We went on the coolest hike today: the Standing Rock and Caves trail near Collingwood. It was two hours of scrambling up and down boulders, navigating huge crevasses, and finding out who the chickens are in our family (hint: I’m one of them. Bawk!).
We also had an impromptu sex education class when we came across what looked like a giant fuzzy bee. On closer inspection we saw that it was two bees: one very large one, and a smaller one attached to the big one’s rear end. I presume the large one was the queen and the small one, the drone. She stayed entirely still while the drone moved furiously back and forth.
“This is very rude! Nobody wants to see that!” R complained. “Can’t they find somewhere more private?
“Well, this is awkward,” was K’s observation. “How long are they going to keep it up?”
I’ll hand it to the drone, he had some serious stamina. When we left our resting spot fifteen minutes after arriving there, he was still pumping away. I guess he was prolonging the inevitable, seeing as drones die after mating.
Towards the end of the fun part of the hike, Mr. December looked at the smiling, rosy-cheeked children and asked, “Are you guys having fun?”
“Yeah!” The kids cheered.
“When I ask you later how the hike was, what are you going to say?”
“Meh, it was okay.”
That’s the problem in a nutshell. To get to the point where they were having fun and begging to be allowed to explore “just one more” cave, we had to go through the forty-minute ordeal that is getting the kids out of the house, which I believe has stages similar to Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief: Announcement, Denial, Insistence, Refusal, and Acceptance.
The Announcement phase begins with one or more adults telling the kids that we’re going somewhere, so please get ready. This phase might be prolonged by questions from the children about our destination.
Denial is just what it sounds like. The children deny having heard us, or they deny ever having expressed an interest in the proposed outing. At this point you might hear the parents repeating the announcement in an increasingly irritated tone.
Insistence is two-sided: the parents insist that the children comply immediately, and the children insist that we stay home and do nothing. Insistence sometimes involves the children using physical tactics such as tickling, dogpiling on Mr. December, or biting (!) to delay or abort the outing.
Refusal is when the children and parents both dig in their heels. The children simply refrain from any behaviours that look like preparation to leave the house. The parents, meanwhile, stop listening to the complaints and begin moving towards the car, all the while spouting bizarre logic like, “If you don’t put your shoes on right now, you’ll be hiking with no shoes. I mean it.”
You’ll know that the Acceptance stage has been reached by the extensive use of the word “FINE.” There may also be sighing, arguments about who sits where in the car, and complaints of, “I can’t find my shoe! WHO TOOK MY OTHER SHOE? I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU GUYS WOULD—oh, nevermind. I found it.”
These stages are an intricate dance as consistent as the sun rising and setting; for our family, at least. Kind of makes me wonder why we’re surprised every time it happens.