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Vacationing on Kid Time

Matt Villano

Ever notice how long it takes to do stuff on a family trip? You name the activity, and I’m willing to bet a fat wad of good money that said activity takes about half as long when you’re not attempting to do it with a gaggle of little humans under the age of, say, five.

The kiddies have their own agendas. They operate on their own timetables. And they can’t be rushed. For anything.

Powerwoman and I are reminded of this every time we take our girls out and about (which is a lot). This past weekend, on a family excursion to San Francisco, was no exception.

Exhibit A: A short stroll from the light rail station to a nearby carousel. Solitary, this native New Yorker could knock out a route like that in two, three minutes tops. With daughters in tow, we stopped at every fountain, pigeon and funny-looking human along the way, taking it all in before we returned to our (apparently boring) life in the country.

Exhibit B: Lunch. We had 30 minutes to down lunch before a children’s theater performance. Flying solo, I could wolf down a three-course meal in that time. As a family, however, it took us 30 minutes just to find a place and grab seats.

(Thankfully, the baby is in a stage where she consumes food at breakneck speed. We still were 20 minutes late to the show.)

Exhibit C: Leaving the hotel. Because I’m uber-organized (some might even call me obsessive-compulsive), my stuff is always ready to go in an instant. But the girls need time. Lots of time. Even with 15-, 10-, 5-, 2- and 1-minute warnings, it still took 15 minutes physically to get them out the door. And that turnaround was relatively speedy.

The list could go on and on. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing; I am by no means complaining.

Instead, IMHO, the act of being forced to slow down and appreciate fountains and lights and all sorts of other little things actually enhances the overall experience for the grownups every time.

Sure, it’d nice if the girls moved a tad more quickly now and then. But the fact that they experience family travel at their own pace is what makes traveling with them such fun; I hope it doesn’t change for a long while.

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