Traveling With Kids – San Diego – Seaport Village

The Best Place To Eat?

seaportThat was the question. The Prettiest-girl-in-the-world txted Schemennis and he recommended Seaport Village, a totally redone (by the Disney people) collection of shops, parks, and restaurants.

So we waited for the next tour bus to arrive, barely squeezed on and headed off to Seaport Village. The sun was still out, the weather glorious but it seemed like all of San Diego had decided to drive out to Seaport Village. The roads were stuffed like an overstuffed pastry. At least that’s what I thought at the moment. Yes, we were all starving.

We drove by the Cheesecake Factory, (but not THE Cheesecake Factory where Big Bang Penny works), and declared THAT was where we would eat. However, when the bus dropped us off to load about a billion people back on to it, we realized the CCF was a bit of a walk. So, with a few more recommendations, we marched into the village.

Only to have a ‘squirrel’ moment.

IMG_3736 (800x600) (2)Like the dog from the movie, ‘Up’, the moment we saw a big crowd watching a girl play with fire, well, we had to stop. We just HAD to stop. And not only was she playing with fire, but was juggling flaming torches while balancing on supports balancing on a chairs!

While the youngest found a seat on the grass and watched with wide eyes and an open mouth, the rest of us maneuvered so that we could see and not block anyone from seeing. Yes, we are Canadian and we think of those things.

The performer was pretty entertaining, but I watched the crowd as much as her. Little kids, despite being able to play super-duper-Mario-Spaz-brothers-deluxe in HD-3D still found live entertainment compelling. They laughed nervously, worry on their little faces,  when she got a little girl in the audiance to throw knives at her. They cheered IMG_3739 (600x800) (2)when she caught them. They gasped when she dropped one and looked to their parents to see how they should react.

It reminded me how important it is to get the boys out and into the world. Watching Sponge Bob or Adventure Time may be amusing, but there are other things out there, other experiences that don’t have to involve rollercoasters or 942’ long aircraft carriers.

After it was over, the youngest told us he could do that.

The oldest, by now on the verge of starving to death, was keen to make sure she was paid for her troubles. He and his brother made their way through the crowds to deposit money in her hat. It was a point of pride for him and it led to a very cool discussion about business while we walked to find food.

IMG_3909 (600x800) (2)The youngest wanted to start a business where people paid him not the be loud or jump on the furniture or hit them. I thought it was a pretty viable option.

But the oldest’s ideas stunned me. He knew about marketing, about target audiences, about product quality and price points. He talked specifically about the pedi-cab drivers. You have to look presentable, he said, and look like you’re having fun, like you’re enjoying it. Maybe offer not to charge a family for children. Maybe have some water. And know where people would be and where they’d be tired and if it was a hot day, he could probably charge more, and have some sort of shade and …

Good lord, it was amazing. He said he’d get enough money to buy a second cab, then a third, then a hotel (ok, that was a bit of a leap, but still, you have to admire the ambition) and then he would get two hotels and retire to some place warm when mom wouldn’t have to work and where he and his brother could play video games all day long.

There’s some deep thinking going on in that boy’s head and it was so cool to see it leak out a bit.

But we eventually found food, a burger place recommended by Schmennis. All the seats in the little square were full so we had to ask if we could share. IMG_3746 (600x800) (2)Awkward to do for shy Canadians, but I found a couple just leaving and we plopped our bottoms down. Ohhh, so nice.

We ate amazing burgers and fries, the youngest trying to drink two drinks at once, the oldest keeping an eye out for fry-stealing birds and the Prettiest-girl-in-the-world glad to be sitting down so her feet could rest.

But the day was far from over.


Being the Older Brother

Being the Older Brother

he aint heavyIt’s not easy. I think I may have been the worst older brother in history. Well, maybe not Cain-and-Able bad, but I do regret that I wasn’t a better role model, that I didn’t stand up for my younger brother, that I specialized in teasing and taunting him.

But while it’s fun to write about the youngest I’ve found myself looking after, the truth is, it’s the older brother who needs to be written about more often.

He has me shaking my head in admiration.

The only problem, it’s not good writing material.

I mean, when I say, “hey, let’s do our homework first,” he says, “Sure.” Then gets it done.

When he’s dragged to hockey practice, he doesn’t mutter a word of complaint; he sits patiently, sometimes talking to me, sometimes playing a game.

thor and lokiWhen we’re at a movie, he doesn’t suddenly need to pee in the middle of an epic battle between Thor and Loki.

In other words, he’s a delight to be around.

How can I make a story out of that?

Yet he’s got so much going for him. He’s got a pitch-perfect singing voice. It comes naturally to him so, you know, he doesn’t count it as a talent or skill.

He’s passionate about Adventure Time and Minecraft and Pokemon (but God-forbid, you say Pokemon-s).

He loves to talk about video games and movies and scientific facts.  “Did you know the Megalodon is alive?” “Or big foot?”

He loves to ask questions that always get me thinking (and often stump me.)

“So what’s the worst dream you’ve ever had?”

pokemon 2“So what’s your favourite pokemon character?” (Stumped! The smooshadon? I dunno, I seem to forget the names as soon as I learn them.)

“So what’s your favourite movie?” (For the record, the greatest movie of all time is The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – yup, all three cuz the three are one and the one is three. One movie to bring them all together and in the darkness bind them.)

Oh sure he has his flaws. He cannot understand why the 1st Star Wars movie is the worst movie of all time, (the Jar-jar Binks abomination, not the Luke Skywalker one), he gets angry his brother sometimes, and he may take life a little too seriously for an 11 year old, but what impresses me most is that he seems to effortlessly be a good guy. I’ve seen him be kind to his mom when she needs it most. I’ve seen him put others’ needs before his. And I’ve seen how caring and brotherly he can be with the youngest.

IMG_2569He talks to his brother, he plays with him, he tries to teach him life lessons (especially about Pokemon,) and, most importantly, he spends time with his younger brother.

He’s a good role model.

Better than I ever was.

He needs to be written about more.

All good guys do.