Fun with Boys

I grew up with four brothers, had two sons, so I’m used to being outnumbered by the male of the species. That experience came in handy the last few days.
Last year I took Kayla on a little trip to NYC. A few days where she’d be able to choose what she wanted to do. That included lots of shopping, Cinderella on Broadway, ice skating at Rockefeller Center, and just hanging out. We had Kat and Laura with us–and Laura’s daughter Clare for part of the time. Lots of female energy!
This year it was Logan’s turn. Months ago when I asked him where he wanted to go, he answered instantly:
I want to go to a foreign country (note, he’s been to Ireland and to Greece). I want to go to Canada. Puzzled at his choice, I asked him why. Because. I asked where in Canada. It didn’t matter.
I scratched my head over this for awhile, and offered Montreal. That was cool with him. I also figured this was a guy trip–his Grandda and his uncle Jason. But no, he wanted me, too. And Kat–but she had a cousin’s wedding during the time we could go. So just me on the girl side of things.
Tuesday we flew to Montreal with a very happy eleven-year-old boy, who’d packed for himself, and told his mom when she checked his bag, to be careful as he had it ORGANIZED.
I picked Montreal as I’ve been there a couple times, and it’s a lovely city–with the French aspect. And it’s a quick flight. And I’d found a wonderful hotel in Old Town with a big suite with terrific outdoor 1 (5)
We arrived mid-day, unpacked, caught our breath then headed out. Logan’s French consisted of bonjour and au revoir, so we decided he’d learn a word or phrase a day. Merci was day one, which he used at lunch.
What did the boy want to do in his foreign country of choice? Surprisingly, shopping was high on the list. I let him have his head–within reason–at a souvenir shop. One of his picks was a Canadian flag. Is he thinking about becoming an ex-pat?
Boy energy, as I know very well, is different than girl energy. He wanted to climb everything. Buildings, lamp posts, walls. As I rememberedphoto (5) Montreal is pretty, friendly, and it was just what he wanted. Both Jason and I took high school French (his four years to my two), so we could more or less get by–though everyone switches obligingly to English for the Americans.
We walked–a lot. Listened to music near The Science Center. It’s pretty great to walk around a city with a young boy who’s happy to be there, and happy to be with you.
When rain blew in, we headed back, had our dinner in the room.
Still raining the next day, so it’s handy we planned on spending most of it indoors. The Biodome is first–eco-systems of the world. After breakfast (my only sad is the Canadian DVD player won’t read my yoga disk) we cab it, and spend a chunk of time in Olympic Park–more climbing buildings–seeing sloths and birds, penguins, a lynx, fossils–and the coolest for me a full, intact skeleton photo (6)of a Beluga whale. A trip to the gift shop. He’s serious about shopping.
We take the Metro back to our neighborhood and have lunch in a kind of big diner. Busy, bustling place where our boy learns to say Je m’appelle Logan.
Back to the hotel for a little rest before the Big Night. I’d done some research on what to do with a kid in Montreal and came upon a place called SkyVenture. Here a wind-tunnel inside a big tube simulates a free fall from a plane. Oh, my boys were all about this!
What the information didn’t include was it’s out in the ‘burbs–a loooooong cab ride. But worth every minute. You get multiple flights–two for one minute, and the last for two minutes. Observers–like me (no, I don’t even want to consider knowing what it’s like to free fall) can stand or sit outside the tube, take pictures.
The group’s taken off with a very cute instructor for some training, then to suit up. I’ve watched a few other groups now, one flyer at a time in the tube with the instructor. It’s wild! Arms up above shoulders, belly down, legs out–or knees bent depending. And around and around, up and down you go with the wind whipping.
After each group’s finished, their instructor takes a minute inside, does fancy tricks–pretty amazing–flips and spins and dives.
Jason’s first, and off he goes! My boy’s flying. I can see it’s work, and the cute instructor’s there to correct form, but he’s got a big grin going for most of his first minute.
Now Logan. I swear he was a natural. First time out, he’s doing circles, following the instructor’s hand signals, grinning at me through the tube.
 photo (7)
BW’s next. He has a little trouble, but the instructor corrects, and he’s flying around the tube.
On the second flight, Jason’s already improved. And for Logan’s, I do as he requested and take a slow-motion video of him with his camera phone. What a riot! BW’s second flight is much smoother. And their long third is just great. I think they’d all be doing those flips and dives with a few more flights.
 photo (8)
A fabulous and unique experience for all–even the Observer. Followed by a loooooong cab ride home, a light dinner, and bed.
Our last day is sunny and bright–perfect for our Metro trip to La Ronde–the big amusement park. Logan wants to play the pop the balloons game right after we walk in. I’ve had prior experience on this with him and know I’m going to be carting around some big stuffed animal. photo (9)And sure enough two minutes after we get there, I have a stuffed dog in my bag. Good thing I brought the big one.
His target here is Maison Rouge–a spooky maze with scary clowns. As neither one of us is interested in roller coasters, and the other men are, Logan and I get in line for the spook house, and BW and Jason head for the big wooden roller coaster.
Fifteen seconds after we’re in the spook house my boy freaks. I get it, clowns are scary enough, but I didn’t expect him to go postal. LOL. I have him clinging to me, his hoodie over his face until I can navigate us out–in the mostly dark with clowns popping out at us.
We won’t be doing that one again!
We chill out with a drink, meet our other guys. Bumper cars are more the thing.
We walk–gorgeous day–they ride, we eat, we walk (19,000 steps on my Fitbit that day), we shop. Or Logan and I shop while the others ride more roller coasters, including one that does corkscrews and makes my stomach pitch just watching.
Logan learns a bientot.
Logan and I wander and come to something called The Catapult. We watch as a man and his two kids are strapped into something that looks like a big net. And they’re hauled up, up, up, UP to this tower-like thing. Then the net drops away–I think I squealed–and they fly out way over the water. Catapulted. Swing back, fly out.
No, thanks.
Metro back–the subway system is most excellent–and exhausted flop down in the room.
Our departure day is again sunny and bright. Breakfast on the terrace. Logan learns to add. J’ai onze ans to Je m’appelle. Oh, and 2 (7)
Pack it up, and he says a bientot to the room as we head out.
We’re dropping Jason off in Boston where he’ll meet Kat for the wedding–and we do Customs there. Back to Hagerstown where his mom, sister and little brother are waiting. He’s learned m’amie, mon ami and mes amis on the plane. So says: Salut, mes amis. LOL.
Big hugs all around, and it’s a bientot, Logan, mon cher garcon.
A really delightful few days in the memory book.

33 thoughts on “Fun with Boys”

  1. I’m so happy, you and the guys had a nice time in my homeland. If you ever have the chance, Newfoundland is a great place. I don’t live in St. John’s, but it is a interestin g place, lots of history.
    I live in a small town on the rock and it’s not uncommon to see a big ‘ol moose or two.
    Just want to add that I enjoy all of the books you write and have a nice collection on the go 🙂

  2. Oh Nora,
    What a great great adventure! I am sure that he will remember this trip forever! I know that I would.
    Our biggest thing this weekend is going downtown here in Austin Texas to brave the crowds and eat from all the food venders, stop for outdoor margaritas and watch the fireworks. Gosh I am tired already!
    Happy 4th of July to you and your family! Beth

  3. What a memory you created for everyone involved! I would have been with you observing. No more roller coasters for me, and heights? No thank you!

  4. What a nice Grandma. Don’t you just love being a Grandma! I’m sure Logan will remember his special trip forever. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I’ve been following you for years. Your blog gives us some of the “real” you, the person behind your stories. This one especially. Thanks for sharing.

  6. The things I did with my grandmother stay precious in my heart all these years later. Sweet boy will always remember your gift of a trip to Canada. Glad you had a blast…I would’ve wanted to do the wind tunnel though. LOL

  7. You are a wonderful Nana! And Logan is one very fortunate boy. This time is so precious. Thanks for sharing with us!

  8. Loved the commentary of your trip to Montreal. All I could think of is how Eve would do in the Maison Rouge! HaHa Clowns are going down.

  9. And a wonderful memory for HIS memory book, too. I loved and still remember the times I had my grandparents to myself. Just caught up with the Inspector Gamache mysteries, so thanks for the return to Montreal!

  10. Welcome to Canada, Logan, so nice you chose us to visit, eh!! Nora, what a wonderful memory you made for your dear grandson! Sounds like a great time in Montreal. Been to La Ronde several times and went on that roller coaster only once, and never again!! My daughter in law is also the only girl to four brothers, and she & our son have three boys & one girl. So on the weekend we “rescued” our granddaughter (8) to give her some much needed time away from her brothers. It was so special for her and we visited our other son, wife & our 2 year old granddaughter and 3 week old grandson.
    Grandchildren are awesome and we’re all so blessed to have them in our lives. Happy 4th to you!!

  11. The only thing I remember from when I was his age is the time I got to spend with my grandparents. It was fun. I think he will remember it for a long time.

  12. Sounds like a great time. I think it’s awesome that you get to spend individual time with the grands.

  13. What a lovely holiday, and he would feel so special doing stuff just for him.

  14. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Sounded like a fun time. Will we be reading about spooky clowns in a future book? Lol! Really enjoyed Liar.

  15. What a fun & wonderful trip! He will cherish the memory forever. Montreal is on my list of places I would like to visit – my parents went there on their honeymoon in July 1968 (from Detroit).

  16. You and your grandchildren are extremely lucky to have the experiences and memories that you do! You are assisting in the creation of adults that will also pass good manners and respect to those they meet and those they love.

  17. That was a great trip and so much fun to read. Love that you connected so much new learning to your trip..makes it even more memorable. Now is your time to rest and enjoy the holiday:)

  18. Sounds like a wonderful time with your grandson and the boys
    Thanks for sharing! Grandchildren are wonderful and we are so lucky to have them.

  19. What wonderful memories you’re making! I have never considered Canada for a vacation destination, but I think Logan’s on to something there! As a sister to three brothers and a mother of two sons, I love reading about other women’s experiences in “boy world”. 😉

  20. You do all kinds of things and are exhausted yet never exhausted as when your with a child. Babies, toddler, small child you have to watch constantly. When they finally get older they still can scare the crap out of you. I had my 16 recently released from a leg cast because he did a trick on his skate board. He went left the skate board had other ideas. 16 to newborn are my bio babes but hubby has 4 kids from the 1st marriage and the eldest (37) married with a young daughter uses guns daily to save the world and when he’s been shot doesn’t matter if it’s the first or the 100th (Actually it’s 3 times) your heart is in your mouth. He and his brothers aren’t my bio babes but I consider them mine by mind, heart and soul. My greatest day when he asked if he could call me mom. I made sure I didn’t step on any toes. He was young when I married his dad and his wife had died more then a decade ago but I wanted him to understand I maybe mom but his mother will always be his mother and shouldn’t be forgotten either. I spend time with the grandbabies 3 boys and a girl and it wipes me out even though I’m 48.

  21. Montreal is a beautiful & fun city. It sounds like you had a great time & fun shopping.

  22. So glad you had a great time in Canada. It’s nice down here in wine country too – Niagara Region, Ontario!

  23. You are very fortunate to have such a gallant young man as your companion.. You gave him a wonderful memory to think about when he thinks of you! Congrats!

  24. So glad you and yours enjoyed my city. Perhaps I’ll see you here on your next visit. There are still some amazing sights to see and wonderful places to people watch!

  25. Lucky boy Logan! Special trips with your grandparents are great fun, no matter how old you are. I (25 at the time) went to Disneyland with my grandma (75 at the time) last year for my first overseas trip and it’s a memory we’ll both have to cherish for ever. I wouldn’t have gone near that Haunted House. I love haunted houses but clowns terrify me.
    G’day from Australia!

  26. Sounds like a fabulous trip. I hope the next time you come to my “foreign” country 🙂 you make it to Toronto! Lots to see and do from the CN Tower with its Edgewalk (no possible way!), hockey hall of fame, Skydome, Ripley’s aquarium and the lake of course.

  27. Thanks for sharing your trip. It felt like I was there. Now I want to visit Montreal….

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