Friday, April 22, 2011

Here's your pony. Try not to fall in the river.

O is definitely feeling better. He was acting like his old, happy self last night, kicking the soccer ball around and stuffing himself with stolen cheese snacks. It would have been nice if he could stay around, because I'm not a huge fan of the whining, clinging, volatile 2-year-old who is visiting today.

I have no idea what is going on, but both kids are behaving terribly. Which is a little bit frustrating considering today has involved a moon bounce, a trampoline, a pony ride AND ice cream. What would it take to get a good mood around here? Disney land and a mainline of cotton candy? 

But in the end, that's the thing about vacations: you do all kinds of great stuff, get too much sunshine, eat junky food and stay up late drinking red wine. I mean, milk. But taking little ones out of their routine (and I use that term loosely, because we don't have that strict of a schedule) will almost always end in bad behavior. And because you aren't in your own home, and because children are capable of making a noise that is the aural equivalent of pulling out your fingernails, you give in to whatever they want just to keep the peace. Which is fine until they start clamoring for the next ice cream or pony ride or whatever. It's a vicious cycle. Luckily, there is plenty of red wine. I mean MILK. Geez.

In any case, the pony ride was interesting. I had kind of forgotten about how the French are much more relaxed in their attitude to risk management. If you've ever done any outdoor pursuits here, you will notice the lack of concern about whether you might gravely wound yourself/never come back from the bridge jump/river rafting/back mountain skiing/also, apparently, pony riding. It's charming.

I showed up with M at the horse stables and explained that we wanted to do a short ride for a 5-year-old. The owner was very friendly, letting M pick out her pony by color (they were all brown), putting her in a helmet, and showing her how to brush the horse before putting on the saddle. So nice! This was obviously going to be great.

Once he had her seated, he handed me the reins, pointed us to a path that lead into the distance, gave me some convoluted instructions about turning right, then left, then left again into the forest and then keep the river on your right, and we'll see you in 30 minutes. Maybe. Also, please make sure she leans forward when going uphill and backward when going downhill. 

Um, obviously this man wasn't listening when I apologized for being late because we got lost on the way over. From a village that is 5 km away. Also, I'm sorry, did you say forest? And something about downhill? I have no clue what I'm doing! Don't horses bite and kick and stuff? I'm wearing ballet flats!

But don't worry. We made it and only had to stop for directions once. M had a great time, and since we're on vacation, we had extra ice cream and red wine in celebration. I mean milk.

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