People who know me in real life are aware that I am not Ms. Spontaneity, I'm not particularly fond of surprises, and I like to have a plan. I REALLY like to have a plan, and often enjoy making the plan better than participating in the activity itself. This is why I sit down for a couple of looong evenings every year around this time, to make a nice rigid Summer Fun Plan. Yes, the kids will probably be describing all of this to a psychiatrist someday.
Anyhow, the planning process this year is even more fun than usual, because it's our first summer in France. (This is not strictly accurate. We moved here last July, but spent the first 7 weeks essentially under house arrest at Poulet's place. The less said about the better, just in case there are family members out there who read English better than I think they do.) I've been surfing the Web and combing guidebooks until my eyeballs have been pretty much ready to fall out, and have collected a huge list of potential activities, trips, and festivals where the kids will, dammit, HAVE FUN.
The next step is always to sit the non-preverbal kids down and run each item on the list by them for a thumbs-up, thumbs-down, or split decision. (In that last case, the activity is marked as a solo outing for the interested kid and a parent.) We went through this part of the process a few mornings ago at breakfast, where I found myself explaining to Secondo and Terzo the concept of a Medieval Festival.
I had Secondo at "jousting." Terzo, not so much. Until I went on to explain that there would be ladies in old-fashioned dresses:
Terzo: "Okay, now I want to go!"
Medieval ladies, you're on notice.