I spent an hour scouring our closets and picked out the perfect coordinating (but not too matchy!) outfits. I packed a picnic lunch so that we could have lunch at the botanical garden after the photo shoot. I was ready. We loaded into the car and I sent a quick text to the photographer. Here was the response:
We were already 30 minutes from home and I didn't want to just turn around and go back. "Guys - It looks like we aren't getting pictures done today. Let's go to the park," I suggested.
"Let's go to the Children's Garden!" my oldest said.
"We can't do that today, bud, but there's a park on the bay front that is really fun. I promise," I explained.
"I don't want to go there," he complained.
"Well, that's where we are going. Let's make the best of it," I told him.
I unpacked my little crew and we headed toward the park. From a distance, I saw caution tape waving in the wind. As we go closer, we found a sign that read, "Playground Closed for Renovations." Great. "Well, the playground is being fixed but we can still play along the bay and run around on the trails," I told them.
"Okay!!" my two year old yelled as he ran over to a big hill.
"We should have gone to the Children's Garden," my oldest said under his breath.
I was done with the attitude so I bent to eye level. "Look - You have a choice to make. You can either decide to have a good attitude and have fun or have a bad attitude and be miserable. Drew and I have decided to have fun. What's your decision?" I asked.
He paused and looked at me to see if I was serious. "I think I'll have fun," he said. He ran off to chase his brother down the hill and I took a deep sigh of relief.
And you know what? It was the best day we have had in a long time. The boys walked along the rocks on the bay, climbed trees, rolled down hills and had races on the walking trails. We had a picnic while we watched the boats bobbing in the water and my baby giggled at the antics of her brothers. Sometimes the unplanned days are the best if you can decide to have the right attitude.
How do you help your kids turn their attitudes around? How do you respond to unexpected changes of plan?