Playing Hooky

I had a glorious day this week playing hooky with all of my kids.

We own a game that is no longer produced (by Mattell) called Chatter Matters.* It is a very hokey family game designed to get the family “talking”. One has to answer questions about how well they know other family members, about their own childhood memories, etc. Part of the shtick of the game is that each player gets to choose their “prize” from a list at the beginning of the game that they will get if they should happen to be the winner. The list includes things like “the dessert of your choice alone with the family member of your choice” & “movie night at the house one night, and you pick the movie.”

This game became very popular in my house over the long Pesach break, and led to many very sweet family conversations and moments. It also led to one child winning a trip to the zoo on a school day.

So, this past week I took off of work, pulled all the kids out of school (except dss), and too off for a day at the Philadephia Zoo.

I was quite excited at the prospect that on a school day it would be deserted and we would have full run of the place. Imagine my suprise when I pulled up and not only the two closest parking lots were FULL, but there were 90 buses lined up on the street parked as well. (An employee told me that was the actual number the next day.)

We managed to avoid the throngs of school children for the most part. This was one of the many aspects that made it easier to have gone to a place I already was very familiar with.  We enjoyed the zoo tremendously, and we love the Philly Zoo in general. So much so, that I have decided that I am going to write a separate post altogether about the zoo itself.

I wanted to make separate, and I hope not too obvious points.

The Zoo itself was part of the reason that I was able to take six kids on an adventure by myself, and part of the reason we all managed to have fun. However, the kids were really in a great mood simply because I had taken them on a school day. I dropped my work and we just had a one-day mini vacation where it was all about them. The impact was tremendous. Maybe other people get to do this more often than we do, but with so many kids it isn’t easy, and I know in Israel Sundays aren’t time off and here they seem to get swallowed up by simchas and the insane birthday party circuit alarmingly quickly.  They felt loved,  and they actually said so.

I also told them that many people would consider it simply crazy to take six kids ages ten and under on an outing for the day without another adult. That it was in their hands; they could prove it can be done by listening and cooperating. That it would probably encourage me to be brave and try it again. Or, they could show me that it really is crazy, and I just won’t try it anymore.  Somehow, by some miracle, they seemed to get that. I am consistently re-amazed at the efficacy of a good in-car, pre-event pep talk. By the end of five hours at the zoo with 90 degree weather there was admittedly some melt-down commencing, not entirely on the part of the children, but everyone, including ima2seven, managed to keep it together.

I did call poor husband who had to go to work instead of coming out to play hooky and ask him to have some dinner for us when we walked in.

The last comment I want to add is that (of course) they learned a ton. And (of course) not just about animals. I have a tough time believing they would have learned more had they been in school. And even if they did, I wouldn’t have been right there, eating up every minute of it.

*The link to this game from Amazon sells the game. I think it is worth it. For a better description you can visit this other link, where they are selling the same game for $110.95.

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