So the perfect school holiday would have seen the Mom, the Dad and the children all on holiday at the same time. It would also have included great weather and a complete agenda of things to do that would have filled up every day with perfectly happy halflings.
This last October holiday, we had none of those things. It was the two minions and I staring at each other in the car every morning after dropping the Mom off at work while the rain pelted down on the car. Each day, a single thought was bouncing around in our heads, what on earth are we going to do today?
I’m the Dad and as such, I was supposed to have the answer. But as with most things, I didn’t have any answers at all. In point of fact, I wing it ninety five percent of the time. I’m in a new country, a new city, a new town, a new house and in three months I’ve learned exactly two things: I know where the best breakfast spot is and I know where the park is. In both places, the people talk a little like Crocodile Dundee.
I mean I had a couple of things planned for the holiday which we did execute with a modicum of success and which did result in genuine appreciation from the little guys. But by far the most successful outing was a visit to the local cinema to watch Christopher Robin. It was a big hit. Pooh and the gang did not disappoint.
Also, I managed to make that particular event fill up an entire day. First, I stretched out the ticket booking process, all told, it took about an hour and a half. We watched the trailer online, chose our seats for a matinee screening and printed out our tickets.
We then chewed up another forty five minutes just getting ready to walk out the door. To be completely honest though, that’s about par for our family. Leaving the house with children is an experience not unlike what I would imagine insanity being injected into eyeballs feels like and I think that parents around the globe deserve actual medals, dished out by famous people, at formal ceremonies for every time we do it. I sometimes think a cattle prod wouldn’t go amiss, you know, hanging in the entrance hall, to use as needed. Or perhaps a sheep dog.
I drove there slowly. Let me qualify that a little by saying that I always drive within the speed limit (just in case there are any traffic officials in New South Wales reading this). But that day I drove slower than usual. Slow enough for the little guys to pipe up in the back and comment that I was in fact driving rather slowly and could I please just bloody move along now.
Ok, they didn’t actually say bloody, but their tone suggested they meant to say it.
At the cinema it was all business. There was the ubiquitous box of popcorn each – which in Australia seems to be somewhat regulated in that there is only one flavor of popcorn and that is buttered with salt. Someone, somewhere decided the appropriate amount of salt required for a batch of popcorn and that’s all you get mate. No extra. Weird. Next time we go, we might have to take our own salt with us.
We watched the movie and I have to say, it was really very good. All the children in the cinema erupted into belly laughter every couple of minutes, making it a really happy experience. I was reminded of that scene from Finding Neverland where children were scattered around the theatre full of stuffy adults wearing formal wear – their infectious laughter drew the whole audience into the play. Also, I didn’t once have that nagging thought that Pooh needed to put a pair of bottoms on, not even on his trip to the city.
The three of us shared a bag of the Australian equivalent of Cadbury’s Whispers and it’s was a full fifteen minutes before anyone spilt their popcorn or juice. So a really successful outing.
By the time the movie was over, the little guy had a palm covered in chocolate and a face to match. I had handed him one piece at a time during the show to limit his intake. I attempted a quick cleanup, using the cleaning implement first reached for by any parent with small children, I licked my thumb and tried to wipe away the chocolate that never quite made it into his mouth. He put up an indignant protest saying something about saving it for later.
To round out the time dilation, I had parked on the opposite side of the mall just to chew up another quarter of an hour walking back to the car. By the time we got home, after another slow drive metered out at Miss Daisy speeds, there was just enough time to freshen up and read a little before heading back out to fetch the mom from work.
I hope someday my boys read this and remember a rainy day in Australia when they watched Pooh with their Dad.