Thursday, August 9, 2007

Keeping Score

I’ll grant you that kamping in the “wilderness” of the Santa Cruz KOA wouldn’t be enough to keep a kid content for eight or nine days. There’s only so many times they can play on the same bloody playground that we back into. There’s only so many loops they can make on their bikes. And there’s only so many quarters even a kid would want to waste on the most lame arcade games you’ve seen since Chuck E. Cheeses closed down and a no-name loser took it’s place.

The remedy? Trips to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. A trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Trips to the beach to play in the freezin’ ass cold Pacific, to bury each other in sand, and to rage against the surf. Twice daily swims in the heated pool and the hot tub.

[An aside is in order here. The term “hot tub” brings to mind “hot” to me. Does it to you, too? Let me tell you, there are many people not as brilliant as us who fail to understand what “hot” means and then express shock that the water is too hot for their infant, their toddler, their preschooler. Too late to get them out of the gene pool.]

And let’s throw in banana bike rentals, jumps on the jumping pillow and scavenger hunts. And let’s not forget getting to see “The Simpsons Movie,” too.

I’ve set the stage, right? What my F&B friend and I should see at most moments is the cherubic faces of our children filled with contentment. We should see grateful kids who are so thankful for all that’s been done for them. We should not hear whining. We should not here the telltale signs of bickering among them. We should not hear requests for other things. We should not hear “I’m bored” from anyone’s lips.

Bastards, the whole lot of them. Because, as you’ve clearly figured out, these five kids continue to have their additional needs and wants, and they are unable to keep them to themselves. In a word, who are they? Themselves. They’re no different than they are when they’re at home.

I lamented to my friend that I’m annoyed that they want still more, more, more. [How do you like it? How do you like it?] And she hit it right on target. They’re like that because they don’t keep score. Adults keep score. We know that if we’ve been given A, B and C, that we’d best be giving back D, E and F. Kids don’t do that.

I’m not entirely sure when kids get with the scorekeeping program. But I’m about to go on a fact-finding mission to get that answer. Actually, I’ll be looking for information on how to teach the kids how to teach score. So if you’ve got the answer, I’ve got the open mind. ‘Cause my lifetime score with the kids – which is 24 child years – shows they have a decidedly uneven edge:

Kids 2,498,042
Parents: 0

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