I have a mom confession to make. My boys can easily manipulate me.
No, they can’t have iPads or video games during the week. I won’t let them up at 5:30 a.m., no matter how much they want to. They can’t put each other up for adoption. And they can’t get ice cream every time the truck comes through the neighborhood. But they have managed to get me to do some really cool things I never would have done by convincing me that they were really cool things.
When Brian was around 2 years old, his love for trucks began. He wanted to look at “the cool lookin’ cars” every time we went to any store. He convinced neighborhood kids to give him their toy car collections. At age 3, he explained the process of road paving to my father. And he loved playing in the dirt with tractors. I never really had any interest in vehicles growing up, but was now using toy plows and bulldozers to move imaginary and real dirt. Evan picked up Brian’s love of trucks and we found ourselves looking for more truck things to do.
We first went to Long Island Antique Power Association in Riverhead in 2010 when Brian was 4 and Evan was 18 months. They loved watching tractor pulls, seeing the antique power shovel work and learning about antique machines. There were pedal tractors and other toy equipment for them to ride on. It was a place that I never would have visited on my own, but I wanted to take them. I knew they would love every minute of being there.
Nearly five years later, visiting the tractors and equipment still excites Brian and Evan. On our latest visit, they were able to convince me to go on a TNT Monster Truck ride. I’ve never wanted to go on one because I’ve been afraid all the bumps, twists and turns would aggravate my motion sickness. This time, despite my nerves, I couldn’t bring myself to say no and decided to give it a try. The boys were shocked and so excited that I decided to go on it with them. It was fun, exciting and they were incredibly happy. I didn’t get sick and I instantly regretted all the times I turned them down.
Power shovels and monster trucks will never be some of my favorite things. I’ll never be completely comfortable going into the nocturnal exhibit at the aquarium because of my fear of bats. I always worry that I’m going to get stuck in playground equipment I’m asked to play on. And although I have done it during The Survival Race, I’m never going to share my kids’ enthusiasm for belly-flopping into mud puddles. But these are things that I’ve watched (and tried to do) with Brian and Evan. They’ve been able to talk me into doing lots of fun things I would have never done. Even though I still won’t give them ice cream for breakfast.
Here are some new adventures to try with your kids this Memorial Day weekend:
• From 4 to 6 p.m. on Friday, East End Seaport Museum in Greenport will have a ribbon cutting for a new 750-gallon salt water tank, refurbished with assistance from Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center.
• On Saturday morning from 10 to 11 a.m., learn about bird migration with Group for the East End at Downs Farm Preserve in Cutchogue.
• Horton Point Lighthouse in Southold opens for the season at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. You can visit the grounds and have a picnic.
• From noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Peconic Community School will host its “Grow” fundraiser picnic at Hallockville. Brady Rymer will perform, and there will be drum circles, seed sewing and other great activities for kids and parents.
• And don’t forget to take the kids to one of the Memorial Day observations. Orient, Southold, Greenport, Mattituck, Riverhead and Calverton will all be hosting parades and services. Check suffolktimes.com, riverheadnewsreview.com or northforker.com for listings.