Bowling: Activity Number 372 You Shouldn't Do With Your Kids

bowling alleyWhen my eldest was invited to a birthday party at the bowling alley last weekend, I had two thoughts: 1) It's awkward to take your kids to a place you haven't been since you were a rebellious teenager, and 2) OOOH! I can take the small ones. The third thought was "Damn, I want a cheeseburger and a nap," and was entirely unrelated to the first two.

Saturday rolled around, bright and bleary, and my youngest two were nearly bouncing off the walls with glee. "We're going BOWLING, Mama!" they hollered in my uncaffeinated face. Since they had no idea what this newfangled bowling thing was, I was sorta taken aback. Maybe they'd seen bowling on television or something (although I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to voluntarily watch bowling on TV).

You'd think that we'd have had a great time by the way they were carrying on. You'd think that, but you'd be wrong. Dead wrong.

Disaster isn't a big enough word.


We arrived at the bowling alley, a migraine pulsing just behind my eyes, appalled to discover it was actually DISCO bowling day. Blacklights, thumping music, strobe lights, and all. It was sorta like being in a club, except it was 2 in the afternoon and no one was wearing a mini-skirt or grinding on each other.

I died a little bit as my children looked around, a mixture of dawning horror and excitement on their faces. The same look I get when I get on the scale after a particularly good week of dieting.

We successfully got shoes on our feet as the small ones tried to wriggle their way out of my arms and onto the lane. It was too loud for me to really yell, and hell, they didn't know better. Instead, I chased after them, nearly falling on my ample ass as I dragged them back to our wee corner of the bowling alley.

Finally my husband, The Daver, got our names properly entered onto the screen and we began our first and only foray into bowling.

Up first, I showed my proficiency for bowling by squatting down and rolling that ball between my legs, scoring a record high of four pins. Second shot, zip. Bowling Wizard, I am not. And I'd like to defend my granny bowling technique by saying, if I had not, I would have probably clocked one of my children in the head by flinging my ball BACKWARDS.

Graceful, I am not.

Alex, my 4-year-old, was up next. He marched up to the bowling alley where I showed him how to roll the ball down toward the pins, and considering how well I'd done, it was a miracle that he hit two pins. Second shot, the ball just ... stopped rolling.



Daver popped away to get someone to unstick the ball as the two toddlers began to wiggle and wraggle in my arms desperate to get back to their game. The bowling ball remover-guy took like 25 minutes to unstick our ball. In that time, the "I'm exhausted and this is waaaaayyyy overstimulating" took over my normally well-behaved children and they were rolling around on the floor, pitifully wailing about their game.

Next up, Amelia managed a whopping seven pins in her first shot. She added two more her second. It's clear she's the Bowling Wizard in the family. Maybe she can bowl on television someday and be furious that I do not watch her.

The kids became increasingly impatient with each subsequent turn. Three more times, our ball got stuck. Three more times, the irritated ball-fetcher came and removed our ball.

Blissfully, somewhere in the fifth inning, the machine died. We'd officially killed the bowling lane.

Rather than wait or switch to a new lane, I looked at my weeping children and made an executive decision.

"We're done, guys."

They cheered. Happily, they peeled their bowling shoes off, threw their shoes back on, and off we went, promising to pick up the eldest in a couple of hours.

Turns out? Kids and bowling don't mix.

Have you been bowling with your kids? Tell me your experience was better than mine.

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