New and inventive ways to annoy small children

Little mischief--wonder where she gets it?

Chap’s son, aka Bone Head, ran the tractor over the waterline. Again.

So now the faucets are all spewing pea-sized gravel, and while I’m sure I could look at it as a spa-style loofah shower experience, the angels of my better nature have about flown the coop.

So he’ll spend the weekend blowing out the waterlines, and the little vacation we’d planned will now have to be an even smaller little “stay-cation.”

And I swear, if I hear the word “stay-cation” even one more time, the person who utters that word will rue the day. And as someone who has spent at least a full day of rue-ing, I can tell you there are much more productive ways to spend a day.

So I will accept my role as Wicked Stepmonster very seriously, and will take my little instant family for a day in Austin while Chap figures out how to get the rocks out of the waterline.

In the recent past, I’ve experimented with Austin’s finest tween establishments via my niece and nephews, and managed to come up with a day’s worth of activities that temporarily halts the eye-rolling and I-dunno-shrugging mastered by the denizens of tween-dom. And, as I recall, I had some fun, too.

I rolled the half-grown rugrats out of the rack early—no easy feat—and headed for Mozart’s Coffee Roasters bakery at 7 a.m. for a sugar rush that’ll last ‘til lunch.

Perched on Oyster Landing pier onLakeAustin, Mozart’s sprawling decks and ample lakeside seating puts you eye-to-eye with enormous, gape-mouthed catfish that will charm even the most jaded eighth grader.

Even the usually surely Bone Head whooped with glee when his sister got a face-full of catfish splash when she tempted fate with a French fry.

I amped the kids up on fresh-baked, melt-in-your-mouth scones and muffins bursting with fresh seasonal fruit, and went for broke with the Strawberry Kiwi Cheesecake (strawberries and kiwi—healthy, right?).

And I got myself a crispy bagel and a uber-sized iced tea with a mule-kick of caffeine.

And I got some to go—gotta a whole day of activities to keep up with those sugar-fueled mini-maniacs . . .

Then we cooled off with lunch at Shady Grove, a fun, funky Austin original nestled in, what else?—a shady grove on Barton Springs Road. Bone Head and The Princess got a kick out of the Hippie Trailer, where we hung out ‘til lunch came, and for added amusement (my own—them, not so much), the patio sports an old juke box.

Even Bone Head and The Princess thought that was pretty cool, until they saw I was actually enjoying, and I could practically hear them mentally begging me not to dance.

They got over it when the super crunchy fried chicken was presented, and I chowed down on a Tortilla Fried Queso Catfish, a crispy, tortilla-crusted fried catfish that had them eyeing my plate and opining, “You gonna eat that?”

A quick trip to Barton Springs swimming pool helped work off lunch and got the kids over the fact that I danced at Shady Grove despite their pleading and puppy dog eyes.

No matter how hot the weather, the springs are a refreshing (read: freezing cold!) 68 degrees, so if you go, expect to hear shrieks as the kiddos jump in and immediately jump right back out. But as my daddy always said, it builds character.

Now, if it could just build me some new waterlines . . . .


About kitfrazier

Award-winning novelist and former big city journalist who bumped into a cowboy and woke up in the wild, wild west.
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