Adventure Is Where the Squabbles Are

My schedule as a nanny is something like that joke sign people hang on small shops that displays the hours.

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It’s funny until it’s about you.

I start my day from somewhere between 6 and 6:30, sometimes have a break midday from either 12:00 to 2:00 or 1:00 to 3:00, often now have nothing to do from 9:30 to 3:30 for school, but when they’re not in school and the parents have an activity they want them to attend I work solidly through the day until 6:00 or 7:00, and when the parents get stuck at work I may end up putting the kids to bed from around 8:00 to 9:00.

I probably work an average of ten hours a day. It’s better because they’re in school now, but I also work one to three weekends a month. Random ones. That I only know a month in advance. Planning vacations in advance? Hah.

It’s really not so bad, but there’s a horrible sense of dread on a free Sunday when you know that you won’t have another day off for 12 days.

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It looks something like this.

This last weekend was a working weekend. They’re generally not so bad if I can run all three to six boys through my “nanny routine”, which is very carefully calculated so that at the end of the day everyone is still alive, nobody is missing any useful body parts, and the house is still where it was in the morning.

But not this weekend, oh no! This weekend, Mrs. Parent was free and decided that we should stuff all the boys into a car and take them to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm. Motto: You will find hay in odd places for weeks after.

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It’s like home in Idaho, only with more tourists and fewer mountain men.

Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is not really such a bad place. It has a lot of activities for the children to do (often separately, which is conducive for less arguing), it’s very spacious, and it sells apple cider donuts, of which I too often eat six in one day. But Cherry Crest Adventure Farm is not made for loading three to six very argumentative boys into a very small car and driving two and a half hours in order to reach it.

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Did YOU ever have a dream to spend time on an observation deck, looking at corn? Cherry Crest Adventure Farms!

Fortunately, as mentioned above, Cherry Crest Adventure Farm has quite a lot of things for children to do, such as go-carts, wagon rides, bounce areas, large slides, and shuffleboard.

We spent an hour at shuffleboard. I had never played shuffleboard before this, but in my head I always associated it with the game that old people play on cruise ships in their retirement. I can now safely say that it is exactly like that, only that boys under the age of 10 will play it just as obsessively. (Until you start to win, and then it’s the worst game in the world.)

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Arguably the best part of the place are the really nifty trains that go by every hour or so. Look at them. They’re so pretty.

As the sun oozed towards the horizon I thought we might head back home, so that we could perhaps reach home at a time that was not 11:00 at night, but all three to six boys had other plans, and these plans were: Dutch Wonderland.

Dutch Wonderland is, also, not so bad of a place. At least, normally it’s not. It’s a pretty bad place during the Halloween crush when you have to stand in lines that are eight times as long as the duration of the ride, and you have three to six boys who are unpleasantly tired and are finding everything the others say to be fundamentally wrong and stupid.

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Dutch Wonderland’s Halloween special involved shuffling forwards in a very slow line for forty minutes and being rewarded every twenty feet with enough candy to wire a child for a solid three days.

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Easily the best part of the day was seeing the dinosaur eggs Dutch Wonderland had dressed up for Halloween.

By the time we were out of there, around 7:00 at night, all three to six boys were hungry. “Aha!” I said. “I prepared for this!” and from my nanny bag I produced large bags of pretzels, fruit roll-ups, and vanilla milk for each boy. Cue the contented munching for approximately ten minutes.

And then, a small, horribly sad voice from the back: “Mommy, I’m still hungry.”

When you’re a mother, you can’t argue with a voice like that. “Why don’t you let the food in your stomach settle, and we’ll see if you’re still hungry in–” I began, by which point we had already pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru.

At 7:45 I found myself awkwardly crawling around the van, attempting to place small handfuls of food in napkin bowls on little laps. The youngest contentedly watched me spread out the food, and then said matter-of-factly, “Miss Jean, you can wrap it up and put it back in the bag and I will eat it when I get home.”

I knew you weren’t really hungry and just tired, you little gnomes.

7:55 found me finished packing all the food back up. 7:57 found half of the boys sound asleep. Called it.

In the end, it was only 10:45 by the time we got back, and Mr. Parent was home by then, so I helped carry in a sleeping boy and then retreated to my room to grumpily drink tea and stalk around my small living space in nothing but a bathrobe.

I stress-ate most of my “Raven Claw” cashews.

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