Thursday, March 31, 2016

Water Park!

I was flying down the water slide in a double inner tube, holding tenuously on to Alex with my feet. "Hang on, Alex!" I yelled as we rushed into a pitch black tunnel, rocking and slipping forward, left, right.  Frankly, I was mildly terrified.  I couldn't see anything, we were going fast, I had very little faith in Alex not flopping out of his half of the inner tube, and water was getting in my eyes.  I hate water in my eyes.  Alas, we splashed down somewhat safely into the awaiting pool at the water slide's conclusion.  "Can we go again?"  Alex squealed instantly, before I had a chance to blink my contact lenses back into place.  Stupid water in the eyes.  How come grown-ups wear goggles to go scuba diving but not to play in some slide sprinklers and four feet of water?  The struggle is still real no matter what the depth.

Alex and I (and Andy and I) hit the mildly terrifying water slides over a dozen times.  Andy, strapped snug into his life jacket, was also able to go by himself, which he did over and over and over and over again, taking breaks only when we made him eat and also to pee (at least once) in the bathroom.  Our first day at the resort, we probably spent about three hours at the water park.  Emily loved sitting in the baby pool with the water sprinklers bubbling at her feet but would immediately leap into my lap every five minutes when the nearby pirate ship full of one thousand gallons of water would come loudly splashing down, much to the delight of older children and the confusion of guests like me who wondered why housekeeping left notes about not wanting to wash my bath towels every day and yet here they tossed down one thousand gallons of water every five minutes seemingly just to frighten my daughter.  "It's different," Chris replied to this query of mine.  "The water in the water park is recycled, and the detergent water blah blah blah blah."  Whatever.

The second day, the boys spent no less than NINE HOURS in the water park.  Chris and I mercifully switched off going back to the hotel room whenever Emily needed a nap, grateful, not for the first time, that there was a third child to excuse us from possible overexertion with our two rowdy boys. By the end of the second day, the boys were pruney and purple-lipped and just completely water-logged. I could practically see fish swimming behind their eyeballs.

This was our spring break vacation.  Three days, two nights in Sheboygan Wisconsin, where- just so you know- the famous space museum is basically now just a bouncy house. No learning on floor number one.  The curator didn't even bother to show up today.  Take the elevator up to floor number two to play on inflatables.  Twenty-three dollars, please.  Did you remember socks?

A water park wasn't originally the plan.  Maybe we'd go to a hotel with a pool and then hit some museums, maybe a botanical garden, perhaps take in a show.  Then we looked around.  A three year old, a five year old, a crawling baby.  We needed something more... fun.  More... water centric. More... contained.  Resort with a water park it was.  The boys lost their minds with excitement when we told them where we were going.  Emily waved enthusiastically in our directions, also eager to show that she was possibly pleased. All in all, it was a great mini-vacation.  Except for the second night.  The second night was awful.

Alex wanted to sleep with me, so Andy and Chris took one bed, Alex and I took another, and Emily got her own pack and play in the darkest corner of the room, oblivious to just how good she had it. Alex fell asleep pretty easily, even while I basically turned the hotel room upside down looking for my very expensive glasses, which, I'm stating for the record, I'm pretty sure were stolen by the hotel housekeeping staff.  If I ever get around to writing a Yelp review, this theft will be duly noted. Finally, I settled in next to Alex, who started wiggling pretty badly after an hour or two.  "Alex!" I hissed. "Stop moving!"  I turned around at one point to see his dark, shadowy figure just sitting there, looking down at me.  "LAY DOWN," I hissed.  He obeyed, and I tried to get back to sleep, except something was bothering me.  A smell.  A disgusting smell.  I rolled over to check on Alex only to land in a small puddle of vomit.  "I puked," Alex whimpered.  I switched on the bedside lamp only to confirm that vomit was, indeed, everywhere.  "Chris!" I called out. "Alex puked!  I can't see because my glasses are gone!  Help!!"

We stripped some of the bed, turned some pillows around, and basically tried to just mask the vomit.  Alex threw up some more in the toilet, his insides no doubt sick with nine hours of chlorine plus a dozen corn dogs.  Who let him eat all those corn dogs?  We got him settled on the hotel room's pull out couch and then turned the lights out.  Fifteen minutes later, his little figure came bobbing into view.  "I puked again!" he declared.  Sure enough, the linens on the pull out couch were covered in vomit.  We bagged those up, and now, almost out of options, we settled Alex BACK into bed with me (lucky me) on a nest of hotel bath towels (which had not been washed that day due to the hotel's friendly saving water note).  Chris tucked a waste basket between me and Alex, which Alex did use once or twice.  I tried my best to go back to sleep, the putrid smell of vomit tickling my nostrils.  But of course, sleep was not to be had.  Alex threw up a couple times.  Chris' phone rang at one in the morning.  The baby woke up at two in the morning.  Again at four.  And we were all up for good before six.

Most.  Sleepless.  Night.  Ever.  And I've had three newborns.

But, it was the tail end of an otherwise fun family trip.  These are the trips you take with little kids, trips that send you into a fairy land of water slides, pirate ships, pools, and sprinklers.  And corn dogs. Andy and Alex keep asking us about that big family trip in the best version of our future, the one that involves a mouse and rhymes with Bizney Twirled.  It's our plan to take them one day, and we've basically promised it.  But man oh man.  How much does it cost to go to Disney?  A plane ride for five? Tickets for five?  Lodging for five?  Meals for five?  I hope that we will really do this for these kids one day, that we can afford such a trip.  I have a mental list of things we need to buy and pay for- mini-van, house repairs, dental work for a little girl who's shaping up to be an enthusiastic thumb sucker.  Hopefully the money will be there.  And hopefully we can afford TWO rooms at that Disney resort, because I don't think I ever want to share a bed with a child again.  #sleepinginvomit

Last week's trip reminded me of a similar one we took three years ago.  Time goes by too fast.

Thursday, March 10, 2016


Emily has grown distrustful of me, bursting into tears when I set her on the floor of the playroom and begin to tiptoe out the door backwards.   Just like Andy has FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) whenever he gets on that bus to go to school and Alex and I set off on whatever adventure I have planned for the day (Library!  Target!  A day of indoor yelling and spankings!), Emily has her own version of FOMO. Fear of Mommy OUT.  Surely, this is partly developmental separation anxiety, but this is also, I'm sure, partly because sometimes when I do leave the room... I truly don't show up again until the next morning.  Her fears are not unfounded baby fears. She is not an idiot.  Mommy regularly goes missing for entire days or evenings.

Ah, the guilt-ridden life of the ever-so-blessed part-time working mother.  Actually, I lie- I'm barely guilt-ridden at all, except when I see a Dr. Sears post on my Facebook page suggesting that I'm doing irreversible psychological damage to my child by not keeping her strapped to me every waking and sleeping moment, like I'm a sherpa headed up the mountain.  That I'm destroying her ability to love and have faith in the human race by not rushing into her bedroom whenever I hear the beginnings of a whimper at night.  It's Dr. Sears and the occasional article that make my heart twist just a little.  Of course, that is what the Unfollow button is for.  Good-bye, Dr. Sears.  See you in Hell,

Where you going, Mom?
Despite my daughter's Fear of Mommy Out, despite her heart-breaking sob when I place her on the floor and take that first step backwards, I think she's an essentially happy little baby.  This coincides with it happening, that second level of falling in love that occurs when the baby starts to truly *earn* parental love. Sure, I loved all of my babies fiercely that second they were born (slightly less fiercely when they were balls of squirming in my lower gut), but then when they started moving and giggling and playing and showing who they might become- that's when I fall in love all over again, harder.  And Emily knows I'm in the second level of smitten-ness.  We have our own private jokes, songs, looks. We clap together and giggle about things falling down or Alex being Alex.  We share a deep and tenacious love for snacking.  She's happy because she's in a family in which she's unconditionally adored by her mother, her father, and two proud older brothers.

(Perhaps there are a few conditions.  But I'll start laying those out when she reaches the preschool years and I've advance into the third level of intolerance, which is like the second level of falling in love except slightly more violent.)

Even if I disappear sometimes, Emily never seems surprised that I've returned.  Of course I've returned!  How could I leave her?  And all of my things?  Home is where my family is, and also the place where I know the wi-fi password.


On another note, we recently had one of those moments that would be just right for a four panel comic strip if only I had my own weekly comic strip (I would name it Peanuts.  The other Peanuts did so well.)  I don't want to forget.  Adult Andy might one day think this is as hilarious as I do.  I walked into the playroom where he was wrestling Alex, who was yelling out for him to stop.  "Andy!"  I cried.  "What are you doing??"

"I'm doing the Golden Rule."

"What? What do you think the Golden Rule is?"

"Treat others how they want to treat you."

Long pause while I look at Alex and think about that.

"Andy, that's not the Golden Rule.  It's Treat others how you want to be treated."

Andy, mildly sheepish.  "Oh.  Nuts."

Too bad.  The kid had almost found a loophole.

Join us next week on Peanuts when Emily gets left behind waiting for the Great Pumpkin.