Teaching the kids to heel

Today, my older kids had the day off school. So, I dropped my twins at daycare, and took Betty and Paul to the Canadian Children’s Museum.

At this point, some readers might be fooled into thinking this post is about the exciting subject of children and tilting boats. Nope. This post is about child management, and the valuable skill of staying together ashore for safety.

I’m only half-joking when I write that I’m teaching my kids to ‘heel’. We actually own two child harnesses. But, just like dogs, children can also run in all directions, and with twins it’s not a very workable system.

When we finally set sail this summer (July 2015) we will explore places on foot. My children must know the importance of staying together, and coming when they are asked. Some people have child management down pat, and it’s not just daycare providers. Staying together is a skill that I need to practice.

Once my eldest daughter (Betty) got lost at a museum and was returned by a dad with five of his own young children in tow. He was an Orthodox Jew and his children seemed to emerge from his long coat, as though they were part of the folds. How he kept his own kids together, while also returning my escapee astounds me.

Sometimes, I observe daycare providers and all of their kids stay together. The kids might hold a rope or the same stroller. Everyone knows the system and follows the rules.

In contrast, my kids are free-spirited hellions. We have 5 acres of property with a creek and a bunch of trees to build forts. They like to roam. They are fearless and very friendly.

The Canadian Children’s Museum tests my child management skills. It provides a maze of different activity villages. It has a child-size cafe, a bus from India, and a pyramid that you can crawl though. Here is a picture of Betty and Paul, while they were still interested in doing things together at the museum.

Betty and Paul - happy together at the Canadian Children's Museum
Betty and Paul – at the Canadian Children’s Museum

My older kids had fun. There lots to see and do. But, soon they would not stay together or with me. So, because they were not listening we cut our visit to 45 minutes and went home.

Here, just let the white space fill in the blanks as to what was actually said. But, I admit that I sounded like a pointy-toed headmistress.

They were not happy with me. Harsh? I hope not. My heart was in the right place. I hope they learned something today that will stick when we go to far-flung places and visit real-life villages with our sail boat.

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