Whine: Summer is officially over. I sent The Sisters off to their first day of preschool today. That means no more lazy mornings or swimming days or sleeping in our clothes then wearing them the next day. Darn. I might have to start doing laundry.
Cheese: Did you not hear me??? I sent the Sisters off to preschool! I drove several miles in the Sister-free car jamming to Psalty the Singing Songbook before realizing I didn’t have to.
I met some old friends for lunch a few weeks ago. You know, friends so old they remember those bangs you had in the 9th grade and still love you, so they’re really not going to care if you drag your three kids along for lunch. So I did. I spent most of lunch shushing, cutting up of spaghetti, and generally keeping things at a dull roar between bites of my Pasta Fagioli. Not to mention holding Brother Bear at arms’ length on the march to the bathroom because he had exploded in his cute little outfit. Unfortunately I had changes of clothes for everyone but him. Which left me with the choice: parade his naked little self back through the Olive Garden or dress him in Lil’ Sis’ clothes.
Let’s just say he looks pretty good in ruffles.
"But it's a very masculine ruffle, sweetie. . ."
I know businesspeople of varying stripes often meet for lunch to meet and get things done, but I’d put my ‘working lunch’ up against theirs anytime. If you get to eat all your food uninteruppted, you’re not working hard enough.
In a similar vein, ‘vacationing’ with kids, as I may have mentioned in a previous post (or two, or three), is about 1 part vacation and 99 parts work-your-butt-off. One of my friends has decided that any trip with her kids is to be considered a ‘business trip’ and I am going to embrace her terminology from here on out. Too bad I can’t expense it, too.
In the last six weeks we’ve taken two flights and driven 40+ hours, hopped on buses, trams and rental cars.
Traveling with three kids under the age of five is crazy. As in Barnum and Bailey, three-ring circus crazy. My trip to Florida with my mom was no exception. Lil’ Sis had a freak out of epic proportions which began in earnest when the ticket agent had the nerve to take her carseat and put it on the luggage conveyor. The screaming continued from the ticket desk, through security, into the bathroom with those dreadful automatic-flushing potties all the way to the jetway, with intermittent breaks for breath. Finally my mom (aka The Amazing Gigi) got her to calm down by holding her in a vise grip and singing in her ear.
We arrived in Atlanta, ran the gauntlet that is the world’s busiest airport, pushing a stroller, car seats draped over our shoulders, dragging multiple suitcases and trying somewhat unsuccessfully to retain our grips on both the children and our sanity, includng a very family UNfriendly tram to the rental car counter. If my Go-Go-Gadget-Mommy-Arms had been about fifteen seconds slower, Lil’ Sis would have been standing on the tram platform watching the rest of us chug away , which I found highly unsatisfactory. (Suffice it to say we convinced Alamo Rental to give us a ride on the return trip.) The five-hour drive from ATL to Tallahassee was the easiest part of the trip and THAT is saying something.
Our battle scars faded quickly once we arrived at the Promised Land. Hugs and kisses between cousins, introducing Brother Bear to his Aunt Wren, sitting on the couch with my sister eating ice cream pretty much gave me some much-needed travel amnesia. Which apparently Big Sis also had, as she spent the entire week referring to her cousins as “That Girl” and “The Little One” and my sister as “The Person Who Owns This House.” When my brother-in-law came home from being gone all week she rushed to hug him saying “Welcome Home, Uncle Steve!!!” (His name is Dave.)
(From L to R) The Little One, Big Sis, That Girl
We got home from Florida. The return trip was so easy in comparison, there’s not much to tell besides that fact that Lil’ Sis would NOT use the airport potty due to the automatic flushers and held it for seven hours. Good thing I had a spare size 3 diaper to put on her just in case. We got home amid severe upset-tummyitis (yay for me!), and I didn’t even bother to unpack. We left three days later for a family weekend to San Antonio with Mr. Dad’s family.
The trip was fun. We lolled our way down the lazy river, celebrated CharChar’s 1st birthday, and just generally hung out with the fam. Like I said, fun. Relaxing? Let’s not get carried away. There was an unfortunate “short cut” (Road Trips: Now 50% Longer!), a rather pointless “timeshare sales presentation” (because yes, I totally have $25K to spare, I’m so glad you asked), dinners to make, naps to enforce (good luck with that), poolside near-poop experiences to avoid, fussy babies who needed to eat/sleep after I’d been in the water for exactly four minutes.
Oh yeah, then we went to Sea World, because we were in the neighborhood. The weather sign said “His in the low 100s” and it wasn’t lying. Although we lost our body weight in sweat, we did get to see a baby killer whale and it’s Mommy. If that’s not vacation highlight reel material, I don’t know what is.
2 out of the 3 of them know the "gumbo and beignets" they're making are pretend.
Mr. Dad and I had the good sense to wait a while before our next adventure. Like three whole weeks. Our mission: try and cram as much activity into four days as is humanly possible. All told, we drove twenty hours and almost 1,000 miles, ate more delicious food and gourmet ice cream than was really wise, hung out with our awesome aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids, jumped off the high dive at the swimming pool, drafted the best fantasy football team of all time, talked a little trash to the competition and visited an awesome (and free) farm park. The cherry on top was when my friend Jo and her hubby Jon and their Littlest One (in utero) drove 7 hours (round trip) only to stay 24 hours. She’s as crazy as I am.
Lil' Sis and her pal Cousin Laura feeding the ducks.
Three generations of ice-cream lovers.
Me, Jo, Brother Bear and his future BFF.
I’ve stopped in the middle of the whirlwind a few times to question my sanity, doubtless some of you have done the same on my behalf. But in the end Mr. Dad and I have decided to put our money where our mouth is. We say we value family, and now our bank account agrees. So much for that timeshare in Aspen.
Honestly, though, I’m glad it’s over. I’m tired and about two weeks behind on laundry. The girls are ready for some structure, as is evidenced by their continual need to peck at each other’s fleshy parts. In short, we are all vacationed out.
But someday I’m going to be really bored and miss this chaos. Then I’ll stretch my legs in my very own airplane seat, watch what I want on my iPod and sip my diet coke without sharing and realize, hey, if I’m that bored I can just watch the highlight reel.