I know, I know. I need to finish my series on Women and Work, but I’m on vacation right now, and after spending a delirious night of 8 solid, wild hours with a wiggly, wide-awake two-year-old, I need serious therapy. Therapy costs a lot of money, so how about a post? That always helps. I actually already wrote it in my head while capturing the Child and depositing him into the Pack-N-Play 9,736 times—to distract my mind from the insanity happening around me.
First of all, I want to point out that I’ve been around this particular block a time or 65,937. In spite of my experience (this being my ninth 2-year-old) I still had high hopes of actually accomplishing something on this vacation while this Child slept peacefully.
The second point I want to make, related to the first, is that YES – I like to accomplish things on vacation. What’s a vacation for? Laying around and doing nothing? Relaxing? Taking a BREAK?
It all started quite well. My husband did all the planning. He found a three bedroom condo in the Dells, last minute, dirt cheap, for two days and two nights – with waterpark tickets included. Could I swing that? Hey, as long as the word “camping” isn’t part of the equation, we’re good.
The waterparks had some zero-entry pools for toddlers, so while I knew I’d spend most of the time standing, half naked, in a crowd of half naked people, shivering, eyes darting to keep track of a 2 and 3-year-old (yes, can’t forget about the 3-year-old), heart palpitating every 3 seconds that I couldn’t find one of them, I figured I could manage for 48 hours.
I’d get some work accomplished in the nice quiet evenings after the toddlers went to bed. And in the afternoons when the toddlers took their naps. It would be wonderful. I’d drink good things and eat good things and write good things.
The trip there was almost 4 hours long. Right during the Child’s naptime. Perfect for the Child to take his nap, right? The Child fell asleep about 5 minutes before another child decided she had to go tinkles. I groaned. You all know what that means, don’t you. The car stops. The kids make a ruckus. The Child wakes up, never to fall back asleep again for the rest of the trip.
I ranted and raved about how my fate was now sealed for the rest of the week end. My husband and older kids thought I was overly hysterical about it. They thought it made no sense. Why should the lack of an afternoon nap make any difference? Why, that SHOULD cause the Child to sleep EVEN BETTER that night. I mean, that’s the logical thing to assume, right?
But if you’re a mom reading this, you know that the opposite happens. If the Child misses the nap, the Child will forgo sleep for 24 more hours – and so will you.
After an evening of waterparking that went as expected, I headed back to our rooms to get the toddlers settled down and to bed. Cheerful. Hoping against hope that I would be proved wrong, and they’d both fall asleep peacefully in the strange bedroom and sleep all night.
The 3-year-old did just that. He’s almost 4, and I consider him past the age of difficulty, although he still poops in his pants, which does make me slightly batty. I keep telling myself they don’t do that anymore when they are 16, so at some point between now and then, it has to stop. I can’t imagine how he’ll finally figure out it is more pleasant to dump in the pot than in his pants. But I surely hope it happens soon. He’s the only one I ever wrote a blog post about regarding potty training – and it was such a hopeful post full of optimism and happy smiles. I swear I will never blog about about such things again. But I digress.
The 2-year-old (who JUST TURNED TWO THAT VERY DAY) was a whole different story. He is the kind of child who never stops moving. He has two speeds. Sleep and run. He figured out long ago how to escape the play pen. How to open doors. How to climb over things and under things and through things. How to get out of buckles and straps. He is Houdini.
I kept putting him back in the play pen – and laying down on the bed next to it to help him relax in the strange room – and he kept getting out. I put him in. He got out. I put him in. He got out. How would you like to read that over and over again ad nauseum? That’s how I felt doing it. After an hour of this, I gave up on the idea of a peaceful night of writing and pulled him into bed with me, hoping he’d fall asleep.
Nope. He sang. He flipped this way. He flopped that way. He sang some more. He repeated “DA DA BA BA Sir Kus” ten million times. (Daddy bombed the circus?) More flipping and flopping.
In the meantime Joe and the kids had come back from the waterpark, had watched a movie together, enjoyed snacks, and had a jolly time before hitting the sack.
Now it was 3:30 a.m., and I was ready to slit my throat. I stumbled out of the room from hell and found my husband snoring on the couch in the living room. I asked him if he might relieve me of my duties so I could try to get a little sleep before dawn and more waterparking commenced. (The thought was making me sick to my stomach at this point.)
He agreed and took the Child back into the room with him while I curled up on the couch. Silence. It was wonderful. I was alone. I relaxed. I could just feel myself drifting off into blissful oblivion when…CRASH!!! Something crashed outside in the hallway. My heart pounded, and I was wide awake with every muscle tensed. I listened for any more noises, and after hearing nothing for 5 minutes, I felt myself drifting off once again.
Suddenly a door slammed shut nearby, and I was wide awake again, freaking out. How could Joe have slept through this racket? Was it over? Could I dare allow myself to sleep? No. It was not over. Two more loud, sudden, mysterious noises later, I crept into the bedroom again to see how Joe was faring. I could hear snoring. There, sleeping peacefully, were all three males on the king sized bed. I sighed. And joined them.
When I woke up again it was 11:00 a.m.. David was standing in his playpen staring at me with a huge grin on his face. There was a pot of coffee waiting for me, and we began a very pleasant day.