Monday, March 3, 2008

The Nature of Nurture

Hubs and I are dorks. Big dorks. When we make the decision that we're going to be travelling somewhere, the research begins. We get books on our destination, and, if we're driving, information on points of interest en route. We spend hours on the internet researching public transportation options, restaurants, and attractions. We are cheap with our hotels so we can be spendy with our fun. We pack granola bars so that we don't have to pay for all of our meals (oh, the pre-child days of travel!)

Once there, we don't have an itinerary per se, but we've already discussed the must do's and the would like to do's, and the only if we have the time's. We travel well together. Because we know that planning and researching allows us to enjoy our vacation, with the knowledge that we aren't missing something great out of ignorance or poor planning. It might sound like your version of vacation hell, but it works for us.

And apparently it works for Noise as well.
Hey! Look at the elephants! The ELEPHANTS!
Noise! Put down the map and look at the humungous elephants!

I took Noise and Funk to the zoo this weekend, and the picture above is pretty much Noise's experience there. He got his map ten feet from the entrance. And that is pretty much all he can tell you about the St. Louis Zoo. He only put down his map to see the penguins, and the chimpanzees. "I have to know where we're going, Mommy. I have to check my map!"

This is pretty much exactly what Hubs and I looked like last year in Disneyworld. While the rest of my family wandered around, just sort of milling about the Land of Mouse. Granted, we saw all kinds of "hidden gems" of Disney because of our research, but it was maddening for my family, who are very "let's just GO" kind of people. We're don't "just go" anywhere in the Land of GAP.

Like us, Noise wants so badly to make sure he is well educated, and well-prepared about the fun he's going to have, that he sometimes misses out on the fun itself in the moment it occurs. And I can't help but feel that maybe this little trait is going to leave him missing out. Hubs and I have a hard time making decisions, for example, because we want to make sure we know everything about a subject before we decide. As a result, we often miss out on the spur-of-the-moment opportunities that arrive because we can't just jump. (This is part of why there's no Number Three yet, because all the unknowns can't be made known to us from a book!) On the flip side, we are always comfortable with our choices because we have researched every angle, and if there's money involved, you can bet your bottom dollar that we got the best price that could be had. You know, if we manage to decide before it's too late.

My mother calls this "paralysis by analysis." She also has a saying about doing something on the pot or getting off of it, but this is a clean blog.
Dude. There's a monkey flinging poo ten feet away!
Step away from the map!

How do I make sure that Noise doesn't miss out on life because he's too busy planning life? (Funk will not have this problem. She'll be the one we have to teach to look before she leaps.) How do we show him the joy of sometimes just saying "what the heck!" and going for it? Because for all of my planning, the best things that have happened for me happened in that moment that I knew I couldn't know the outcome of a decision-- and I leaped anyway. Moving to Oregon. Marrying Noise's dad. Bringing Noise into the world. How do we teach him to research his options and then choose with his head and his heart? Especially when we are such poor role models of this skill?

I just don't want him to miss out.

1 comment:

Heather said...

Wow, that IS a lot of planning. I thought I liked planning things, but after reading this I guess I'm not really that much of a planner. Especially not on vacation. I'm more of a "let's see what we feel like doing" kind of gal.

Which also lends itself to missing out on things.

So, there is nothing wrong with planning either. I bet you've seen more stuff than I ever will.