It is my littlest one’s 4th birthday today and as per our Dubai birthday tradition, we had a mini staycation last weekend. Our accommodation of choice for our first birthday in 2016 was the Jumeirah Mina a’slam. It was a no brainer really, a few weeks ago they had a very good price offer with a free upgrade to half board accommodation so click click click and we were in.
Upon check in, we got a very nice surprise of having our reservation upgraded to a one bedroom suite. First time in my life I got a free upgrade to anything so you can imagine my excitement and the boys’ as well. Ok later on we discovered that maybe the reason we got upgraded was because of the construction of the new hotel right beside us but the walls are thick enough to mask out any noise. Plus for the extra space and the view, it was a small price to pay.
As guests, we got unlimited access to Wild Wadi which was only a buggy away and guests had their own entrance, you still had to fall in line but it was much shorter than any line I’ve been on at these water parks so no biggie…
The boys loved their Wild Wadi adventure so much that they asked if it was possible to sleep there.
For dinner, we were given dinner vouchers that we can use at any of the Jumeirah Group restaurants and because I’m half mexican at heart (or maybe at the stomach) we chose to eat at Tortuga. As half board, we get a starter, a main, and dessert for each voucher and the kids eat free. After eating all these our bill was only 45 aed and that was only for the water.
I woke up early the next day to soak in the view and to maximize my posh coffee maker for the day. Breakfast was I’d say “normal” as far as hotel breakfasts go and that’s actually my favorite part of any staycation we’ve been to.
After breakfast, we brought the kids to the Sinbad Kid’s club and because the boys are older now, we got to leave the kids behind but as we got back to pick them up they were glued to the desktop watching videos and playing games which wasn’t really my cup of tea. So we brave the heat and off to Wild Wadi we go.
Before checking out, we even had the pleasure of meeting their in-house turtles which is part of their Turtle Rehabilitation program (sorry no pics- got so caught up in the moment I forgot!)
All in all I’d like to say it was a successful weekend, thanks in part to Jumeirah and Daddy’s uncanny ability to sniff out a good deal. We got to celebrate our youngest’ birthday and experienced new things together as a family. My hope is that when they get older they appreciate our unconventional way of celebrating their birthdays and this results to them having that thirst for experiencing new things. To have the lust to travel, to eat or at least try new things, and to live life to the fullest. I think that all that is the greatest gift we can give them.
We’ve noticed that our boys have spent more time on their gadgets and less time on conversing with us.
Conversations like “How was school?” and “Did you have fun at the party?” are all answered with a nonchalant “Fine“.
This type of behavior scares me and makes me frustrated. BUT I also know that no one else to blame but me.
Oh but wait! there is always someone or something to blame and for this instance the mighty IPAD was my enemy of choice. And so it begins our quest to make our kids spend less time on their gadgets and more time with us. And because of this there were new rules that had to be mandated.
and the new rules are…
- No gadgets in the car.
- No gadgets when we go out.
- No gadgets at the table during dinner.
- No more gadgets after dinner (except on the weekends and that’s if all their homework is done.)
- Every time they misbehave an hour is taken away from their precious gadget time.
It’s been over a month now and I think the boys have adjusted just fine. It wasn’t easy in the beginning but we’ve managed to keep their gadget’s time to a minimum and I think we are all better for it (at least that’s what I want to think).
Well for one, the kids communicate more. Now when I ask about their day in school, they start by telling me who was in school and who was home sick like a roll call, then we start with what they did, what food their friends had for lunch and so on and on and on. Seriously, I have to switch off the radio in the car because they want my full attention when they speak something which I don’t mind at all.
Another positive thing I can think of is that the boys obey me more…why? because I always threaten to take away their gadget time if they don’t follow me or make me upset.
But of course just like any addict trying to quit the bad habit our ride hasn’t been smooth sailing.
One example would be when we are waiting for food at a restaurant. Before, when we do eat at sit down restaurants that’s when we always give them their gadgets so they’d sit still and not bother anyone or play with the forks and knives. But because we don’t carry their gadgets everywhere anymore (rule no.2) there’s always drama, drama, drama.
I know that this in not the end of our journey but at least for now I feel like we’re trying to raise well-balanced boys who can one day torture their children the way we did to them…