City By the Bay

So, Michael and I took Joey to San Francisco this past weekend.  The trip was his tenth birthday gift from us, and he’s been anticipating it ever since we took Kevin to SF for his tenth birthday five years ago.


We enjoyed ourselves well enough, I suppose, but I have to admit that it was somewhat of a letdown for a variety of reasons.

First of all, we of course took Scarlett with us.  When we took Kevin five years ago, Lilah was an infant, and she went with us.  She was such a good little traveler – but she was also just an all around easy-going baby.  Scarlett, not so much.  Have I mentioned that she’s a little on the high-maintenance side?  Have I mentioned that she cries a lot?  Well, she is, and she does.  Her persnickety disposition definitely added a level of stress to the whole endeavor.

There were little things, too – like the fact that we specifically reserved a room with a King-sized bed but were given a room, instead, with a Queen, and told that that’s all they had available (they did discount our room rate, but still.).  The bed sucked, too – not only were three of us (me, Michael, and Scarlett) squished into a bed smaller than what we’re used to, the mattress sunk down in the middle, making it impossible to get comfortable or sleep well (do I sound like a cranky old lady?).  Alcatraz – one of the attractions Joey was most looking forward to – was sold out for the next three months!  It was so foggy and cold at the Golden Gate Bridge, that, well, it just wasn’t fun.

Michael did take Joey on a bay tour via boat (while I stayed back at the hotel with Scarlett) so he could see the bridge and Alcatraz from a different vantage point, and he enjoyed that.

Mostly, though, I really saw clearly how different Joey is from Kevin, and how expectations can lead to disappointment.  It was a completely different trip with Kevin – Kevin’s a goofball and can find fun in just about anything.  Kevin was an only child for five and a half years before any siblings came along, so he’s always considered himself more on our level than any of the other kids do.  Stuff like that.  Joey, on the other hand, hasn’t had very much one-on-one time with the parental units, and I’m not sure he was 100% comfortable with an entire weekend of it.  He seemed to tend towards boredom at least some of the time. Michael pointed out that Joey probably would have had more fun if one of his siblings – like Kevin – had come along.  And, as I said, Joey has been anticipating this trip for five years, ever since Kevin went – so he definitely had certain expectations.  He wanted to see all the same things Kevin saw, eat at the same restaurants, etc., and in a way, I think that took away from making it his own experience.

I kind of wish we would have taken him somewhere other than San Francisco.  That was maybe our failing, to decide ahead of time that we would take each of the kids to San Francisco for their tenth birthdays instead of coming up with something different to suit each of them.  (I’m already thinking that there is no way we’re going to take the twins there in two years when they turn ten – I really don’t think they would enjoy it at all.)

And honestly, I’m kind of San Franciscoed out.  Michael and I have been there so many times now, both with and without kids, that some of the magic and novelty has worn off.  It’s been an easy destination – far enough away to feel like getting away, but close enough that it’s not a humongous expense and undertaking to go.  Clearly we need to branch out and try some different destinations in the future.

Anyway, the weekend wasn’t a complete failure.  A little disappointing in some respects, but we still made the most of it, and hopefully Joey will look back on it with fond memories.  On the flight home, he did spontaneously say, “Thanks, Mom, for taking me.”  Which tells me that he’s glad we went.




4 Comments on “City By the Bay”

  1. memyselfandkids
    August 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm #

    Sorry it did not work out as well as you hoped. It sounds like there were a few strikes against the trip before you started.

  2. Stacey
    August 14, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

    I wonder if a lot of second kids, or perhaps the ones who are a little younger than their older sibling, tend to be like Joey, not quite able to entertain themselves in their own minds, because all their entire lives they’ve been entertained by older siblings? I’ve certainly had that thought about Weston.

    I think your girls would LOVE San Francisco; you just have to find some new neighborhoods to explore! Stay at the famous Red Vic on Haight Street, the Seal Rock Inn out on the ocean, the new Inn at the Presidio (it’s *in* the Presidio), or some other little place on the western side of the city. Check out Golden Gate Park — they’ll love the California Academy of Sciences — where else do you find bison, waterfalls, Japanese Tea Garden, and an incredible playground with old concrete slides & an historic carrousel, in one place? Take a picnic on Sunday afternoon & enjoy live music in the Concourse, and don’t forget to go up in the tower at the DeYoung for an awesome 360-degree view. There’s no admission to get up in the tower! Another day check out the Mission District for a guided mural walk, visit Mission Dolores, and check out The Pirate Store. If you’re up for a long (8 miles) but pretty easy bike ride, rent a bike at Blazing Saddles & ride over the bridge to Sausalito and have lunch before catching the ferry back. If you want to see a little bit of everything S.F. has to offer, rent a car & hit the 49-mile drive. And if they’re Disney fans, take them to the Walt Disney Museum in the Presidio to see how it all started. There, I think I just filled a good 4 or 5 days for you!

  3. Meriah
    August 15, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Wow, sounds like a pretty lame trip! That’s too bad. I know I’d never ever ever – I mean EVER!! – stay by the wharf more than once. Too touristy.

    I think, again depending on what exactly the kids like, other places in the Bay Area or NorCal might be more fun. Since I know this area soooooo thoroughly let me know if you are coming and most importantly, WHO is coming and what they like, etc, and I can draw up a list of stuff. Like taking the ferry over to a baseball game.

    Anyway, fun pics and it’s weird seeing how cold it was over there when on my island it was HOT!!

  4. Shannon
    August 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm #

    I can’t believe Alcatraz was sold out for 3 months!! My husband and I went to SF in June of ’08 and had a wonderful time. But we live in boring Indiana, so anything on the west coast is beautiful and amazing to us :). Alcatraz was indeed awesome and that stinks he didn’t get to experience it. The pictures are gorgeous and you look gorgeous with that sweet baby wrapped around you, no matter how persnickety she is. thanks for sharing your trip.

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