They say all good things must come to an end. And while I am not totally sure who the "they" is referring to in this adage, there is a very good chance it is someone who has spent some post Thanksgiving Day time at my house. Thursday itself is filled with joy mixed with a little chaos. Friday, on the other hand, is pure chaos mixed with the aroma of whatever exotic leftover-turkey soup recipe my husband spends the morning creating.
Part of what makes "The Days After" so crazed for me has nothing to do with Black Friday (and Saturday and Sunday) in the traditional sense, but the dark name is still very apt. You see, my kids, at 13, 10, and 8, are by far the most senior cousins in the family. So when I wake up on Friday morning I have not only my crabby, pumpkin-pie overdosed kids to entertain for the day, but also another six little ones, some still in diapers. And, for me at least, entertaining toddlers is not so much like riding a bike. This kind of parenting doesn't just come flowing back to me--I need to plan for it.
Fortunately planning isn't that hard in Madison. Each and every year it becomes more evident to me why Madison is such a great place to be a little kid - and the aunt of one.
There is an unbelievable amount to do--active stuff like open skates at local ice rinks (you are in Wisconsin, kids, act like a native) and guided walks in the UW-Arboretum. There is high culture for the low-to-the-ground set, like Dance Wisconsin's Nutcracker Fantasy. And there is the-continues-to-amaze-me Madison Children's Museum .
I guarantee my cosmopolitan sibling and siblings-in law jaws will drop when they see it. More importantly, so will their kids'. And if you do want to go old-school - spending the backside of Thanksgiving weekend spending money - the Gingerbread Casas at Hilldale mall will sure to entertain shorties while the grown-ups begin their holiday shopping. And don't forget Downtown Madison's Holiday Open House - complete with gift bags, trolley rides and the chance to get your kid's picture on the Isthmus Parents website. I really think my avatar could use some fresh competition for cuteness.
You know, Thanksgiving hasn't even arrive yet and I'm starting to look (just a little) forward to what comes after. An early holiday season miracle perhaps? Or just some darn good planning by many adults in Mad Town who know we parents (and aunts) of pre-schoolers need quite a bit of good ammo in our "fun" arsenals to paint the weekend bright instead of black.