February 1, 2006
Now that Benton is well on the road to recovery from his salmonella/pneumonia/abscesses-in-leg-muscles-and-bones experience, he’s back to going to school full time, and I’m back to driving him there at 7:00 in the morning. I could probably start up a separate blog solely devoted to our exchanges. He’s not so much entertaining in the “funny things kids say” genre, but more entertaining in a “six-year-olds can have a pretty interesting perspective as they try to figure things out” kind of way.
Last Saturday evening, we went over to some friends of ours — the Herberts — for dinner. The Herberts have two kids — Jordan, who is 9 or 10, and Jack, who is 7. So, Jack and Benton are roughly the same age (they play baseball in the same league). Jordan likes to take over and direct all the kids. Carson — when in the right mood — is happy to participate in directed play. The Herberts have a trampoline, and they live on a cul-de-sac where a number of the other houses have kids as well. And, the final bonus, the cul-de-sac is not particularly flat. There are lots of sloping driveways into it, and the cul-de-sac itself actually slopes down in the direction of the outlet.
We took over the Green Machine that Santa brought Benton and Carson for Christmas, as well as the Razor A Scooters that my parents got for them (hmmm…just saw that these are rated for ages 8-12, and they were given to a six-year-old and a four-year-old; good thing, I guess, that they got all possible protective gear, too). Jack also has a scooter, as do several of the other kids in the cul-de-sac. The kids had a ball — an amorphous pack of energy flowing rapidly around the cul-de-sac and up and down various driveways. A bicycle got thrown into the mix, too. There was the occasional wipe-out, but Bob (the Male Herbert Parent) and I were able to kick back, drink beer, and generally hang out and solve the world’s problems (we’re very good at this — do it quite often) while keeping tabs on the chaos. We made a fire in the backyard so the kids could roast hot dogs, and then, after dinner, Jennifer (the Female Herbert Parent) brought out sparklers for the kids to play with.
Needless to say, Benton and Carson had a ball (although Carson later insisted, while scowling aggressively, that nobody would play with him the whole time). They both wanted to go back on Sunday afternoon. Now, I’ve had plenty of experience trying to recreate an exceptionally good time by going to the same place with the same people and doing the same thing. It’s almost never as much fun the second time around. Not even close.
As it turned out, we weren’t able to make it back over on Sunday. Lots of other things were going on, and we opted for getting the kids down to bed early in preparation for the week. But, Benton has stayed on topic all week, and we’ve discussed it on the drive to school two of the last three mornings. I made the innocent enough comment that I just made above — that, even if we’d gone back on Sunday, it probably would not have been as much fun. Benton wanted to know why. This forced me to try to figure out why that was.
My take is that, in most cases, there is not a high expectation that any activity will be super-enjoyable. So, if it is, part of the pleasure is the surprise at how much fun it is. It’s a totally different mindset when attempting a repeat, as the expectation is that it will be super-enjoyable. Higher expectations are harder to live up to. And, there are too many variables in life to realistically recreate much of anything. I pointed out to Benton that the other kids that live on the cul-de-sac might not be out playing, that the weather could be warmer or cooler, that somebody might just be in a bad mood, that there would not be sparklers. All of those factors might affect how much fun he would have.
He’s been pondering it and tried to tell me why I think it won’t be as much fun. But, he clearly still doesn’t buy it.
The irony that just hit me: I’m flying out to San Diego this Friday with Bill Hackett to attend the opening series of the 2006 UT baseball season. In large part, this is because, last year, I flew out to San Diego with Bill Hackett to attend the opening series of the 2005 UT baseball season, and we had a blast. We’ll see how it goes this time!
I’d promised an update. Through Priceline, we got a hotel for $85/night at the Hyatt Regency Islandia. According to their site, their normal rate is $189/night for weekends, and $169/night for weekdays, so it looks like we’re making out okay.