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 space.
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 remembered 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 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.
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.
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. 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.
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 Salut.
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.