A good place to go with an 18 month old:
The apple orchard, or any other farm/orchard setting where you end up deep in (fairly structured and cleared) wilderness, far away from cars. We went apple picking today and just like when we went blueberry picking this summer, I felt so relaxed. Garret and I were able to walk and talk without necessarily managing Imogene. She just walked along with us, stopping to admire apples every now and then, enjoying her own little time and space in the quiet of nature. Man, it was lovely.
A bad place to go with an 18 month old:
(buckle up, folks. this trip is about to get bumpy)
After apple picking, it was late afternoon and we had a busy night ahead when we got home (Garret was prepping for a film shoot and I had some work I had to finish up). We were hungry so we said, hey, let's go get Chinese food! It wasn't a takeout place (though you can get takeout there). It wasn't quite "fancy" either, but there were tablecloths (cloth ones) and nice glasses (glass ones). They gave us a high chair and put a stained tablecloth underneath it, which I thought was brilliant. The staff was super accommodating and lovely. Not lovely? My toddler's behavior, which could be described succinclty as: "MONSTER!"
She didnt' want to sit in her high chair, she didn't want to eat the dumpling I gave her, she didn't want me to take the dumping away, she threw the dumpling!!!, she wanted a spoon, she wanted to put that spoon in a (nice glass!) glass of water, she wanted an ice cube, she wanted to eat the ice cube, she wanted to spit the ice cube out, she wanted to get out of her high chair, she wanted to 😫 steal my eggroll, she wanted to stand up on our booth and stare at the people at the next table............................................. I wanted out. I wanted out! Out! Out! Out! As Imogene dumped a cup of hot tea all over the table, I asked Garret to see if we could get our food to go, and I whisked her away from our table.
On the way out we spotted a fishtank. Her eyes got wide and she looked at them with the kind of wonder and calm determination that only a child has. She was watching those fish, watching them, and I was watching her, wondering what she was wondering about, and how my feelings can pivot from extreme annoyance / embarrassment / GET ME OUT OF HERE to such wonder in a split second. Such is life, right now. Such is life.