Yesterday we had our first foray with kayaking as a family of six. You see, Mark and I are in the process of finding new hobbies that we can do as a family. It’s our attempt at trying to feel less
trapped limited when we are having family time. . . so that we can try to look forward to our free days with the kids instead of figuring out how to pass the time until they sleep. One thing we've noticed, with all the couples counseling we've been in conducted over the years, is that it seems like most happier couples have mutual interests that keep the spark alive. Like how Dog the Bounty Hunter and his wife both love catching criminals and orange tanning lotion. Or the way Spencer and Heidi are both attention whores that love making a total mockery of the Christian faith. SHARED INTERESTS. It's the glue, people.
Plus, we've also made it a goal to follow as many bumper sticker slogans as possible, obviously starting with The Family Who Plays Together, Stays Together. Also taking into consideration the fact that Life is Short, Play Hard. Just Do It. Life is Not A Dress Rehearsal. We're Not Old, We're Recycled Teenagers!
(and also If The Minivan's A Rockin' . . . . well, maybe I'll keep that one to myself).
Unfortunately there are not a lot of activities that can safely hold the interest of a 5-year-old, two 3-year-olds, and a baby. Being at the beach means one of us is attending to the sand-eater while the other attends to three children who have no sense of the fact that they cannot swim.
Kristen India hates sports, Karis is too young to participate meaningfully in anything, and the boys need to be constantly moving. So kayaking seemed like a good option because of the a) inaccessibility to sand b) flexibility in terms of children helping vs. sitting there, and c) requirement of life vests enforced by someone other than me.
It ended up being a really fun experience. The kids were excited, and it was peaceful and relaxing for about 10 minutes until Karis decided that she would prefer to stand and attempt to jump into the water, or sit bent over with her face in the water. So I spent a good half hour paddling with Karis in a vice-grip between my knees (though I think it might have been an excellent inner-thigh workout). When I got tired of that, I just started splashing Karis in the face with water every time she stood up.
I think I saw that on the Dog Whisperer once. It’s a classic behavioral modification technique for animals children. But even though Karis was a handful, India turned to me while we were out on the water and said, “Mommy, this is the best adventure we have ever had”. Which is a pretty great thing to hear.
As we were focused on pulling the kayaks out of the water, Jafta managed to commandeer a paddleboard, and he was several feet out into the water before either of us noticed. And since we were both too lazy to swim in after him, he got a decent ride in.
Thanks to The Dunes in Newport Beach for a fun day, and for not kicking my kid out for stealing that paddeboard. I’m pretty sure they all had a blast.