Archive for August, 2011

On Taking Your Kids to Vegas….

Saturday, August 27th, 2011

Vegas isn’t the best family vacation spot but when it is within driving distance and you have a nice place to stay, you might as well give it a shot.  Max happened to be traveling to Vegas for work and we were in that awful week between the end of summer camps and the start of school, so we decided to take a road trip.   I bravely chose to drive my triplet 3-year-olds 7 hours BY MYSELF through the deserted but beautiful state of Utah.   What could have been an awful experience; my car breaking down with only a small restaurant in the shape of a sombrero hat to run to, not having redbox save the day after the movie we rented from the library was scratched and I realized I forgot to bring the rest of the DVD’s,  having to stop on the side of the interstate (that has an 80 mph speed limit) so my recently potty trained children could “go”, turned out to be very smooth sailing.  We made the trip with only one small snafu, an unanticipated stop at a truckstop because all three of my children desperately needed to use the potty only to have all three of them suddenly decide they no longer needed to go after a 10 min wait.  Including 2 McDonald playspace stops, we made the trip in about 8 hours.  I have to brag here, my kids were awesome road trippers!

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There are a few things to keep in mind when taking your young tots to Vegas:

- The pool is crucial.  We stay at the MGM Signature which has some great kiddie pools and isn’t too crowded.  The majority of our time was spent at the pool.

- Do not attempt to take the kids on the strip.  Instead, if you have access to a car, take advantage of the free Valet parking in Vegas.  We were able to easily drive from one resort to another and all the attractions were in an easy walk from the hotel entrances.

- Avoid walking through the casino if possible.  Your kids will be utterly perplexed on why they cannot play the slots.  ”What do you mean these video games are just for adults”

- Be ready to explain why the police officer was interrogating the person laying in the middle of the hotel lobby.

- Kids stand-out in Vegas.  I might as well have been charging admission for people to stare at the triplets.

- Likewise, people in Vegas are pretty friendly.  After a few drinks, they will say anything.  ”Mary, stop staring at those tigers…you have to get over here and see these kids!”  ”Holy crap, are those triplets?  See what could happen Lisa, we ARE NOT trying for another kid!”

- There are only so many wild cats your kids care to see.

- Avoid your neighbors at all cost.  My kids were running around the hotel room screaming at 7:30 AM.  On my last trip to Vegas, that was practically the middle of the night.  There was no way a confrontation with the people next door to us could have been pretty.

- The M&M museum was the biggest hit of the whole trip.  You can watch M&M’s put on a dance show and watch a free 3-D movie.  Of course you can’t get out of the place without buying a $10 souvenir but it’s worth it.

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Would I take my kids to Vegas again?  Maybe but only because it was cheap entertainment and I didn’t have to cook or clean for a few days.   Plus, the drive near Zion National Park was gorgeous.

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Certainly with older kids, there are plenty of shows, rides and game spaces that would be perfect for teenagers.  They also may sleep in, which would have avoided the strange combination of toddlers and a group of high-heeled, mini-skirted girls with veils meeting up in the elevator at 8  AM.

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Solution to Age 3 – Keep Your Cool

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

This is a hard age.  I thought I was feeding my children to much sugar since they turned 3 since they spend most of their day manic.  I read that if hyperactivity was diagnosed at age 3, 90% of kids would have it.  Mine fall in that 90%. Then I began to wonder if my discipline technique needed a make-over.  What had worked in the past, didn’t seem to be working any more.  I recently received 3 books on preschoolers in the mail.  Each one gives tips that makes sense for each of my three children because what they say is so true, each child responds differently to different techniques (I’ll leave you to guess which child each book is geared toward): “Positive Discipline for Preschoolers”, “Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child”, and “How to Behave so your Preschooler will too”.

One of the mom’s in my “mom’s on bikes” groups asked me if the “Terrible 2′s” were really the hardest.   Several of us laughed…”just wait till 3″ they said.  I was relieved I wasn’t the only one whose three-year olds were completely losing it.

So is 3 the hardest age so far?  In some ways, yes.  I think parent’s attitudes, behaviors, and reactions play a huge roll  during the preschool years; therefore, there is a lot of pressure to keep your cool.  I’m realizing how closely preschoolers mirror your behavior and tune into your reactions.  ”Mommy, did we make the right turn, are you about to get frustrated?”  Yelling doesn’t go very far with preschoolers, so taking lots of really deep breaths  is probably the hardest part of this age.  With triplets, I’m about ready to hyperventilate.

There is a solution that seems to work.  Activities and structure.  After I found one of my children sidewalk chalking our mailbox with a naked bottom, I made a “potty” list complete with pictures of children wiping their bottoms, pulling up their pants, flushing the toilet and washing their hands.  It seems like flushing the toilet and pulling up our pants are obvious toileting steps but by simply taping the list to the bathroom wall, my kids now wear pants most of the day and the bathroom doesn’t smell like a porta-potty.  I did the same thing for our bedtime routine and after two weeks, the kids still go over to check the procedure every night.  Surprisingly, by pointing out “water and potty” breaks take place BEFORE getting into bed,  bedtime has gotten much smoother and faster.

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And of course, camps and childcare are a necessity.  The fabulous thing about living in a small town, you don’t have to plan months ahead, places are often not packed, and summer camps have openings!  The kids did a “water camp” at the local co-op preschool last week.  This week, I have playdates and childcare lined up everyday and next week it’s back to gymnastics camp before preschool starts.  It takes a village to raise preschoolers.  Luckily, this small town realizes that and offers plenty affordable reprieves!  You simply cannot keep your cool without plenty of breaks away from your children.

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Then, there is the great outdoors.  While we haven’t done a lot of lounging by the pool this summer, we have enjoyed all the recreation.  I go mountain biking about twice a week and still haven’t explored a quarter of the trails in this area.  Their is a park on every corner here, concerts geared towards families take place almost every evening, and restaurants have outdoor seating complete with huge open areas for children to run and play.  Parent’s can have a beer and relax while their child commands the ocean from giant rocks.  And although their arent’ a ton of neighborhood pools, there are some spectacular “mini water parks”.  You simply can’t beat a $5 price tage for half a day entertainment in the water.

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I’m realizing more than ever how important finding outlets for your preschoolers is.  The first thing Park City parents say to me after the discussion on how I stay sane with triplets is “Thank goodness they are old enough for ski lessons this winter”.  Truly, I can barely stay inside for 2 hours with my children, I have no idea how I’d manage a whole season.

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