Life is Kicking. My. Butt.
Life is Kicking. My. Butt.
Alternate title: We’re a Bunch of Wusses
*I just found this one in the drafts folder and thought it might be nice to forget about cold and snow for a minute!*
The first sign that we might not be a camping family was that we each insisted on bringing two pillows. I should have called it right there. But I had a vision (had I been silly enough to share it with Hubby he would have call it a delusion): the four of us by the side of a pristine lake, each having brought only what we could fit in our backpacks, the kids frolicking in the water, Hubby and I relaxing on the shore, having possibly even travelled there by canoe.
Before you call me crazy, know that I have learned a thing or two about myself and my children over the last few years, and so I also had a more realistic, attainable vision (though apparently Hubby knows us best -he actually did call this one a delusion): the four of us in a provincial park, no more than five lots away from the bathrooms, sleeping in a ten-person, two-room tent (if the kids are in the same room together, no one is getting any sleep) equipped with cushy air mattresses, having travelled there in our car over a distance of no more than 100 kilometres.
When I tried to sell Hubby on the realistic vision he shook his head and said, “You and the kids will hate it.” On some level, I must have known he was right; I never had the confidence to put my money where my vision is and gear up.
And then my parents bought a trailer.
I asked my Dad if he would set it up for us for a few days since our car doesn’t have the capacity to tow a trailer, not to mention that we have no idea what we’re doing. He graciously agreed, and we found ourselves spending two nights on the shores of the St. Lawrence river in a 21′ foot trailer. Thanks to my mom, the trailer came equipped with the following, in addition to a bathroom and queen size bed:
Here is what we brought, in addition to the aforementioned pillows:
What we didn’t bring:
Here’s what we learned:
We had reserved the only lot in the park without one square inch of shade. The kids weren’t interested in playing on the beach, swimming, playing at the playground or doing anything else we suggested. All they wanted to do was fight over the Play-Doh, but they had to do it sitting in the blazing sun. I fought with them every hour on the hour when it was time to reapply sunscreen.
To offset the day’s blazing sun, it rained the minute we tried to start a campfire. The first night I shared the bed in the camper with B.G. while Dan and Bonhomme slept in a puddle in our small, leaky tent. B.G. couldn’t fall asleep and spent half the night crying about it. On night two we switched kids (though I still got to sleep in the bed – no way was I sleeping outside in the tent! So much for my “vision”). Bonhomme slept like a baby but he kept elbowing me in the kidneys all night.
The best part of the camping trip occurred when we left the actual campsite and visited Upper Canada Village on day two. We expected to blow through the village in a couple of hours, but the kids loved the working sawmill, the horse-pulled boat ride and exploring the houses, and we ended up closing the place. I’ve tried unsuccessfully to block the rest of the weekend out of my mind.
Hubby was right all along. We’ve decided that on our next camping trip, we’re going to skip the actual camping.
The reality never quite lives up to the fantasy, does it? You’ve planned a wonderful outing for the family. Lunch, snacks, and suntan lotion are ready to go. The car is full of gas, the route is laid out. You are going to have some FUN! The kids are excitedly running around gathering up hats and toys. It’s go time. And then…
And then it slowly starts to unravel. One child can’t find his favourite hat. The other can’t find her sunglasses. You find substitutes but there is a bit of grumbling. You’ve got them in the car; one decides they need to go potty one more time. Back in the car, you’re three blocks from home when you realize you forgot the bag containing lunch. An extra spin around the neighbourhood and this time you’re really on your way!
Fifteen minutes into an hour-long car ride one child won’t stop calling the other names and the other is screaming. You pretend they haven’t just had breakfast and raid your stash of snacks just to get ten minutes of peace. The child sitting behind you won’t stop kicking the back of your seat and you’re two kicks away from pulling over on the side of the highway and strangling both children right there.
After another potty break for the child who refused to go before you left and a Tim’s break for much needed coffee for the grown ups (and a box of Timbits to assure another ten minutes of quiet) you’ve arrived at your destination.
One child is thrilled to be there (a sentiment that lasts approximately five minutes until he realizes that you ran out of snacks during the car ride over and you refuse to pull out lunch since it’s only 9 a.m.) while the other proclaims that “this place is soooo boring” and wants to head home immediately. You plaster a smile on your face, grit your teeth and exclaim, “We are going to have so much FUN!”. You fail to notice that all the other parents are going through the same thing and assume that every other family on the beach is having a great time.
After an hour of listening to one child complain that they’re starving and the other complain of boredom, you decide that 10 a.m. is a perfectly acceptable lunch hour and set out the picnic. You’ve packed two ham sandwiches and two tuna sandwiches; both children want bologna. You eat the packed lunch and spend $34.50 on hot dogs and french fries for the kids; they eat approximately half a hotdog and six fries between them before declaring themselves full. Ten minutes later they spot another child eating an ice cream cone and act like they can’t live without having one too. You can’t live with the whining so you give in, handing over another $7.10 in the process.
Half an hour later one of the children is puking on the beach.
At least there’s plenty of sand around to cover it up.
By 11 a.m. everyone is cross and exhausted. You throw in the towel and head home. The car ride is eerily silent; the kids can sense that mom and dad are right on the edge. When you get home everyone gets sent to their respective rooms to decompress.
The next day the kids tell grandma about their outing and declare, “It was so much fun!!”
You know that you’ll do it all over again next year.
Sometimes I fantasize about quitting my job and just staying home eating bonbons all day. The other day I told Hubby to consider what I call “The Mad Men Option”. I told him that if he agreed to move to a less expensive house in the country somewhere, so that I didn’t have to work to help pay the mortgage, I would do the following:
Surprisingly, he hasn’t called the real estate agent yet. Huh.
Maybe because I already take care of numbers 2, 4 and 5, part of 1 and am already (somewhat) attempting 6. And we both know that if I was in charge of 3 we’d all starve.
Perhaps I need a new strategy.
**Warning, this post is all about puke.**
My kids are what I would call “surprise pukers”. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to what sets them off, and there is very little warning that it’s about to happen. We recently had to train B.G. in what to do when she felt it coming on, because her default reaction was to come over to tell me all about how bad she felt, which led to a couple of incidents where I was left with puke literally soaking my pants and even my underwear. Yuckity-yuck-double-yuck. One of the incidents happened on the front porch of her friend’s house when we were dropping her off for a sleepover. – they had to hose down the porch. (“Really, she was fine five minutes ago. Guess we’ll be heading home… So sorry!”) I was so grateful that it didn’t happen inside the house five minutes after we’d driven off. The second pants-soaking incident was at a friend’s birthday party, where I vainly attempted to contain the disgusting waterfall in the plastic plate that held my supper. Not surprisingly this method was not effective.
If you think you’re going to be sick, we told her, find grass, a toilet, or a garbage can. DO NOT TELL MOMMY YOU’RE GOING TO BE SICK. Grass. Toilet. Garbage can.
Just a few days after the last B.G. incident, I was with Bonhomme at the Home Depot. He was sick in line at the cash, right as it was our turn to check out. I don’t know what the cashier thought when I asked her for a bag in case he was sick again, and then had her go ahead and ring my items through. Every time I leave the house now I have a couple of plastic bags hanging out of my pockets so that I can easily whip them out as needed.
How are the kids after these incidents, you ask? I might be a bit more sympathetic if they weren’t complaining about being hungry and wanting something to eat before I’ve even changed out of my vomit-covered pants.
I’ve been toying with the idea of starting an anonymous blog, so that I can say what I want without censoring myself. Lately every time I start to write a post I wonder, “Should I post this?” “What will so-and-so think if I tell this story?” “Will I come off like a bad mom if I share this?” It’s gotten to the point where I haven’t been posting anything at all.
So… Instead of starting an anonymous blog when I already have a perfectly good blog going, and since I only have about two faithful readers (I promise not to talk smack about you guys – at least not without giving you a heads up first. 🙂 Yes, I’m talking to you mom…) I’m just going to throw caution to the wind and post whatever I want. So the tone of my blog posts may be about to change…
I’ve also just discovered the publicize button, so I may return to twitter after an extended absence. It was a nice break, but I must admit I’ve missed it.
And let me get this out of the way right now: I won’t be winning any mom-of-the-year awards this year.