Monday, April 25, 2016

Searching for Happy

Last week, I honestly wondered if I was having a nervous breakdown.  But then I thought, if I’m aware of the nervous breakdown, is it actually a nervous breakdown?  Or am I just throwing a tantrum?

Jamie is four years old, almost five, and thank you, God, he is starting to show signs of moving out of the Fucking Fours.  I understand the Fucking Fours, though: his emotions outpaced his ability to cope with them.  Well, I think that’s what happened to me during the two weeks that followed spring break; my emotions outpaced my ability to cope.  So maybe Jamie’s not growing out of the Fucking Fours but my ability to empathize is increasing.

Do you know what’s not a good coping mechanism when you’re overtired, overstressed, and overwhelmed?  Texting your overworked, overtired, overstressed husband, “I quit.”  He couldn’t do anything about it.  I probably should have just given in and let everyone eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinnner for a couple of weeks. 

And then, at the culmination of tax season, we said our sobbing goodbyes to Buster.  He was physically healthy but mentally very unhealthy.  He perceived everyone outside of the family as a threat.  He was unsafe.


I miss him.  God, how I miss that stupid dog.  He wasn’t a very good dog – he never learned to fetch, he stopped being able to run with me a couple of years ago, his belches could clear a room, and he was aggressive – but I loved him.  The house is rather lonely without him, despite the tribe of rambunctious boys.  It hurts when I think of how he used to be many years ago, when I think of the dog he became over time, and when I remember our last moments with him as he slipped away.

Posting might be light here for a few weeks.  I need to find my happy place, the one inside my head, again.  I laughed with Tony a couple of times this past week, I mean really laughed, and it felt new.  I realized that I hadn’t laughed in a long time.

The thing is, it doesn’t matter how funny the joke is; it matters how light your heart. 

I’ll be back when I can be back, friends.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Legoland Adventure


I planned our trip to Legoland for spring break ages ago.  I coerced my mom into taking care of Freddie (and Tony) for a few days and I booked the flights, hotel, and park passes.


And then I sobbed when I dropped Freddie off the day we left.  It was my first time away from him and though I craved the sleep and the opportunity to sever our breastfeeding relationship (the chubby leech has been sucking until he exhausted the milk and started drawing blood every night for the last month), I was loathe to go without him for three nights.  Codependent much, Amelia?

Luckily for me, I had this bedmate while in California (even though he had his own perfectly good Lego pirate bunk):


Also, this guy watched over me while I slept, so I guess I was well-protected:


When we arrived, it was almost 8 PM, but the kids were wired.  We stayed up to watch the poolside movie with some hot chocolate (Lego Star Wars, of course).


The boys were up SO STINKING EARLY the next morning.



Too early, in fact, for the early-entrance to the park granted to those staying at the Legoland Hotel.  So they did a treasure hunt and built Legos to pass the time.


The weather was great, as you would imagine.






We spent the middle of both days at the water park, which meant that we missed the crowds for the rides.  It worked out pretty well.  Isn’t it great when you accidentally do something awesome?






I cannot say enough good things about Legoland.  The hotel staff was awesome.  The restaurants were perfect for kids.  The buffet was great.  There was an opportunity to embarrass my children every time we rode the elevator: when the elevator doors closed, the disco dance party started and they were mortified, even if no one else was in the elevator with us.  The park itself was perfectly sized and had a wide variety of activities besides just rides.  The water park was fun.  Two days spent there was just the right amount.




I had no personal agenda during this trip, other than to have fun with my boys.  We did the rides they wanted to do, we played what they wanted to play, we ate what they wanted to eat.  I (sort of) enforced bedtimes and teeth-brushing and that’s it.  I let them have control and there were no fights or tantrums.  It was wonderful.



The only shaky part was the trip home, and it was entirely my fault.  In a spectacular showing of idiocy, I did not so much look at the map from Legoland to the San Diego Airport (they’re about 40 miles apart) as glance at it.  We left a bit later than I intended, during rush hour (which moved surprisingly well on the freeway – certainly MUCH better than Seattle), and I took an incorrect exit when the freeway split into two freeways.  We went from a little behind schedule to a lot behind schedule.

We made it through customs and to our gate just before boarding, so I herded the boys over to the bathrooms and we took turns sitting with the luggage (all carry-on) while the others peed one last time before the airplane.  We left a bag at the bathroom, but I didn’t realize it until we were in that little tunnel, about to board the plane.

“Where’s the blue-and-white striped bag?  Oh, shoot!  We left it!  Boys, GET ON THE PLANE, I’m going back.” 

And then I left them to get on the plane.  Which was probably a stupid idea, but it all worked out, you’ll see.

I made my way, frantically, to the bathrooms and then back to security.  Luckily, we were in the small terminal at the airport – at the big terminal, I might have just said “to hell with the bag.”  The bag was at security and after a bit of panicked explanation that I was not trying to leave it behind, I was just absent-minded, I retrieved it.  I ran back to the plane and boarded just in time for takeoff.  The boys had their Legos and were playing, totally unconcerned.  The other parents on the plane assured me they had taken good care of them and that everything was okay, God bless them.

What a gift it was to have been able to do this for and with my big boys.  Next year, we’ll stick close to home, but I promised them we’d go back and do Legoland again when Freddie’s four.

Freddie, who only screamed at me for a whole day upon my return.  He wouldn’t let me put him down, but he screamed at me while I held him.  Pour chunk was so angry.  He’s over it now, and he hasn’t breastfed since.