Blues Fest and Cat Shows….. How to Raise Brave Party Kids

I have a theory.  If you take your kids to weird places, odd and unusual events, likegGraffiti parties, Cat Shows, crawdad cookoffs and music festivals  they will be better equipped to handle all sorts of bizarre and strange situations in life.  They will become more flexible and well behaved. If  you take kids to different types of  events,  different cultures won’t make them freak out or cause them to melt down. I know so many kids who go into  spoiled-kid-anaphylactic-shock when they have to deal with something unfamiliar. They point, stare and whine, they get picky, rude, grouchy and insulant. 

Start hauling them around when they are just two or three so by the time they are seven they will be fun and well behaved and you can take them anywhere. They will learn to suck crawdad tails, eat crepes, smelly cheese and home made rootbeer.

Tonight, I took Sandor and Lex to the Blues Fest downtown.  Sandor didn’t know if he really wanted to go, but I said get in the car.  He didn’t know what to expect (he went to the jazz and blues fest last year but 9 year old boys forget everything). I didn’t let him bring an I-Pod or game because I wanted him to actually pay attention to the Blues Fest, I wanted him to listen to the music, watch the musicians, eat the yucky fried food and watch old hippies dance with bluesy abandon. 

Since the kids were toddlers I’ve been dragging them to Amish quilt festivals, zydeco concerts, art galleries, documentary festivals, black history celebrations, cheese making parties, donkey basket ball games,  farmers markets, poetry slams, football games and rock concerts. I do it because it’s fun and I think it’s good for them. As a result they usually know how to handle all kinds of situations. When we go out they don’t whine too much, they relax and have fun. As soon as the band started the first big blues song Lex and Sandor were up on the floor dancing together. Sandor even did his moonwalk.

So please, don’t make the mistake of keeping your kids at home just because they don’t think they want to go to the Topiary Festival or Polo Game. You’re the parent, tell them to get in the car and give it a try.  Be brave, take them to stuff, weird stuff and relax. If it doesn’t work out….you can always leave. And try again next weekend.


Culture vs Cowbells….Hear that Bell Ringing?

No, I don’t want a lovely glass of Merlot, instead I think I slug down this warm paper cup full of Gatorade.

That’s my life right now.

I’m too busy with happy redneck/family stuff and never have time to take my kids to any of the brilliant, quality, cultural events in my hometown.

Hot Springs, Arkansas is a magnificent spa city with music, art even hot air balloon festivals, galleries and countless affordable cultural events. I read about them, I drive past them and I think how wonderful it would be to take the kids to the Friday Night Gallery Walks. They would have fun and learn about fine art.

But there’s not a snowballs chance in hell we can do that on a Friday night. We’re not missing the Fountain Lake football games. I even have a purple cow bell to ring violently when we make a few yards. And more importantly, I’m not missing the amazing Cobra marching band at half time show or the chance to win a smoked pork butt, courtesy of the FFA.

This weekend Hot Springs hosts the 20th Annual Documentary Film Festival. film makers arrive from all over the planet and a day pass to watch all sorts of stunning and fascinating films is just $20. But we have to work the PTO Carnival ring toss booth and Sandor has his third grade football games on Saturday. Around four I have to start the “laundry train”. Every weekend I do at least ten loads of laundry to get us all caught up, because there’s no time during the week.

After church on Sunday morning I really wanted to take a hike with the National Park rangers. They were going to teach us how to find arrow heads, but that’s when I have to do the two hour killer “Wal-Mart/Kroger, get some more Little Debbie Snack Cakes” shopping run, then take Lexie to do her knee workouts.

Sometimes, I feel as though I’m missing life as it whoooshes past. But that’s not true. This is my beautiful cowbell ringing, Hot Pocket eating “Mom can you help me get my cup in my pants” life. Good thing I kind of like warm Gatorade.