Living in downtown Columbus has many perks. That includes easy access to many of the city’s festivals and events. Having a newborn and a 2 ½-year-old, these events are cheap and easy ways for us to get out of the house and have a little fun for a couple of hours. At the beginning of the summer, I determined that we would hit every toddler-friendly activity offered at a festival. We would have a designated amount of time available to spend at each place. If we were going to hit them all before naptime, there much time for lingering. You can imagine how well that would turn out with a two-year-old. Lots of tantrums and whining, and I began to realize that nobody was having the kind of fun I was imagining we would have in my head.
Now in my defense, I grew up in a home where we would go to Kings Island for the day, and my dad would print out a timeline and map of the day’s adventures that included estimated wait times for rides and alternative routes if our planned schedule varied too much. We weren’t exactly what you would call a “go with the flow” type of family.
Having my son has helped (forced) me to learn to relax and appreciate the moment without my added expectations. As my husband reminds me, he is two. He doesn’t know what he is missing. Let him make this his experience and enjoy it however he wants. This has really resonated with me, especially after adding another baby to the mix a few months ago. We don’t need to add any additional stresses to life right now, and I want our memories to be filled with laughter instead of frustration.
Letting the Two-Year-Old Direct Our Adventure
In August we stopped by Mayor Ginther’s FamJam one Saturday morning for a couple hours. As we arrived at the Commons, I looked out and saw dozens of tents and activities on the lawn. I couldn’t wait to take my son to explore all of them. The first thing we saw was a mobile book library. In the eyes of a two-year-old, awesomeness! Two of his favorite things put together in one, books and vehicles! I thought we would walk through it quickly and be on to the festival. As the minutes passed by, I found myself looking out longingly to the rest of the festival. I reminded myself to let this be his experience. We spent the next forty minutes exploring books and playing games with the librarians. We really were having a blast!
When we walked out of the bus, he immediately locked eyes on the carousel and wanted to ride it. This kid has ridden that carousel dozens of times. What about all the vendors and activities set up for the day!? But this was his day. Three times riding different animals on the carousel and this was one of the best days of his life!
Then he saw the fire trucks and ambulance. These vehicles weren’t one of the festival’s attractions but were off to the side in case someone needed medical attention. We didn’t care because FIRETRUCKS! Happy to have a little boy so excited to see them, the firemen gave us the full tour.
We were all tired by this point and ready for naps. We had hardly seen any of the festival, but for once I didn’t care. It was a great time with fun experiences and no stress or tantrums to taint our memories. I still have a long way to go, but am appreciating learning to live in the moment. My family appreciates it too.