My kids are kind of kicking my ass lately. Summer vacation is a long time to be the go-to person all day, every day. Pacey has been waking up anywhere between 5:30 and 6:00 am every day and we have yet to find a reliable way of keeping him in his room and not waking up his sister. One of my best strategies for handling the long days of All Mom All the Time used to be making sure I was up in time to have a cup of coffee and shower before the kids needed my attention. I'm absolutely not getting up at 5:00 to achieve that, so it means I'm being bombarded from the minute my eyes open.
Pacey has become a real handful lately. He's figured out a ton of new stuff which, you know, awesome, but also a giant pain in the backside. He finally figured out the doorknob covers which means no room in the house is safe (apart from the furnace room and the hot tub room which have locks higher up on them). The other day he let himself out into the garage, climbed in my car and used my garage door opener to open the garage. He can fit out the dog door, and has, causing an absolute and utter panic for about 5 minutes one day when I could NOT find him anywhere (I finally found him crouched by the side of our pond in the backyard. It's only about three inches deep, but still. HEART ATTACK). He is getting into previously unbothered cupboards and drawers and can reach the middle of the kitchen counters, which used to be a safe zone. I think he's really enjoying his newfound abilities, but he's using his powers mainly for evil and destruction. The other morning, the kids invaded our room and then disappeared to play, leaving us relieved to have a few minutes to come to in peace. We could hear them talking and laughing and running around together so weren't too worried about what they were up to. When we emerged, however, it was to find this:
They had found a ball of string and proceeded to use the entire thing to spin a web around the center of our main floor.
The thing that's hard about Pacey is that in the bigger picture, it's so awesome that he's doing all these things. He is using his brain in awfully creative ways and his dexterity has come such a long way. When he takes a bait fish and shoves it in his sister's face, growling "Eat it!!" it is so delightfully "normal" it is hard to be mad. But he clearly needs boundaries and rules just like any kid. Lack of structure is hard on him - he likes doing fun things but he also does best (just like his mama) when he knows what to expect and what is expected of him. Figuring out how best to explain rules to him and help him understand what is a game and what is not is something of a moving target that is eluding me lately.
I had a little mini-vacation this morning. I took the kids to Club Kid and went to get my teeth cleaned. I know, not much of a vacation. But on the way there I got to roll down the windows without anyone shrieking about how their hair was blowing in their face. I listened to songs with explicit lyrics at top volume. I sat in a chair for 30 minutes and didn't have to attend to anyone else's needs. And then I drove to the mall and did something I'm really not good at: asking for help. Chris has a new pair of sunglasses that got scratched up in my bag last weekend. He ordered a pair of replacement lenses but neither of us could get the screws undone to change them out. I don't tend to feel entitled to much and I felt a little funny about asking for help from a business without giving anything in return. But, I put on my Big Girl Pants, asked for some help and a very nice woman at Pearle Vision changed them out for me. I was kinda proud of myself, I have to say. Lest you think two hours to myself was too indulgent for a Thursday morning, fear not. Upon retrieving my children I was treated to an Epic Brighton Meltdown that lasted the entire drive home and reversed any relaxation I'd achieved.
While at the mall, I had a look around for something fun to take on vacation next week. Oh, by the way, we're going on vacation next week. Now, I'm not a fashionable person and never have been. I don't think I wear clothing that's terribly unflattering and try to dress somewhere near my age, but I am most comfortable in jeans and t-shirts. I really tried to have an open mind today, but the current trends are HIDEOUS. Really, really bad. I haven't figured out yet where a nearly-32-year-old stay-at-home-mother-of-two is supposed to be shopping. I'm petite, so I CAN wear juniors' clothing, but even I know that's not cool anymore. I did step into a store called Delia's to take a photo of a funny tank top I saw that said "I Love British Boys." A salesgirl came up to me and gestured to the table in front of me with stacks of t-shirts bearing teenage boys' pictures on them and excitedly asked, "Oh, do you like One Direction?" You know you're far too old to be in a shop when you don't even know who the faces on the t-shirts are. (for the record, I was NOT shopping for myself in there)
We had a truly superb Sunday last weekend. We took the boat out in the morning with friends, pulled up on a beach on an island in the middle of the lake we were on and splashed, swam and generally lazed around for a few hours.
We followed it up with a bbq later in the afternoon with some other friends and I was left with a deep feeling of contentment about life in general. Not so much the next day, though, when B woke up with a horrible bumpy, red rash all over her body except precisely where her bathing suit covers. I had a sneaking suspicion it probably had to do with our lake swim and sure enough, it's something called Swimmer's Itch, or an allergic reaction to a parasite in the water. Apparently it's pretty common, especially in kids, but has really not improved my personal squeamishness about lake water. Also, not amused when my poor scabby child was awake from 1-4 am itching and miserable. Apparently you can reduce the risk of infection by toweling dry after swimming, but my enthusiasm has been dampened somewhat.
We're headed to California next week. I'm beyond excited to see my sister and her family (as well as some friends who live in the area) but am feeling a bit apprehensive about the travel. I think the kids will do fine, but I hate, hate, HATE flying. The older I get the more fearful I get - probably because I do it less and less frequently. In some ways it helps to have the kids with me because I absolutely don't want to teach them to fear flying and because I'm distracted by the task of keeping two often-irrational human beings from losing their shit over the span of several hours. Once we get there, I am definitely excited to have a real family vacation. If anyone has any recommendations in the Bay Area, let me know.
B has a new imaginary friend, Martian Mickey. I'm not surprised in the least...she's about the most social person I've ever encountered and so creating a friend to keep her company when she's alone is pretty characteristic. So far Martian Mickey has been mostly helpful for me, in the sense that I can suggest Martian Mickey's willingness to do things B doesn't want to do herself and she'll sometimes fall for it. He/she (B hasn't really decided whether it's a boy or a girl) likes to have her own food and drink and must be buckled into an imaginary carseat in the car. Yesterday B tried to con me into extra treats by suggesting that Martian Mickey needed some chocolate too. I told her that she'd have to share her own chocolate with Martian Mickey and she responded, "Well, I think Martian Mickey is actually allergic to chocolate." Clever little minx.
Despite all the complaining I do about them here, I really do love my kids and they entertain me endlessly.