December 29, 2011

Parenting Manuals, False Teeth and Cherry Trees

When you become a parent, you should really get a manual. You know, one that tells you all about the pooping, throwing up, eye-rolling and other horrors you'll face. This manual should also list all the things you're obligated to put your kids through as a parent. This list would be long. I'm guessing approximately 350 items. Among these would be:

23. Eating vegetables.
31. Road trips.
47. Reading Charlotte's Web
82. Drinking milk.
91. Wiping your own bottom.
102. Visiting boring historical places.

Yesterday we did 102. We dragged the kids to Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon is George Washington's home. It's where he lived and where he's buried. It lies just outside Washington D.C. on a beautiful plot of land that overlooks the Potomac. Amazingly, it looks untouched by time as does the stretch of river it's on.

The kids hated it.

We expected this. Both Beth and I figured this would be the least popular thing we'd do over the entirety of Christmas break but, hell, we did it anyway. And the kids hated it. Sure it was cold and windy and there were about 485,000 people with the same idea. And sure, it's essentially an old house and what kid wants to see an old house?

But we did it because that's what you do as parents. That's what the manual would say. If there was one. (Which there isn't.)

Posted by Chris at December 29, 2011 7:04 AM
Comments

I want to go there! Washington DC too - was only there briefly 20+ years ago.
I know we've dragged our son sightseeing to some where he didn't want to go but years later we all can remember something good from it.

Posted by: NancyB at December 29, 2011 9:08 AM

Kids are too short to appreciate the best thing about an old house: the low ceilings. We had an old house in our school district every teenager had to see. It was tiny though, small enough for you to duck your head three times and you were done.

Posted by: TheQueen at December 29, 2011 10:46 AM

It's our right as parents to drag our kids to any ol' boring place we want! ;-) So far, our kid hasn't really hated anything yet, which is kinda great, but I can't wait for that one time she hates completely what we are dragging her to do! It's almost like getting to be a Senior in high school so you can terrorize all the freshman like you were terrorized as a freshman! ;-)

Mt Vernon is so nice. I have friends who live literally around the corner from the place. It's a beautiful place!

Posted by: cyndy at December 29, 2011 11:06 AM

I stopped by Mount Vernon once in college (I was in the area for an interview and had a free afternoon and a rental car), and it was GORGEOUS. Of course, I was also there in April, when it was warm and nice and whatnot.

They'll appreciate it later. It's all about building character.

Posted by: Dawn at December 29, 2011 11:51 AM

Seriously, take your kids to these places when the youngest is 8 or 9. I swear they will appreciate it for sure. I loved Mt. Vernon, but then again, it's well known that I am a history geek. Do the Newseum. The original Smithsonian has some interesting stuff. But again 8 or 9 :)
You are lucky to live there, I live in Detroit- how many times can you drag yourself to the Henry Ford Museum? Really....

Posted by: greenie at December 29, 2011 1:48 PM

I've seen half the national monuments in the country and been in more art and History museums than one should see in a lifetime. As a kid, sometimes I loved it and sometimes it was the most boring day of my life. Yet now? I'm so glad my parents forced us to go to places like that.

Posted by: Issa at December 29, 2011 1:52 PM

I remember taking a road trip out West with my family when I was a sullen teenager who hated everything except Skid Row and Mr. Big and my parents decided we should go to the Petrified National Forest. Everyone else in the family thought it was kind of boring, but I LOVED it. I got out of the car, read all the signs, went on all the hikes, and showed genuine interest in something other than cheesy music. My mom tells the story with genuine puzzlement in her voice - what child of mine is interested in geology? So, I guess the lesson is that someday your kids will surprise you with a love of something completely unexpected!

Oh and I loved the Newseum, too, a few years later when we did the DC road trip.

Posted by: NGS at December 29, 2011 3:42 PM

I think the imagery alone of #91 just made me rethink having kids. :)

Posted by: Mandy at December 29, 2011 4:10 PM

When I was living there, I took my mil and sil on what I believe was the hottest summer day ever. We almost melted while waiting for our turn to walk through the old house. And I kept thinking "Martha Washington lived here and had to wear petticoats in the summer..."

Posted by: Annie at December 29, 2011 8:07 PM

Have you ever been to the Fairfax Stone?? Oy. I was 8 when my Dad took me and my momma on a drive. We went to the old town he was born in (Kempton, MD, now all but a ghost town) and to the Fairfax Stone.

And we were like, "Really? It is a ROCK."

Haha. Now that I am back in the area, and have a deep love of this areas history (both sides of my dads family helped to settle this area), going there now has a whole different meaning. It is STILL a rock though, and that is just what Maya said when we took her! "But... it is just a rock! Can we go now??" :)

Posted by: Jen at December 30, 2011 11:36 AM

I have a highly inappropriate story about Mount Vernon and children. It involves conception. I wanted Vernon as a middle name for commemoration. The husband said no.

Happy New Year.

Posted by: seeking elevation at December 31, 2011 6:06 PM

good

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