How to Survive a Seven-Hour Baseball Game... with Kids in Tow

Hubby and I had been planning a special trip to watch our beloved Cincinnati Reds for quite some time... and Monday (Memorial Day) was THE big day! The forecast called for a "chance" of a pop-up thunderstorm, which in Ohio weather-language means "85% chance nothing will happen" so we took the bet and carted both of the kiddos down to Cincy. Neither of us had a clue, mind you, as to how the kids might act and/or if they would both make it until the end of the game. Jake is typically pretty laid back - however - the starting time for the game was 1:10 = 10 minutes AFTER Jake usually goes down for a nap. So we were going to go with the flow and hope that he didn't turn into a sleep-deprived monster by the sixth inning!

Without boring any anti-sports fans out there, I will say that the first inning was very exciting! The Reds scored 5 unearned runs by the end of it - pretty impressive if you ask me - and we were there to witness it! Our seats weren't bad either... which proved to be a blessing when the sky above us darkened in the fifth inning and rain started coming down (we were under the overhang.) Drats! Blah! Ugh! Now what do we do with two figgity kids who have missed their nap? Jake was already getting to the "slap-happy" point (as we like to call it in our household) - you know, the point when you are past exhaustion and don't actually know what you're doing? He was there - big time. The dude behind us knows this all too well after having his knee angrily slapped multiple times by our Jakey boy. Our sweet, innocent little boy began wailing on any vulnerable victim in his sight... the men in front of him, beside him, and of course, behind him. So with the threat of a long rain delay looming and still 4 1/2 innings of baseball left in the game, Al and I had to switch to survival mode. Here is how we (and our little troopers) made it to the end of the game without sacrificing our sanity:

We headed straight for the food - after the lines died down. The Great American Ball Park now has $1 concession stands - would have been the BEST THING EVER if Marissa wouldn't have begged for cotton candy ($4.50) and a soft pretzel (also $4.50) which when combined cost more than all of our other food - Ugh. At any rate - eating kept the kids occupied for almost 45 minutes - SCORE!

I then spotted a slew of gumball and other toy machines. Which, at first thought, might seem like a bad idea to go stand by, but actually it was quite the opposite! Marissa was allowed to pick out one toy machine to put her quarters in - the small little bauble that came out kept her occupied for another 20 minutes or so while Jake tried like crazy to figure out how people were getting the gumballs out of the gumball machine - it was too cute to watch!

We spent the rest of the two-hour rain delay walking around the stadium and checking out different views of the baseball field. Jake loved this - but Marissa could have cared less. She may have asked "Can we go home now?" about 10 times by that point.

Once the rain let up a bit, we made our way back to our seats (which thankfully, were still pretty dry) and watched the field crew roll up the tarp. I tell you what, I never thought that it would elicit such joy and excitement from Marissa! Holy cow did she think that was fun to watch. We were relieved when the game started 20 minutes later - but we still had all of those innings to get through and by this time - well, it was almost din-din time for the kids. But Al and I made sure we kept the kids involved and interested in the game by doing what parents do best and exaggerated everything. We danced everytime a song came on, we roared "Charge!" everytime we were cued to, we pointed out our favorite players to the kids (Adam, we love you man!) and we let Marissa run down to the Reds' dugout to try and catch a ball at the end of every inning.

By the time the game was finally over, the kiddos had made it through a two-hour car ride, five hours of baseball and 2 hours worth of a rain delay and were to say the least, POOPED! Jake fell asleep 5 minutes after he was buckled in. Marissa, being the stubborn mule that she is, kept herself awake by playing her Leapster the entire way home.

I guess when all is said and done, it pays to get creative to pass the time and to let your kids know that you are there to have fun with them - even if the game doesn't go quite as planned. If you learn to "go with the flow" your kids will be likely to adapt right along with you... :)

Jake, a born & bred Reds fan couldn't take his eyes off of the game!

Family Photo by the dugout.

1 comment:

  1. Wow... you guys are troopers! I don't think I could even get my husband to stay at a baseball game for that long, nevermind two active children :]

    Gorgeous pictures, too! Thanks for sharing.


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