Instead of counting three little bobbing heads, bouncing along the edge of molten hot geysers and thundering herds of bison, on this trip, we will be counting six. Three blondes, one spunky ginger, a quick little brunette, and one semi-bald infant. I am pumped for this Chevy Chase brand of chaos. At least I was until all the signs that were pointing to "go" started pointing to "No!"
I am a big fan of trusting your gut. Over the years, I’ve honed this skill and am slowly learning to quiet my head and give space for my gut to speak. I am learning to say “yes” when my head pleads “no." My gut always pulls toward "yes."
Everyone knows it takes a village to raise a child, but if your village doesn’t have one or two grandmas in it, you might want to consider moving. This became crystal clear to me over the past three-day weekend when our boys attended their annual Memorial Day campout with my mother-in-law. Camping is relaxing. Camping with kids under the age of 6 – not so much. My mother-in-law knows this and still smiles as we drop them off and drive away.
We’re back from Belize, and – surprise! – we’re alive. If you missed my initial post “Preparing to Die in Belize,” you missed a whole lot of anxiety over not much of anything, but as a parent, that feels kind of normal. Is that mosquito bite on little Jimmy’s neck actually from a tick infected with Lyme? Is Suzy’s weird Texas-shaped birthmark a sign that she’ll end up a Republican? A week long international trip without my three small children was bound to invoke a little paranoia.
Mom groups are a special form of my own personal hell. The awkwardness of deciding where to land, the sizing up, the side eye glances and half smiles…
Google is not my friend. For the past month, I’ve been scanning websites to catalog the horrors awaiting my husband and me on our next vacation. I am using the precise science of scrolling to gauge the likelihood of our first kid-free week in paradise resulting in body bags.
I love to travel because I love to eat, but when the hungry babies start howling from the backseat, I've learned to put my foodie preferences aside and make some concessions. Once we've arrived safely at our destination and everyone has had a solid night's rest, I can demand a farm-to-table house of kale complete with hipsters, their ill-fitting clothes, and all the pretentiousness. Until then, here's my list of "go-to" gourmet:
I am sitting at a Holiday Inn, chasing cold peanut butter toast with thin coffee. Behind me, I hear my five-year-old grunting and growling. There are intermittent high-pitched squeals and smacks against a pillow or maybe the mattress. I can’t be bothered to turn around. Then the crying begins, building in intensity with deep, dramatic inhales to catch his breath and long snuffs of snot being sucked back into his head. He is expressing frustration over his breakfast.
Parenting is a never-ending series of peaks and valleys. On an almost daily basis, I waffle between, “Wow! I am so great at this!” to “Holy shit. Who let me have children?” I have noticed, though, that as our little family adds miles to our travel log, days on the road tend to stay at the positive end of the parenting spectrum. Originally, I thought this was because Vacation Me is so much cooler than Everyday Me, but after careful consideration, I realized there are additional factors at play: