Sunday, 9 November 2008

Time Is (Better Than) Money

I found renewed fun in having a recent week of days out with my son.

Since he started nursery last September, and the hours he has spent there have increased, our jollies together have naturally dwindled.

We still get them of course, but it used to be five days a week, every week, rather than the nominal two in the current rota.

Venue or activity was always critical in my five day planning, to ensure that we both enjoyed our trips out and about.

I also think that younger children, two and under, enjoy the company of other children, but they do not necessarily play together well, or for any great length of time.

Now, as a virtual four-year-old, I find it is people rather than place that can make for a great day.

Having kids here, or going to others’ homes is as much an event as trekking half way across the county sometimes.

Our last trip out of the school holidays was a great example of this.

We were out with a couple of families from the village, and our original intention was to visit a local children’s theme park.

With the inconsistent weather this was subject to change at the last minute, and indeed through the days leading up to our outing the venue changed a few times.

Therefore none of us had really paid much attention to the prices at this place, and we had also neglected that we would be visiting on the 31st of October, Halloween, or another reason to heighten prices based on that not-so-helpful supply and demand curve.

Everything was going to plan, we were all present and correct at the agreed time and rendezvous point.

And we set off on foot to this place of anticipated magical experience.

When we arrived at the pay-booth, we were greeted by a rather unpleasant witch and the rather more unpleasant prices.

It was going to cost us £7 each for the children, and £6 for ourselves, just for entry. Then there would have been hot food, as the weather really dictated we would need a good warm by lunch time, plus whatever else our offspring charmed us into.

Without anyone one of us wishing to appear tight, we quickly agreed that we should return to the park we had trekked from, and take the day, more cost-effectively, from there.

Being on a similar wavelength to the other two parents really pleased me, but I was not lucking forward to the anticipated backlash from the disappointed little ones.

I should not have worried.

I chose to offer little explanation as to why we were not going in, I did not feel that Max would, or should, understand an economic argument just yet.

Instead I told him we needed to go and find a better looking witch back in the park, and all his friends were going to help.

There was no fuss, and the other children were brilliant and accepted whatever their respective parent had told them.

They were just happy to enjoy each others’ company.

We trotted back to the park, which has a series of playgrounds for all ages, so there was plenty for each of them to do, and it kept us busy too.

A warm lunch was bought within the local shopping centre, the children were all good again and enjoyed their dishes.

And as Max and another child needed new shoes, even that could be done.

To boot (sincere pun apologies) it was a more pleasurable experience, and was unexpectedly chalked off the to-do list.

Another part of the park kept us all entertained in the afternoon, and at the end of the day all the kids had clearly had a great time. And the parents similar.

Plus we were a little smug that we had spent less money doing it. Share/Save/Bookmark


harassedmomsramblings said...

I totally agree with you!!! The kids and I have had the best fun when we end up doing stuff like this!

And parks totally rock!!

Penelope said...

When my kids were little we lived about 15 minutes walk from the beach on the south coast. We spent every available moment, in all weathers on the beach, in the water, walking the dog or having impromptu picnic teas with friends. It cost nothing but those are the best times :o)

Single Parent Dad said...

Harassedmom - They do don't they? You just need the company for a good time.

Penelope - That sounds absolutely lovely. I think the beach is at its best in cold dry weather.

Mama Nabi said...

Some of the most fun LN and I have had consists of no fees. In fact, we have the most fun walks while pretending to be different people. It is quite the racket, isn't it, this business of theme parks? They make you pay to get in, you can't bring outside food in so you have to buy their food, and the rides! Oh, the rides... Yes, I make a terrible capitalist.

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