Thursday, September 27, 2012

A "What would you do?" parenting moment

He set a fresh, hot cup of coffee on the nightstand next to my head and said, "It's 7:06, sleepyhead."

Dammit.  Why didn't my alarm go off?  

And then I remembered; the day before, I woke up early.  I was up at 5:35 am.  In a burst of pride for being up so early, I turned off my alarms (yes, alarms, plural, because I generally need more than one to wake up).  I'm an early riser, I don't need these alarms!

Then, apparently, I forgot to turn the back on.  

School bus #1 comes at 7:11.  Okay, so that wasn't going to happen.  Making my peace with that, I got up and began my morning routine of ironing clothes, making lunches, and harassing children to get ready.  Thankfully, the Hubs had been busy that morning while I "slept in," so breakfast was a done deal.  

When it was time to drive the Girl to school, it was also time for the Boy to catch his bus.  

Cole, come on!  I'll drive you to the bus stop! 


Cole, are you coming? 


Hello?!  Are you ready for school? 


Giving up on yelling, I went to his room, where I found him...  In his underwear.  In bed.  Asleep.  

Are you seriously going to miss the bus?!?!

He jumped up, frantic but half asleep.  

I can't believe you!  Why would you get up, eat breakfast, and then go BACK to sleep?  What's wrong with you?? 

I told him I wasn't taking him to school unless he was ready in 2 minutes and in the car.  The clock was ticking.  The Girl was becoming frantic that she was going to be tardy.  

The Boy made it into the car (admittedly, with some browbeating by his mother).  As we rounded the corner, we saw his bus about to pull away from the bus stop.  She saw us coming and sat there, waiting. 

Suddenly, I had a split-second parenting decision to make:  Did I put him on the bus, despite the fact that he did not have his shit together, nor did he even have shoes on yet?  Or did I drive him to school after I (attempted to) get his sister to school on time? 

What would you do?? 

Story to be continued...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dearest Children: Seriously, shut the hell up! Love, Mom

That's pretty much the gist of it.  If your interest is piqued, though, read on... 

Dearest Children, 

Your mother does not DO camping.  However, since you seem to love it, I put on my happy face and planned a camping trip.  

I made grocery lists, shopped, cooked food ahead of time to take with us, helped pack up all the food and gear, made arrangements for the campsite and for the dog to board the dog at the kennel, and did lots of other things you cannot even begin to imagine.  

Then, I sat in the car with you for 8 - EIGHT! - hours listening to the two of you fight with each other.  Incessantly.  

He's got more room than me!

She won't stop talking!

He's pushing things over on me!

She scratched me with her nails!

I listened with smug satisfaction as your father pulled off the highway and lost his cool with the two of you, threatening to do things that he would not actually do but doing so in a tone that made you squirm in your seat and wonder if he really meant it.  See?  It's not just me.  Dad yells, too. 

When we finally reached the campsite and it was dark outside, a fact for which you were partially to blame, you were not thrilled about making camp in the dark.  Well, guess what?  Neither was I.  But I again sucked it up and dug in so we could get it done.  

Thankfully, Mother Moon was full, simultaneously lighting the site for us and helping me to keep my patience.  

My favorite part of the evening, other than you, my darling son, doing your best to wake our camping neighbors, was when you, my dearest daughter, sat in a huff on a camp chair and said, I don't like this.  Is it going to be more fun tomorrow?

No.  No, it's not.  Welcome to camping.  

The next morning, after awaking to my hip digging into the ground as a result of a deflated air mattress, I took you to the dining hall to get a hot breakfast even though your dad said we could break our fast with the food in the cooler.  I bought you wristbands so that you could do unlimited ziplining and rock climbing.  

When your father said he was taking you mountain bike riding on the trails...

I settled in to my chair in the shade by the river to read a book and sip a cup of coffee.

When you, daughter, decided before your ride started that you didn't want to go, I sacrificed my serenity to your whim.  

When the boys got back from their ride, you children kayaked while I fixed your lunch, baking in the sun and harassing you about adequate sunscreen usage. 

When your father got back from his solo ride, I put on my water shoes, hopped into a canoe with the three of you, rode down to the kayak/conoe launch, and got mule kicked by you, dear son, as you sprang from the canoe into the water, pouting because you didn't get an oar.  I still have the lovely bruise on my knee from your kick.  

From there, I hiked the river trail to the waterfront with you...

...where I put on a lifejacket, preparing to  jump into freezing cold water while knowing full well I wasn't going to have a  shower or *shudder* a hair dryer available until the end of the day; you chose that moment, son, to scream at me in front of a lot of strangers because your life jacket was too loose and I wasn't helping you out of the water fast enough so that you could find a new one.  I had to put on my mean hat and make you sit out for speaking to me so rudely.  Believe it or not, I do not take joy in this.  It's really pretty sucky to be mean when you're trying to have fun.  

Your father decided the river was too cold and got out as soon as I got in.  

I enjoyed swimming in the river, taking pictures with my water camera of you, daughter, frolicking on the water toys.  

Then you, son, disappeared to ride in a time trial race with your father.   

After swimming in the river, you, my girl, stated your desire to swim in the pool instead.  So, we made our way up the cliffside stairs and decided to hike back to our campsite to get money, more sunscreen, and towels before going to the pool.  

Hiking in my wet shorts caused quite the lovely chaffing issue that I had to deal with later on, in case you were wondering.  

Mother and daughter made the trek back and forth, and we ran in to father and son back from their time trial.  They won 3rd place, and I was there, snapping photos of you, son, with your father on the podium during the award ceremony.  Then, you wanted to go back to the river with your father.  We went to the coffee shop to discuss evening plans over smoothies.  

It was decided that your father would put the chili on the fire to heat while I took you children swimming in the pool, and then Dad would take you back to the river and I would go back to babysit the chili.  

After 20 minutes at the pool, you were a bored boy.  You asked me constantly if we could leave while simultaneously aggravating your sister.  I, in return, asked you, son, if anything ever truly satisfied you.  I'm still waiting on the answer for that, by the way.  

We made our way back to the campsite, where we ate chili and visited with camp neighbors.  Another trip to the river was not to be that evening, but you, son, went and socialized with kids while the rest of us availed ourselves of the bath house facilities (such as they were).  Boys are apparently exempt from showering while camping, from what I gathered over the weekend.  

We went to sleep that night after refilling the deflated air mattress, hoping it would last until morning.  We left you children on the newer, non-deflating mattresses so that you could sleep comfortably.  

We awoke the second morning to a 6am alarm so that you, son, could eat and get ready for your 8am race start.  Despite a progressing lower backache due to the aforementioned deflated mattress, I was there at the starting line, cheering for you and snapping photos as you took off.  

I met you at the finish, greeting you with cold water and words of praise, and I took you to the coffee shop for air conditioning and a snack.  

I was at the start line 2 hours later when your father took off, snapping photos and cheering for him.  I stood with the two of you at the Feed Zone for an hour while we waited for your father so that we could give him ice cold water rather than the warm water they were handing out.  

Then, as requested by both of you, I bought you each a souvenir festival shirt for you to tie dye.  I bought us all a kettle corn snack to share, and then I enjoyed the free beer they were handing out while you tie dyed your little hearts out.    

Your father finished his race, and we decided to make our way back to the campsite  for lunch.  I started walking, while the three of you were to bike back.  I made it back with only you, son, with me.  We ate lunch after waiting in vain for you, daughter, and your father to join us.  

The beer, the lunch, the hot afternoon sun, and the breeze blowing over me and my chair under the shade tree all meant one thing: nap time for Mom.  My lovely daughter and her father were still MIA, and you, my darling boy, were driving me crazy about swimming, but I napped while you kayaked.  I knew we were packing up soon, and, as much as I wanted a dip to cool off, I did not want to travel wearing the river in various unspeakable places.  

When you finally showed up with your father, daughter, after an unplanned and apparently unsuccessful father/daughter mountain bike ride, I was hot and still sleepy.  Still, I began the process of packing up the campsite.  The two of you went off to do more kayaking while your father and I decamped, organizing, reorganizing, loading, and reloading.  

We were hot and thirsty by the time we were done, but the two of you were insistent that we adjourn to the waterfront for more river swimming.  We assured you that you would swim.  We drove up to the main camp area, got rid of our trash, and decided that I would cool off in the coffee shop and read for a bit while Dad took you to the waterfront.  

You followed me to coffee shop instead, though, and started discussing dinner options.  We got drinks and I prepared to enjoy a last bit of quiet time while you went swimming.  At the last minute, you both decided against swimming and opted for a quick trip down the zipline once more.  After I spent a few minutes of quiet time in the coffee shop, you were back and ready to go.  

Later, we chatted about the trip over a lovely Mexican food dinner.  Dad and I both said how much fun we'd had over the weekend.  

When asked if you had fun, you, son, answered, Yeah, except, well… Mom isn't very fun.  She doesn't like to do anything.  For the sake of solidarity, I suppose, you, daughter, piped in, Yeah, it's true.  You weren't much fun.  You know, in the water.  You just swam around and floated and took pictures.  

In case it was unclear the first time, son, you continued,Yeah, you don't really, like, DO anything, ya know?  You just want to relax and read.  That's not fun.  You're not really very much fun, Mom.  

Kids, you know what?  Seriously, shut the hell up!  Either you're not going next time, or I'm not.  

See how much fun you have then.  

Lots of love,