Paradise and Parenting

I know it’s June because I am no longer in the mood to create magic in my kids’ lunch bags. I’m certainly grateful for peanut butter and jelly (it’s organic, ok) at this time of year. Gone are the days of special, cut-out sandwiches and mom’s home-baked chocolate chip cookies, folks. In other words, I’m slumping toward the finish line and I’m getting a leg cramp.

We’ve decided to spend our summer vacation in Vallarta this year. There are a multitude of reasons for this, one being that Vallarta is so full of interesting places to visit.

I can’t wait to be a tourist in my own town. Another reason is that we are all ready for a break, after a busy school year for the children and me, and a nonstop high season for my musician husband. It will be wonderful to have few responsibilities and a loose schedule.

The paragraph above is what I wrote to my friends and family in Canada. I left out a portion of the truth, which is included here, because they thankfully do not receive the Tribune there.

The real deal is that we went to Canada last summer, and the big, nasty Canadian dollars cornered our little Mexican bank account on the schoolyard and held its arm behind its back until it cried empty.

My Canadian family and circle of friends have no problem believing that we’d love to spend a summer re-discovering beautiful Vallarta without the crowds, hiking in the jungles, lolling around on the beaches and sipping fruity drinks.

But here we all know that in summer, any walking we do feels like a slog through a swamp. Oh sure, I love the beach in summer, as long as we go before 8:30am and as long no one speaks to me or asks me to play any type of sweat-producing sport such as dodge ball.

And by the way, I was telling the truth when I said I needed a break. However, two kids perspiring, fighting, and running out of batteries on their Wii remotes usually tends to cut into the break time.

So then I check pinterest for project ideas and all I feel is a deep frustration that I can’t buy Borax in Puerto Vallarta so that we can make our own silly putty.

What we try to do is be creative with our summer activity planning. For example, a favorite of my husband’s is called Let’s Go to the Store and Not Buy Anything! The goal of this activity is to stay in free air conditioned comfort for as long as possible while not actually spending any money. It’s fun to browse for milk products and frozen french fries until the store manager gently asks if s/he can see some ID. This activity is getting old for the younger family members, who have now figured out that the endless list making in the toy section doesn’t seem to pay off.

Well, we have picked up some tricks over the years of summer vacation desperation. We don’t actually have a pool, but we have made friends with people who do.
And, if we do enough activities during the week like the store-browsing one, we can have some serious fun on the weekends.

I’ll continue to update you on our family’s shenanigans as the summer progresses (or degenerates… it kind of depends on your perspective). I’m pretty sure I can find some recipes for silly putty that won’t require Borax.

By Leza Warkentin


  1. The end of summer in PV, our three weeks vacation beginning the last week of September, has been our favorite since the late 1970s. Quiet beaches, no beach vendors, empty pool, big discount prices in stores, and a balance of sunny days and rainy nights, to provide lots of water in the rivers and natural water falls; and warm bay waters for day and nighttime swimming.

    When we doubled up on our vacations in the winter season on other months, the cool offshore winds made the pool and bay swimming so cold, that by 1:00 PM, everyone was out and away from the water. My days were also spent playing tennis, and going shopping for the great off season sales. And at the poolside under the overhang where the sun never shines, nor the rain falls, is spent reading a book, or books that I never had time to do at home.

    The only disadvantage was that our vacation time did not occur when school was out, so our children could only attend before they started school, or after they graduated, unless we took them out. But three weeks away from the kids – – is a vacation by itself.

    1. I am very surprised that you can’t find Borax in PV? I was told it is acido borico and that you can find it Farmacia Guadaljara or at any hardware store – being a very common insecticide. I was wanting it to make my own laundry soap while in PV

  2. Despite my insane jealousy that you live in paradise and my unbelief that sweating is a bad thing, I can imagine (when I try hard) that summers would be stressful in that it is too hot to do much. It takes more than a few brain cells for me to imagine that, as we flood out in Canada and rain/snow is imminent. I hope you find something to occupy yourselves this summer and keep from maiming small, sweaty people.

  3. Interesting, Marcy’s commit. I live in San Francisco, under the summer blanket of fog, where the yearly average temperature, day and night, is 50 degrees F. Some three years ago while on vacation in PV, during October, a heat wave of between 100 and 106 Deg. F. hit for several weeks. The local newspaper report said that the water on the top of the bay was near boiling. The locals in the downtown area complained that they never felt it so hot and so long before. In my mid seventies, I walked each day on the cobble stone streets and concrete sidewalks window shopping up and down the lines of stores. I did not feel the discomfort of the heat as did the locals. Why? It may be a case of perception, since the body metabolism maintains a body temperature of around 98.6 Deg. F. I learned back in the 1950s when in a SF movie theater watching the wrap around screen of Cinemarama , the temperature in the theater seemed to change when the pictures on the screen changed from a desert scene, to an ice field or galacier scene. A strong and healthy body and a strong mind is most helpful in these situations. Same when swimming in cold water.

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