Friday, September 6, 2013

Family Vacation MacFuddle Style

While imagining a week of blissful family time camping in the beautiful wilderness,  I planned a week long family vacation to Jasper and Banff National Parks. Looking back at that level of fantasy (Blissful? Seriously?),
it seems likely I was wrapped in the warm embrace of a glass of red wine.

Either way, we hit the road armed with the tent trailer, clothes, DVDs and video games. Everyone was happy and excited.  Until we got to the city limits.  The limits of our city. We had been in the vehicle for 15 minutes when it started.  

"Don't put your stuff there, my stuff is there."
"Your stuff is taking up too much room, I need to put my stuff there, too!"
"Moooom, he's too close, he's breathing, he's making that face, he's being a jerk. Why did you have to have two kids - you should have just had me first?" etc., etc.

Naturally, I shouted "Drop the banana!" I must make a note that shouting out random fruit commands creates silence in our family. They all stopped bickering and looked at me for further explanation.

"Let's play a new game.  The first person that stops a fight by saying "Drop the banana" gets a reward."  
Boy 2, "How much?  A quarter?"
Thinking, "They will never be able to hold this together anyway; I have fifty cents", I say, "Sure, but I can also deduct points for misbehavior."

Have you ever almost dropped a glass, freaked out " OMG, I am going to shatter glass, wreck the floor, wound the children, probably lose an eye", then manage to catch the glass in a terrifically athletic way, saving the day, and think, "No, disaster averted, I am awesome", then the glass somehow gets slippery and you drop it and break it anyway?  Drop the Banana was kind of like that but instead of lasting seconds, it lasted for seven days...

At first it worked brilliantly.  They would start bickering and one would triumphantly shout, "Drop the Banana." Everyone would laugh and the fight would stop. They would tally their points.  After initially being irritated by yet another of my dumb ideas, even PHD started to see the appeal of the game. He muttered something about preferring a parents only version of the game called Hide the Banana. I told him not only was that inappropriate, but his points were very far into the negative so he should work very hard at getting along with the other children. (I am still relatively awesome at this point and can get away with my "humor".)

Anyway, for whatever reason, this game was utterly enthralling to the boys.  Both were as engaged by this game as they usually are by their electronics.  Boy 2 pretty rapidly found a loophole by starting a fight with Boy 1, only to shout DROP THE BANANA, immediately, earning a point.  We all agreed that wasn't fair and created the first rule. "No starting fights to win a round." The next day was spent creating about 900 rules. By Tuesday, I could see PHD twitch every time he heard "Drop the Banana". It all came to a head in the public campground showers after a particularly intense rule debate about whether or not you could earn points while arguing over the rules of the Drop the Banana game.

PHD:  That's it!  No more Drop the Banana.
Boy 2:  The game or saying Drop the Banana?
PHD:  Both.
Boy 1:  Can we just say Drop?
PHD: No!
Boy 2: Can we just say banana?
PHD: No!
Boy 1: What if we want to have a banana?
Boy 2: Or buy a banana?
Boy 2: Well then you can't say ban.
Boy 1:  Or even bad. 
PHD:  AARRRGGG!  (I am guessing about that part; I wasn't actually in the men's bathroom showers until the next morning.  I will tell you about that another time.) It seemed the metaphorical glass had shattered at this point.  

So the next day we went for a horseback ride.  I mean, a trail ride. Nope, can't say trail, it has an a. (There are actually surprisingly few B's in the English language. The A's and N's are trickier, though.)  I will just show you a picture  instead.

__ picture of the __ __ck  of __oy 2's horse.

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