Hip Mom: The Hip Mom’s Staycation Journal
So, it’s May. Suddenly the prospect of many long, languid days with your kiddies is looming. And Denise from your spin class told you she has just booked a Disney cruise. Julie, your daughter’s BFRN (that is Best Friend Right Now)’s mom, is going to that Atlantis resort in the Bahamas. Your dear friend Carrie is taking her crew to Cabo. Samantha is heading to Legoland. Monica is going to Coronado Island. Darn Emily is going to some all-inclusive Bacchanalian revel in St. Lucia. Cheryl is visiting her extended family in London. Wretched Judy is going to New ZEALAND, for freak’s sake.
You? Ah, you’re like me? You don’t have the budget or the time to do anything super sexy this summer?
Well, guess what? A Tulsa staycation isn’t all that awful! Whether you just need a little diversion in between all the camps and swimming lessons and wretched heat, or you can’t swing a big, long two-week camping (OK, OK, you know me — the closest thing I’ll ever get to camping is glamping!) trip in the Grand Tetons, a little local change of scenery might be just the answer.
I pack up my crew and we head to the Hyatt, which is right west of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center (hmm…maybe if you have a dancing daughter or three and are roped into Stage Mom duty – consider just getting a room here! Then you could sneak back and lie down between tap numbers.) The Hyatt has been recently updated, and its rooms are just fine. My kids love the two-level lobby. We check in, and after the requisite bed-jumping and view-marveling, we head out to dinner.
It’s such a treat for those of us who live in more far-flung locales like South Tulsa, Bixby, Broken Arrow or Owasso to be able to dine downtown without the long commute home. We head to one of our favorites, El Guapo – such a treat in the warmer weather to be able to sit on the roof! And my kids get to do something they never do: WALK urban streets. As a former denizen of Manhattan, I love walking where I need to go – obviously an activity that’s hard to pull off in the ‘burbs of Tulsa. But my kids do well — paying attention to the cars and the pedestrian traffic lights, nodding politely to a homeless man – I am quite proud (OK, OK, except for the 2-year-old – she just wants to fling herself into oncoming traffic).
Then we go back to our hotel and check out the pool. There is a serviceable rooftop pool at the Hyatt – not super glamorous, but have you heard of any kid who is not thrilled with a new pool of any kind? Even my jaded 10-year-old jumps in and is delighted with the novelty of swimming on a roof. After swimming and pretending to use the stationary bikes, I take the little kids to ride the escalator in the two-story lobby. OK, maybe this is not quite as sexy as sipping a daiquiri on the Lido deck, but I am not cleaning up the crumbs under my kitchen table – and my little girls are thrilled once they master that scary escalator moment of disembarking. Then it’s back up to the room for a cheezy kiddie Pay Per View Movie.
Of course there are the usual vacation bedtime shenanigans, where for a brief moment we wonder why we go on vacation to begin with. The 2-year-old doesn’t want to go to bed, this one doesn’t want to sleep with that one – everyone is out of sorts. Well, I don’t know of any vacation with kids that isn’t in some ways MORE work than just staying home. But routine, while eminently comforting, can deaden the soul after long periods, right? So you might have a little more coddling to do – particularly during bedtime in strange beds – but at least you are doing something a little different, Mama!
Finally the kiddies fall asleep and PVT and I do something we – and by we I mean me – are usually too tired to do at home: watch a movie ourselves. We enjoy our movie by the glint of the nighttime Tulsa skyscape – not Manhattan, exactly, but beautifully urban and unique nonetheless; we hear the train chugging by in the middle of the night, which makes me think of “The Outsiders.”
The Drillers unfortunately aren’t in town while we’re here, but what a great activity that would be for us lame mamas who can never justify staying late for the fabulous Friday night fireworks. But a Drillers’ game is always so much fun and so cheap. If you have lots of little monsters like I do, be frugal and sit on the lawn. It’s super relaxed, the kiddies can roam, and it’s near the little playground and water park. And beers for Dad – and a glass of wine for Mom – are in close proximity. And fireworks anytime, anywhere is always a shock-and-awesome event for the under 18 (ok, 38) set.
The next morning – dang, they wake up too early – we walk to Dilly Deli, where we gorge ourselves on a huge brunch, starting with one of the monster cinnamon rolls, which is smothered in a vat of sublime cream cheese frosting (yes, the cinnamon roll is enough for the eight of us!). Then we get huge piles of eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, everything you can dream of. I consider having one of Dilly Deli’s legendary Bloody Marys, but, alas, PVT needs to get back to work, and I need all my wits about me on a “staycation” with six kids. So we head up to a little secret park I’d never heard of until my dear friend Kappa Kappa Karen revealed this bucolic little neighborhood gem: Swan Lake. It’s just a lovely little park, surrounding a lake so charming I feel — if I close one eye and squint – I could be in Paris’s Luxembourg Gardens. And so my monsters gambol about, throw some Chex Mix from my purse at the duckies, and I get to sit – oh so briefly – to nurse the baby, marvel at this mess of humanity I’ve created, and just BE without the distractions of being home with that mess to pick up and that email to check.
We wrap up our trip with a tornadic spin through Utica Square. I say tornadic because 2-year-olds high on Capri Suns and 10-year-old boys dragged away from Minecraft are among the worst shoppers in the world. No one really wants to finger the boho dresses at Anthropologie, or try out the new skincare line at Saks, or sniff the purses at Miss Jackson’s. Can you imagine? But everyone gets a kick out of the funny little treasures at the Snow Goose (the ice cubes with bugs and fake doggy poop get a lot of laughs).
The Snow Goose is great for stuff like this: I pick up some wildly inappropriate birthday cards for good friends. We end up at Starbucks with a bunch of crazy drinks I wouldn’t normally allow (a Grande Coconut Frappucino for my 8-year-old? Really?), and laugh while Sylvie runs around the gurgling fountain a million times. Good old Utica Square: what a treasure that we take for granted around here!
Finally, we pile into the car and head home – and then I revel in those few blessed hours of post-vacation bliss where everyone finds their toys fascinating again. Our next staycation? PVT and I resolve it will be kid-free.