Sunday, October 5, 2008

Where the boys aren’t

Chapter 1 – Family Trip

So, It’s 5:30p in the afternoon on a Saturday and I’m still in my pajamas. Actually I’ve been up since 6am this morning, dressed, traveled from state to state and just finally slipped back into my pajamas for some much needed R&R. My wife and I are on an overnight excursion alone. Ahhh. Tonight begins the 26-hour decompression / vacation from my vacation.

Ok technically I’m not on a vacation from my vacation. In fact I was never really on “vacation”. You see, when you have kids and you take them away with you during your time off from work, it’s not really a vacation. When you’re single and you go away with your buddies to Cancun for spring break, that’s a vacation. When you and your wife stay at the Ritz Carlton in the Cayman Islands for a week sans children, that’s a vacation. But when you take a week off from work to shack-up with your in-laws in West Palm Beach, Florida, all the while totting around two blessed little angels, one who can’t talk yet and coincidentally, one who never (god bless her) shuts up, that my comrades, is a “Family Trip”!

There are a so many things that you start to realize once you have children. These things often come to you in precious and sometimes, precarious moments. I like to call them “moments of clarity”. They are the moments that simultaneously make you want to cry with the utmost love and connection to your child and also pull the hair out of your head with frustration.

For instance, my wife and I were all packed up and ready to schlep both of our daughters from the pool, back to my in-laws apartment. My wife and I were completely exhausted from the chasing and the running and the feeding and the potty runs and the dressing and the undressing and the arguing and all the good things that go along with a day at the pool. Not to mention completely covered in Goldfish crumbs. It had taken us about 20 minutes of 5 minute warnings to pry the kids out of the water. Like every other day, they were reluctant to comply. We asked my oldest daughter (who happens to be smarter than the both of us put together) to carry one of her pool toys. We were just about out of the gate when I peered back at her and saw her sneakily toss the pool toy into the pool. Now she’s no dummy. My wife immediately snapped at her because it’s completely par for the course. To most people this would seem like a simple act of disobedience. But look closer… This was not malicious or directed toward my wife and I with any disrespect what so ever. All she did was figure out a perfect way to HAVE to go back into the pool. Now the argument went like this:

Mommy: “Why did you throw that into the pool?”
Smart kid #1: “I didn’t. It fell.”
Mommy: “It fell into the middle of the pool?”
Smart kid #1: “Well… Actually, I wanted to see if it would float or sink.”
Mommy: “No way. I’m not going back in the pool!”
Smart kid #1: “Please momma?”
Mommy: “No way, we’ll leave it here then.”
Smart kid #2: “Gah.”
Smart kid #1: “No! Please. Please. Daddy, can you get it?
Daddy: “Sure pumpkin.”
Mommy: “I said no!”
Daddy: “Uh, ok. Whatever your mother says…”
Smart kid #1: Starts to fake cry but with real tears. Totally Oscar caliber.
Mommy: “If you want it so bad, then get it yourself.”
Smart kid #1: “But it’s in the deep end. Do I need my floaties?”
Smart kid#2: “Gah.”
Mommy: “Yes.”
Smart kid #1: “But I can swim without my floaties.”
Mommy: “JUST PUT ON THE FLOATIES!!!”
Daddy: “Can she put on one floaty?”
Mommy: “Be quiet!”
Daddy: “Put on both floaties sweet pea.”
Smart kid #1: “Ok. Can I jump in?”
Daddy: “Sure go ahead…”
Mommy: “Helloooo?”
Smart kid #2: “Gah!”
Daddy: “Sorry. Just use the stairs buddy.”
Smart kid #1: “Ok, Yay!!! I love the pool!”
Pool: SPLASH!

So you see what I’m talking about? This was one of those amazing times as parents you could literally call it quits right there on the spot because you’re so annoyed and frustrated and feel completely outmatched. You can feel your hold on the law slipping away and you’re too tired to care. These kids can be so relentless and wound up with energy and curiosity. But on the other hand… It’s so amazing how smart and calculating her shtick was. You have to respect that. She even rode out the argument patiently enough for the momentum to turn naturally in her favor. She never even asked to go in the pool. We made her go. Awesome! I love that kid. So smart. The best part is, I’ll probably be the one to get yelled at in the end… Oh well. I guess I’ll always be…

Out-numbered.