No, this isn't a "Las Vegas with Kids" entry. Travelin' Mom and I contemplated bringing Travelin' Junior on a trip we had to take to Vegas last January, but every time I looked up advice on bringing small children to Vegas, the message was essentially the same: Just don't. So, we didn't.
I'm talking about a different kind of gamble that most parents take every time they travel, whether long distance or local: the gamble that involves predicting how their children will behave. Some parents assume the worst and venture out only when they have to. Other parents ignore the possibility of things going awry, and travel whenever they wish. Many parents, like TM and I, try to gauge how our child will respond to a particular outing, and then determine whether it's still worth going.
Of course, the problem with predictions is that they're not always accurate. On occasion, TM and I have wrongly gauged TJ's mood to comically disastrous results. But, then there are also those great times when, even though you're not sure you should be making an outing, you do, and your kid rises to the occasion and you have a great time. What's more fun than exceeding lowered expectations?
We had a small example of such a time this weekend. TM and I had our minds set on visiting our favorite local Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately, as the day wore on we realized that TJ was in "I need a change of scenery every 30 seconds to keep me entertained" mode. And he was letting the world know about it when that scenery change didn't come quickly enough. After some deliberation, TM and I decided to roll the dice and go out to eat anyway; the lure of the chimichanga was worth the risk. Hopefully, TJ would find the Mexican restaurant entertaining enough. If not, we'd resort to Plan B: ask for stronger margaritas and drink fast.
Thankfully, TJ decided that the frantic comings-and-goings of the restaurant were much more entertaining than those two dolts, Mom and Dad, had been all day. He was in a great mood and ate a bigger dinner than he had in days. He must have felt the same way we had-- we couldn't remember a meal tasting so good lately.
The moral of the story? Roll the dice once in a while. Sure, you might crap out. But, you also might hit the jackpot, or at least the Mexican food equivalent.