Love’s just right

By Mir
June 10, 2010

I know I said yesterday that this cruise would be a lot more fun without the kids—and that’s true in many ways—but the other truth is that it’s not that it would be more FUN so much as it would be less COMPLEX.

Having kids makes it more complicated. (Having a kid with some special needs makes it a lot more complicated, quite frankly, but whatever.) Kids are complicated, period. My own special snowflakes are both easier and harder than other kids, in various ways, and I’m not up for a rousing game of “whose kids are the very most baffling” right at the moment.

The other truth is that if the kids weren’t here, this trip would not contain some of my very favorite moments so far. It would be a different trip, and while I may wish we were experiencing some of the perks of traveling kidless, now and then, this trip has quite a lot to recommend it exactly as it is.

Example the first: Watching the kids be completely smitten with their little cousins is delightful. Sure, I might get a bit more attention from them, myself, if the kids weren’t here (Banana barely deigns to speak to me, and Chickadee is always snatching Gerber away), but that’s okay.

Example the second: Did you know that Carnival leaves you a towel animal and a chocolate mint for each guest every night when they come to do turn-down service? (Do not get me started on confusion caused by the towel animal. What exactly are we supposed to DO with it? Dismantle and destroy it so that we have extra washcloths? Build a shrine to it? Give it a bowl of kibble?) The kids RACE back to the room after dinner to find out what kind of towel animal we have that evening. (So far we’ve had a dog/rabbit, an elephant, and last night’s animal is either a dinosaur or a waterfowl that was caught in a nuclear accident. I think.) And we have a “special drawer” where we put the chocolates—because we never eat them right away—and then when the kids are good I open the drawer and pelt them with their treats when they’re not looking. I never would’ve predicted this ritual, but it seems to be working for us.

Example the third: Our window is about eighteen inches further out than the wall it’s set into, and the frame around it forms something of a window seat if you happen to be small and bendy. The children have dubbed this the “hidey hole” and take turns climbing into it with a book, pulling the sheer curtains across the entrance, and announcing that they’ve fallen down the hidey hole and are now gone. It has yet to stop being funny. After the first couple of days, Chickadee started discussing improvements—like, “Maybe we could install a drink dispenser in the hidey hole! Maybe filled with apple juice! Then it would be PERFECT!”

Example the fourth: One night Chickadee was telling us about either a movie or a book where some kids were playing “ding-dong-ditch.” (When you ring doorbells and then run away before people answer.) A little while later, Monkey asked her to please tell him again about “those doorbell ditchers.” This somehow led to an elaborate follow-on about kids who steal doorbells and then have to get rid of them, fast! Where can we get rid of these stupid doorbells, does anyone have any ideas?? Now all any of us has to say to anyone else in the family is “doorbell ditchers!” and it’s instant hilarity.

Example the fifth: Yesterday we sent Chickadee off on a shore excursion with the rest of the family, to help with the little kids, and Otto and I stayed behind with Monkey to just kind of chill out and help him just relax and recharge, and we ended up just wandering around on shore some and then heading back to the ship and going to the pool. Almost everyone was off ship, so we had the pool practically to ourselves, and Monkey couldn’t’ve been more delighted. We played Marco Polo. We tested out the hot tub. (“I think I’m getting blown away by this jet here that’s sending bubbles up my suit!”) We drank lemonade and lounged around and Monkey thanked us for giving him a nice calm afternoon, and then later everyone else came back and my dad couldn’t stop talking about how awesome Chickadee had been while they were gone.

Yeah, later we let the kids stay up late for the big magic show, and our seats were terrible and Monkey was in tears before it started and Chickadee was in tears by the time it ended (hooray for overtired children!), but I’m telling you, that’s not what we’ll remember.

I’ll remember random tacklings in the hallway on the way to breakfast, and being kind of glad that Otto always, always has a camera.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Today I’m off to make some more memories, with the people I love best.


  1. Nelson's Mama

    I’m here early today! Absolutely love the picture…

    I will tell you what I do love about cruises: set dinner time. I like that everyone in the group comes back together to talk about their day, wind down, have some wine and enjoy each other’s company. You don’t do the “I don’t care, where do you want to go to eat”, “oh, I don’t know, what sounds good to you” dance EVERY.SINGLE.NIGHT, the decision is made and you know what time to show up…be there or be square!

  2. Megan

    Yup! That’s the stuff that sticks.

  3. hokgardner

    I look forward all week to your Love Thursday posts. You never fail to me make smile.

  4. s

    I have to admit, a cruise doesn’t really appeal to me in many ways, but living it via your posts has been entertaining. I think your post sums up every day with kids – things would be easier without ’em, but then what the heck would we do! I recently went to a family event without kids and it was wonderful not to have them as the schedule wasn’t kid friendly (lots of sitting around waiting, lots of eating late, lots of flexibility needed and nothing “kid” friendly to do) but at the same time it just seemed weird not to have them around doing something nutty!

    love the hidey hole and the pelting of chocolates! memories…

  5. Karyn

    YAY! For Cruises and family time!!

  6. MomCat

    It totally makes up for the complexity, and then some. Enjoy!

  7. J from Ireland

    Yay for Love Thursday. Glad you are all having a lovely time.

  8. J from Ireland

    ps you look like a skinny minnie!!

  9. Tracy

    And you know, if you didn’t have the kids with you, you would only worry about them like I worry about Licorice. I wonder how she’s doing with your friend. Have you heard from your friend that’s dog-sitting? Happy Love Thursday!

  10. Aimee

    Doorbell ditchers! I love it, and that hidey hole would have been SO up my alley when I was a kid. All I EVER wanted was a window seat to sit in and read my books, and having a curtain to pull across it would have been even better.

    Happy Love Thursday — have fun!

  11. Rebecca

    I completely know what you mean about cruising with kids. It’s still fun, but definitely more complicated! I’ve gone both with and without the kids, and both ways are wonderful in completely different ways. Hope the rest of your trip is awesome!

  12. Holly

    I’m going to have to stop reading your blog, you ALWAYS make me cry! It sounds like you’re having a wonderful time. It’s worth dealing with all the hard stuff, isn’t it?

  13. elz

    I’m so glad that you are having a wonderful time, very deservedly. I think it is so interesting how two kids come from the same gene pool but can need completely opposite things, or have opposite interests. Same with my kids, and my friends’ children. How great that your family has clued in on what makes Monkey and Chickadee tick and what makes them have fun. That’s some good parenting right there folks.

  14. Maribeth

    When my girls were young and something didn’t go quite right I would say, “these are the things memories are made of.” They used to quote it back to me and kind of make fun. Then they had children and he quote came back along with the memories and the laughs. Now I have a great-grandson and I catch his daddy saying–yea, you guessed it.
    How blessed you are to see the joy in your family.
    Giggles and Guns

  15. Karen

    Mir, you’ve got a way with words. Great post.

    And Otto, you rock!!! I WISH my spouse carried a camera around… just once or twice a year even! *sigh*

  16. Neil

    And how’s the food?

  17. Kira

    Oh, what a lovely picture. You made me cry.
    Glad you’re enjoying the good, complicated times.

  18. Liz@thisfullhouse

    Love this post and had Bon Jovi’s “You Want to Make a Memory” in my head while reading — it’s a Jersey thing.

  19. Sheila

    I’m trying to think of something clever to say along the lines of “Oh, Mir… you are the anchor that keeps the family from going adrift,” but I’m not good with nautical metaphors, so I’ll just remark that I’m happy that you are having a great time and are able to find the great moments in between the not-so-great ones.

    P.S. The one time I was on a cruise was for my 10th anniversary, and it was without kids. This post almost makes me wish we had brought them.


  20. mamaspeak

    We are considering a Disney Cruise next year (bc we apparently have money to burn) bc we’d like to do a cruise & the kids seem to be good ages for it, etc… I wonder if it would be a good choice to wait a few more years, after reading your posts. We don’t have a special needs kid, but a 4yo who is special in her own right. ;-) Like you said, all kids are complicated. (We have a 7yo too.) It’s good for me to read these posts, keeps it in perspective, it’s hard not to get sucked into the marketing pitch.
    Glad you’re all having fun. Glad you’re able to help keep your kids on track too. Consider also, that sitting around waiting in crowds & heat can be a big part of real life, it sucks for everyone, but sometimes it’s worth it. Monkey will get to a point where he can see that, don’t worry.

  21. danelle

    The first thing I thought of when you said you were going on a cruise is “Oh man, I hope they aren’t taking the kids” lol

  22. Nicki

    Awww. Cruisin’ with the kids. Save the towel animals. Soon you’ll have a towel menagerie. Enjoy!

  23. Aubri

    I LOVE that picture!!! :-) So awesome!

  24. Katie in MA

    What a lovely, lovely post. No one puts it better than you do, Mir.

    Happy (belated) Love Thursday!

  25. Mum Dee

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Kids make everything way more interesting! More tiring too but definitely worth it.

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