure made some memories.