Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Spring Break, and Other Cook Family Disasters

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I think he prefers the sink bath.


For the first of what will be many Spring Break trips without Tony, the boys and I visited their grandparents and cousins last week.  I survived, but not without sacrificing yet another piece of my soul on the altar of parenthood.


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My parents and in-laws did the best they could to get me some extra sleep, for which I am ever thankful, and they all cooked for me, which was amazing.  We didn’t have a schedule, so I didn’t nag at the boys to brush their teeth or get their shoes on or even to go to bed.  They really needed a break, I think.

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They found Grandma’s Sharpie markers. It still hasn’t worn off.


Oh, but it was hard.  First, there’s the traffic.  It took us three hours to go from Mount Vernon to South Tacoma and most of that time was spent with the boys yelling “Mommy, I have to go potty!” or “I have to go potty REALLY BAD” and me yelling back (they were wearing headphones), “Just HOLD IT, we’re on the freeway!”  Yeah, we pulled over on the freeway, twice, in stop-and-go traffic so that the big kids could pee out the van door.  Should I be more embarrassed?  Probably, but I’m not.  Better out than in.


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And then, of course, Freddie is teething, in a sort of interminable way, so that he’s always uncomfortable and gumming things but has only one tooth poking through and no others even ready that we can see.  With the teething come the colds and runny noses and red cheeks.  And because I am an idiot, I thought he would sleep and mostly be fine in the car on the drive to the beach.  Ha.  Hahahahahahahaha.  He screamed all the way from Olympia to Montesano.  I got him out of the car seat in Montesano and he crawled around, happy as can be, for ten minutes, and then promptly started screaming when I put him back in his seat.  He screamed until we were within 30 minutes of my parents’ house, at which point he finally passed out, much to my relief.  Except that until he fell asleep, I was doing that numb thing where I just tuned it out as best I could (after all, we had to get there, and it was the getting there that he objected to), but as soon as he fell asleep, I felt absolutely horrible.  All my baby wanted was to be comforted and instead I callously let him scream for hours on end.  Shame.


For the next two long drives, I drugged him with ibuprofen ahead of time.  No more rookie mistakes there!


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I made them all get out of the car to look at Multnomah Falls.  In the rain.  They hated it.


The stays in Ilwaco and Richland were low-key and would have been relaxing if I had slept.  I would have slept if Jamie and Freddie had slept.  They didn’t.  Also, I was sorely needed at work – I do a full-time job in something less than part-time hours and I feel guilty and terrible with every hour I have to put my little boys in daycare.  I feel guilty and terrible with every minute I spend on my boys and away from the business and our livelihood.


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Where Freddie spent most of his time at Grandma’s house.


Now, having returned, I am just as much an ogre to my kids as before.  Would you like to feel better about yourself by judging my (not) stellar parenting?  I screamed at Jamie SO HARD this morning.  I stomped my feet and threw things and generally had a temper tantrum.  Other moms might think they are failing at motherhood because of the pileup of dishes and laundry or the lack of gourmet meals; I know am failing because I am a beast who can’t seem to keep from yelling at her kids and whose kids seem to deliberately infuriate her because, I don’t know, they want to or something.  There are many big disadvantages to this Spring Break thing (now that I’m a parent, I would advocate for 2000-hour-a-year school), but the most immediate to my life right now is that my children are fucking tired of me.  I may be the parent to take them on fun trips to new places, but I am not the fun parent. 


We will go on a Spring Break trip every year.  Tony needs the time to work without us (I think he only came home to sleep while we were gone, and not very much at that) and I can’t really fathom keeping the boys at home or at work with me for a whole week each spring.  But if it never gets better than this year’s harrowing, exhausting trip, I might just book myself into a spa and send them away to survival camp or something.  Hell, they could run the survival camp.  I can barely survive them and I gave birth to them, so good luck to anyone else.

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