This trip, where we rented a cheap-0 beach house (with a really gross bathroom) for a week after Labor Day with our two two-year olds is a curious experiment. As hubbo says, “It’s just a change in scenery, not a change in anything else…”. You know what? He’s right. I was depressed for about two days when we had just gotten here, still with some kind of picture or experience floating around in my mind of what this vacation had been in the past. You know, sans children. Stay up all night doing whatever, watching movies till we passed out, cocktails, eating out at restaurants, naps, leisurely clothes shopping at nearby no-tax outlets… IT RULED. Why wouldn’t I be depressed? I miss my childless past, though would not change my child-packed present. I guess it’s just hard to completely remove all memories of relaxation from my head. There is little relaxation in this situation, except for their naptime.
I have some advice for the next crazed parents of twins who try the same thing, thinking they will come back refreshed. Taking two toddlers away for a week, just you and your spouse? FOOLS!
- go grocery shopping right away so there are always snacks, especially toddler appropriate snacks in your house.
- make sure you are eating. cranky parents = cranky kiddies
- did you pack your already ground coffee? do it!
- bring two separate strollers
- pack lots of towels and toys and books
- bring your walking shoes
- don’t expect to always be able to go to restaurants with your little people
- bring doorknob covers and electrical outlet covers with you — saying NO all day long is EXHAUSTING.
I think number 7 is what really got me bummed out last night. Beenie, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past, is practically an adult. She likes to be treated as such, and responds well to praise for good behavior. If she was our only child, we could go out to a meal and it would be no problem. However, we have another daughter, the darling and wild Mimi, who is another story. Last night I was convinced it was possible to go out to a pub type place for dinner. We walked in the door and were seated. Crayons and paper placemats were given to the girls, yet both were reaching for everything else on the table. Mimi somehow, within the span of thirty seconds, had thrown a napkin and the enclosed silverware onto the floor, then colored with her crayons all over the paper placemat and table. She then got down from her chair and sat on the ground and started some kind of monkey chant while removing her sandals. Once she was on the floor I realized this particular event was not a possibility, so I lifted her up as she continued monkey howls and walked right back out the door. We ended up getting Chinese food on the way home.
Take away. Live it, learn it, embrace it. There is nothing wrong with eating in your rental home. There is no shame. You are provided with bowls and plates and forks and knives. Use them. Thai, Chinese, cheeseburgers, pizza, you name it, you are most likely surrounded by places you can get take out from. Then your children can fly around your table, and rant and rave and be their crazed selves without suffering the dirty looks and eye rolls of people around them. They are not missing out on anything. I’ve taken them out in the past to less crowded food venues and they have fared reasonably well, but never before for dinner. I think lunch is golden. Then you can bring them home with full bellies and put them in bed for a nap.
Today I am not relaxed. It is Wednesday. There are still two days left to try to eek some solitude from this trip. The sky is gray and cloudy and cool. Maybe I can escape for a few minutes by myself to look at the ocean. Or go grocery shopping.