If you give a 3-year-old a cookie…

If you take two preschool-aged boys on a day trip to Colonial Williamsburg, they’re going to see horse-drawn carriages.

If they see the carriages, they’re going to ask for a ride.

If you find out that rides cost $20 per person, you’ll be looking for something to distract your sons from the horses.

If you distract them with beanbag tosses and trees to climb and water rushing through a drain, they’ll throw and climb and get excited about every new discovery.

If they’ve been throwing and climbing and exploring, the only thing that will slow them down is suggesting they watch a sword-fighting demonstration.

If they’re going to see a sword-fighting demonstration, they are going to want to stand in the front where everyone can see them.
If your sons have to wait for a few minutes, they’re going to realize how thirsty they are.
If the boys are thirsty and the family just saved $80 not riding in a horse-drawn carriage, their father will buy some bottled water.
If their father buys water, he’s going to get a couple cookies, too, and give them to his sons.

If you give a 3-year-old a cookie and he’s missed his nap, he’s going to lie down on the dusty brick sidewalk to eat it.
If he lies down on the sidewalk, he may just let that cookie brush across the sidewalk once, twice, or…well, a lot.
If he lets that cookie rub against the sidewalk and keeps eating it and the crowd needs something to entertain them while they wait for the show to begin, you are suddenly going to realize everyone is staring your way.
If an amused man in costume calls over to you, “He’s dragging his cookie across the ground! And then he takes another bite!” you are going to realize you should have been watching your son instead of admiring the Colonial architecture and feel a bit…put on the spot.

If you feel put on the spot, you are going to have to think of a good way to respond, so you will laugh and say, “Well, it isn’t the first time he’s eaten dirt, and it won’t be his last.”
If that’s the best you can do, the costumed man is probably going to respond with, “I guess it’s extra crunchy that way,” and you will just smile and sort of wish you could blend into that dusty, cookie-crumb-covered sidewalk.
If you wanted to spend the day blending into a sidewalk, though, you wouldn’t have taken your two active, curious preschoolers to Colonial Williamsburg.

And if you’re going to take your sons to Williamsburg, they’re going to want a carriage ride to go with it.
Or at least a cookie.
What are your favorite child-friendly day trips from Baltimore? Do you have any planned for this summer?

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.