Tag Archives: Grandma

Travel: the Good, the Bad & the Crippled

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Ah, I’ve been away for so long! I’ve missed you so much!

(“you” = “Starbucks”)

We got back late last night from vacation and I’ve just been sitting at the computer all day inhaling all of the Internet I missed while away. Big, deep gulps of sweet, sweet Internet.

And in between the big gulps of Internet, I’ve dabbled at writing this post. Write a few sentences, check Facebook. Write a few more, read every entry in my Feedly. That’s how this day has gone. It’s taken about four hours (editor’s note: it ended up taking twelve), but this is what I’ve come up with:

Random Thoughts and Observations about Travel in General and More Specifically, Our Recent Vacation to Turks & Caicos

Travel: I don’t love it. Here’s why:

1. I hate to fly to the point that I need to add in extra time for vomiting. To Do Before Flight: shower, vomit, finish last-minute packing, vomit, get the kids ready, vomit.

Flying WITH the kids is exhausting and stressful because what if the plane goes down and those oxygen masks fall and after I put on my own (hey, I’m a rule-follower) I only have time to save one of my kids… who would I pick? And also, the PLANE IS GOING DOWN.

And flying WITHOUT the kids is depressing because growing up without me is clearly not something my children would be able to overcome and I’d have sentenced them to a life full of sadness and therapy and maybe rehab and probably a lot of cats.

And before you ask, yes, drugs help. Stronger drugs help more. But nothing helps enough.

2. Traveling with young kids is just like regular life, only without all the comforts of home – like frozen waffles, three bins of stuffed animals and two venti iced coffees a day – and with many more opportunities for meltdowns. Plus, I love my home. I almost never feel any urge to leave it at all, nevermind to board a flying death machine.

3. I’m not that adventurous. Or curious. I don’t love to try new things or eat new foods or even see new places.

Wow, I’m AWFUL.

(Waiting for reassurance…)

No really, I know I am kind of boring. Unless we’re drinking Margaritas, of course. Then I’m more fun than… well, sitting at home reading the Internets! Woohoo!

Lest you think otherwise, I have seen a good number of places outside my state lines. I have traveled extensively within the US (in fact, Maine and Alaska are the only two states in which I’ve never set foot or car tires. And before you say it, I already know how close Maine is; I’ve seen a map) and Europe, backpacked in Australia and New Zealand, safaried in South Africa and hiked around Machu Picchu in Peru with my sister, because she forced me to. (She’ll want me to include the fact that I also promised to go to Fiji with her with Habitat for Humanity and then bailed at the last minute. She went anyway. Alone.) While I feel kind of lame saying that I never want to go to Vietnam or Alaska or Thailand, it’s true.

Jenny Lawson (aka The Bloggess) recently spent hours answering readers’ questions and this one just spoke to me:

Bloggess comment

Yup, I’d have to agree, only I would add “… while KJ takes the kids to Disneyland.” Now THAT would be a win-win for everyone!**

**except KJ

So, we just spent the past week at the Beaches resort in Turks & Caicos with KJ’s side of our family, including Grandma, two aunts and uncles and six cousins ranging in ages from 7-18.

We got off to a bit of a rough start when KJ hurt his knee a few days prior to the trip and instead of getting better, THE OPPOSITE HAPPENED. By the time we left for the airport, he could barely walk. By the time we landed on the island, his knee was the size of a grapefruit and he was forced to request crutches.

Aside from being in a lot of pain, a parent with a serious knee injury on a tropical island vacation (think: swimming, water slides, running away from Mommy during endless sunscreen applications) is virtually useless from a parenting perspective. I might have been jealous of him except for the whole he was in excruciating pain thing.

This leads me to our next mishap. I’m not a water slide kind of girl. Never have been. Definitely definitely definitely never will be. But Happy Dude needed an adult to take him on the water slide and could you say no to this face?

Didn't think so.

Didn’t think so.

We made a few successful runs, but before I could think “This isn’t so ba…” BAM, I smacked my head against the side of the slide immediately before hitting the water. The next few minutes are a blur, but I remember panicking that we were both for sure drowning. In reality, KJ tells me that a.) Happy Dude was completely fine and was pulled out of the water immediately and b.) that the noise of my head hitting the slide was horrific… which is pretty cool, am I right?

I had a pretty bad headache for the rest of the day AND I still have pain in my shoulder and neck. Not to mention that Happy Dude was SOL when it came to water slides because he ran out of un-injured parents to take him.

That said, we had plenty of help from the older cousins whom our kids ADORE. Seeing our kids with their cousins was the absolute best part of this trip.

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The Nibbit is in heaven when he’s around his teenage boy cousins because he can basically be as aggressive and rough as he wants to be – which is HIGHLY aggressive and EXTREMELY rough – without getting in trouble. They race, wrestle, tag, dunk, hide and carry… all of the Nibbit’s favorite things.

That’s not to say that the Nibbit wasn’t any trouble at all. Nope, pretty sure nobody would say that. And by nobody, I mean any of the thousands of people who were in his presence at some point this past week.

You know sometimes when you’re out in public, you see a kid misbehaving a little bit and you see the mother overreact and completely snap? And then you feel bad for that poor kid for having to deal with that crazy mother and you have a quick daydream about confronting the mother and saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help but notice what just happened with your son and don’t you think that maybe you overreacted a TINY bit? I mean, he only grabbed that bag of cookies off the shelf and really, what kid DOESN’T grab cookies? So was your screaming ‘PUT THE COOKIES BACK AND LET’S GO’ really necessary? Maybe you should just take a deep breath and give the kid a break.”

Yeah, I’ve done that, too and I can now honestly say, I will NEVER do it again.

Because now I get it. Now I completely understand that in the 30 minutes or two hours or six days prior to the cookie incident, that kid was probably acting like SATAN’S SPAWN. And even though grabbing cookies isn’t such a big deal, the mom just COULDN’T. TAKE. ANYMORE.

It was a serious downside of traveling with my in-laws – downright embarrassment at some of the Nibbit’s behavior. And yes, sometimes my own.

(The other downside of this trip was that the only place that served iced coffee served it in teeny tiny plastic cups and I was all, “This is great, but I’m going to need TEN of these.”)

Of course, the family was very kind and understanding about the difficulties of traveling with little ones, even little ones that sometimes lack the ability to act like a human being in public.

The kids had such a blast on this trip – despite the bug bites, the remnants of Tropical Storm Dorian (thank God for Xbox in the hotel room!) and the looooong travel day home yesterday which included a shuttle bus, waiting in a HOT airport for three hours, the 3½ hour flight, more waiting on a long immigration line and a hour-long car ride home – they loved the water park and the beach and the video games and the dessert buffet and the quality time with the family. We ALL loved the QT with the family and are thankful to Grandma for this experience that the Loud One called the BEST! VACATION! EVER!

Here are some more highlights:

Wreaking havoc in the water park

Wreaking havoc in the water park

Lizard-hunting

Lizard-hunting

Playing "Poison Silverware" at the "very fancy restaurant." (My childhood friends will understand... we didn't have M&Ms!)

Playing “Poison Silverware” at the “very fancy restaurant.” (My childhood friends will understand… we didn’t have M&Ms.)

Shark-hunting

Shark-hunting

Hibachi!

Hibachi!

Riding in the back of the golf cart (because Daddy couldn't walk to the restaurant)

Riding in the back of the golf cart (because Daddy couldn’t walk to the restaurant)

TV FACE: Island version

TV FACE: Island-style

"Hey! This rock is singing!"

“Hey! This rock is singing!” #naturespeakers #toddlersaresogullible

Hammock fun

Hammock fun

 

Dinosaurs & Skulls

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I don’t have any big parenting dilemmas or issues to discuss this week – well, I always have parenting issues, but nothing about which I have any coherent thoughts – so I thought I’d just share two stories with you guys.

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I’ve sort of slacked off on the Friday Funnies for the past… long time… but this conversation happened yesterday so I thought I’d share it. I believe it really shines some insight onto how kids’ brains work… or in this instance, don’t.

The Nibbit and I had this conversation in the car (of course) and after the first couple of comments, I pulled over so that I could write them down. (See how I did that? See how I snuck in the fact that I wasn’t typing while driving? Mother of the Year!!)

The conversation never paused, so we just sat there on the side of the road… him talking, me answering (sort of not really) and typing frantically without letting him notice so that it wouldn’t interrupt the flow.

The Nibbit: I see eggs.

Me: Huh. Where?

N: Outside. Is it Easter?

Me: No, Easter passed already… remember when the Easter Bunny came and brought you that kick-ass basket? (No, didn’t say kick ass. But I WANTED to. WTF, “is it Easter?” Kids don’t remember shit. Next think I know, he’ll be saying, “I wish we could go on a vacation… just once” or “It would be so great if you’d just make mac & cheese three nights in a row for dinner!” as if those things NEVER happen. Whatever.)

N: How many days ago was it?

Me: I’m not sure … it was a little over a month ago.

N: Yeah, but how many DAYS?

Me: 48 (That was a lie guess, but he didn’t know that. Don’t judge.)

N: That’s a lot of days ago.

Me <bored with this conversation>: Hmmmm… let’s put music on!

N: Is there a road under us?

Me: Um, no.

N: How do you know?

Me: Because there aren’t many underground roads where we live.

N: How do you know?

Me: Because I think I would have seen or at least read about them.

N: Maybe they’re secret roads.

Me <going with it>: You’re totally right! That would be awesome if there was a whole intricate system of underground roads underneath us!

N <bored with this conversation>: It would be cool if there was a dinosaur farm. I mean, house.

Me <still trying to go with it>: You mean, living underground by the secret roads?

N: Mom, there are no secret roads.

Me: Oh, you convinced me that there might be!

N: No. You’re wrong. I was right. There’s not. But there definitely might be dinosaurs.

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We have a tradition that every year in the spring, Grandma (KJ’s mom) comes up to our house for a weekend and she and Charlie (with some other helpers) plant flowers in our front yard. They’ve done it for the past three years.

I think it was the second year that we discovered that the hydrangea bushes we have along the front of the house (NOT the pretty kind) are somewhat diseased and have creatures living on them. (By creatures,” I mean “tiny worms that create cocoons around themselves with leaves.”)

Lovely, right? Well, the Loud One was THRILLED about this.

Every year, Grandma puts her straight to work finding all of these “cocoons” and taking them off of the bushes. Of course, LO has to unwrap every single one to check out the worm on the inside. She then says some form of farewell/apology – “Bye Mr Worm! Sorry I have to kill you!” – before throwing it into an enormous, black garbage bag.

Repeat this approximately 489 times and you have the absolute highlight of LO’s spring.

(Please don’t ask why we haven’t replaced the bushes with something healthy and perhaps, worm-free. Because I will lie to you and tell you that it’s not that I’m lazy; it’s just that it would kill my worm-loving daughter’s SPIRIT. Yup, that’s what I’d say alright.)

Well, we had this de-worming, flower-planting activity scheduled with Grandma this past weekend, but due to our unusually chilly nights, we were advised by people who really know what they’re doing (i.e. the nursery employees) to wait a few weeks.

The Loud One was really upset and Grandma was bummed because we’re not sure if Grandma will make it back up to plant. And LO knows that planting flowers with Mom and Dad won’t be NEARLY as much fun because we won’t marvel at all the worms she unwraps, like Grandma does.

Grandma says things like, “Good one Loud One!” and “That one is huge!”

Whereas Mom will say things like, “That’s disgusting; go wash your hands. Yes, again,” and “Please don’t show me anymore worms.”

So, Grandma came up anyway despite the flower-planting cancellation (which might have had a teeny tiny bit to do with the fact that Grandma was also babysitting our kids that night) and she and Charlie discussed how disappointed they were about not being able to strip sick worms of their diseased bushes homes and plant flowers.

BUT THEN….

Grandma pulled out THIS:

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What exactly is this, you’re wondering?

Well, THIS is a SKULL of a [presumably dead] SQUIRREL.

Should I repeat that?

Grandma brought the Loud One a SQUIRREL SKULL that she FOUND IN HER YARD.

Well.

You would have thought it was a free pass to an extra-large candy buffet. LO LOVES THIS SKULL. She brought it to the bus stop the next day to show her friends there. Then she brought it into school to show her teacher and her classmates.

After that, she left it in the car where it scared the bejesus out of me when I pulled it out of the backseat cup holder without looking first.

Grandma and LO are Nature Soul Mates.

I’m so glad and grateful that she has Grandma to encourage and appreciate her passion for all things disgusting nature.

Because she’s certainly not getting that stuff from me… you know, encouragement, appreciation, SKULLS.

C.Animals

These are just a few of the creatures that LO has loved through the years.
And there are a couple of pictures where she’s just searching for new ones.