Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time for an Update

I am dusting off my keyboard (or rather, wiping off the banana and jelly stains which have accumulated from toddler usage) to add an entry to my blog. I know it's been awhile, and my mother, for one, has reminded me more than once. With Bruce's insane work hours (which I'm still convinced are not entirely legal,) I have been trying to settle into the role of single mom...which as my toddler demonstrated the other day with the phrase, "DAMMIT...I can't find my shirt!"... I'm not handling it very well. I could blog about the preteens' adventures in middle school (although I think the older girl would KILL me;) I could blog about Irelynn and her idea of decorating pumpkins, involving a Sharpie marker and a gooey pumpkin canvas, and her attempts to "help" her sister decorate her's....or I could blog about finding Owen under a bowl of Ramen noodle soup, with a huge grin, and noodles sliding down his head. However, I think the most interesting recent event was our trip up with five children...and no husband...on a four-hour drive.

I shall spare you the details of getting ready for the trip, which my sister could tell you was pure mayhem, and skip to the car ride up there. All was well until we stopped to eat at a Burger King. It wasn't a "real" Burger was one of those gas stations that had a fast food corner inside. They had one high chair. I had two babies who had been cooped up in a van for a couple of hours. Needless to say, this was not a pleasant dinner. Connor's food ended up on the floor. Owen's food ended up in Connor. My food...did I have food? I don't remember. My poor mother, who graciously rode with us, became the second high chair. Then we noticed an odd smell. It was a whopper...but not one that we ordered. Owen figured he would relieve himself while we were stopped. It would have been good timing....if the restroom had a changing table. We made do with the counter.

Back on the road...and into the rain...when my windshield wipers decided not to work. They got stuck in the "up" position. Brilliant. Luckily, they started up again, but now I see that part of the weather stripping on the bottom of the windshield has come loose. As we drive in the rain, with now cranky, screaming babies and two preteens that CANNOT get along, the little black rubber strip mocked me, flapping in front of my face. My mother, always the optimist, tried to cheer me up with her own version of the "suburban housewife" rap, pertaining to driving up north.

"We're going to have a Bud-weis-uh!"

The rubber strip, having not brought our spirits down sufficiently, entwined itself in the wipers, freezing them up the air. My mother gasped and fumbled for the cell phone to inform my stepfather that we had an emergency (he was driving behind us.) I told her it was ok, it wasn't a life or death situation, and we made it off the road into Zilwaukee. After fixing the problem (which meant yanking the dang strip from the window entirely,) we were back on the road with working windshield wipers once again.

Owen and Connor expressed their displeasure by alternating between crying, screaming, and yelling at us in what I believe was Klingon. My mother came up with another colorful verse to her rap, ending in the chorus:

"We're going to have a Bud-weis-uh....or two...."

I finally enlist the help of the older boy to quickly move the portable DVD player to the middle of the van and put in some Backyardigans...stat. we are almost there...quiet.

Once there, I was relieved for a moment. Until I realized where we would be staying. My older brother and sister-in-law were remodeling the main part of the house, so their massive garage had been converted into a livable space. It was huge, and had their couch and big-screen TV, a dining room table, and their fridge and stove with room to spare. was not baby-proof...and it was still a garage...meaning outside the "living room" was concrete. I have really under-appreciated having a gated, baby-proof room in my house. The entire weekend was spent baby wrangling. We attempted to block off dangerous areas with dog crates, ottomans, and my future brother-in-law's...well...I think it was a laundry bag, I'm not sure. We chased them around couches and tables. When I say "we," I am referring to my sister, my mother and I...and occasionally my future brother-in-law who was probably afraid that my sister would kick his arse if he didn't help out. The rest of the family pretty much ignored the rampaging toddlers, whose favorite activities became walking up to the big screen TV and banging on it (after the initial awe of witnessing "Micky Mouse Clubhouse" three times bigger than they are used to it.) Connor also found the box of empty beer cans...which he was determined to get into, not to mention the shelf of breakable items, and the nice Macbook that was precariously left out within their reach.

Naptime and nighttime were excruciating. They did not want to nap. They wanted to cry. And bang on the TV. The pack n' play was set up in another room, with the creakiest floor imaginable. I spent hours trying to rock them asleep atop an exercise ball, and then figure out where each creaky part of the floor was located, and try to avoid it. I think most of my time was spent in that room. At night they woke up several times, and luckily a couple of times my sister or my mother would hear and come in to help. The first night, however, one of my brothers, who will remain anonymous, created a trying to get the twins to sleep. My sister was holding and shushing Owen. I was on top of the exercise ball, rocking Connor. And in stumbles...the anonymous brother...who was more than slightly intoxicated. He waddled into the room in a confused state....and I say "waddled" because his pants were halfway down, his hands gripping the sides of them, as I assume he was in search of a restroom. My jaw dropped as he stopped in front of me, and gazed down at Connor.

"Awwww...." He stared down at him...for at least a full minute.

I glance questioningly at my sister, who gives me the "I have no clue what to do right now" look, as we are exposed to much more of our brother than we ever wanted to see. Lets just say, we were "Chris"tened that evening. Finally, he comes to his senses (sort of,) and turns around to waddle his way toward the other bathroom....his pasty white butt hanging out in all it's glory. We hear my stepdad come downstairs a few moments later, knocking on the bathroom door, inquiring, loudly, if he fell asleep in there. My sister sets Owen down and decides she'd better help. She guided our brother back to the garage area and the couch. Needless to say, it was the favorite story told around the table the next day.

When it was finally time to head south, we had a new set of adventures awaiting us. A toddler having to go potty...right now...led us off an offramp that, while signs claimed they had gas, food and lodging, had pretty much nothing for miles, except for a lone DNR office. We finally decided to just turn around and see if the DNR place had a restroom....we pulled off onto a dirt driveway and turnaround....and found that apparently this turnaround was meant for jeeps and SUV's...not minivans. We got stuck in the mud. The kids found this quite funny, as I desparately spun the wheels to no avail. I, however, did not. In my sleep-deprived state, my sense of humor left me somewhere between the last chorus of my mother's rap and the boys' decision not to sleep. Luckily, my stepfather did have an SUV...and some rope. So, we finally got out...and stopped at the DNR office. After yanking my toddler out of the van, in her bright pink footed pj's and sneakers, running to the door and yanking on it....I realize that the sign in front of me states clearly that the DNR is closed on the weekend. Brilliant.

I set Irelynn down, and she walks next to me back to the van.

"It's ok, Mommy. I don't have to go anymore."

"You don't?"

"No...I already went in my pants back when we got stuck."


So, we get back on the freeway and about two miles down....see a rest area. Of course. So I stopped, and took out the toddler to put her in a new pull-up....and then realized we were out of pull-ups. Could this trip GET any better? So, I have my 3-year-old squeeze into a size 3 baby diaper (because I was not about to risk driving another few hours with her only in underwear,) and get back on the road.

Having had literally no sleep over the weekend, I began to feel drowsy...I was starting to imagine that I was in a submarine in search of mermaids...when I realized the babies were sleeping. So I asked Jay to please turn off the Backyardigans mermaid episode that we had now watched for the fifth time. We pulled over into a gas station, and as my mom stood there with the kids, I ran in and purchased a 32-ounce Mt. Dew, a 5-hour energy shot...and a bag of M&M's.

We made it home safely. My husband would not be coming home that night. Wonderful. I'm beginning to really hate his job. So, after several more feedings, and hours of rocking, the boys are down, I collapse onto the bed, and vaguely remember my husband arriving home sometime between 4 and 5am, just in time for Connor to wake up...again. Needless to say, I picked up Connor, handed him over to my husband with a bottle, and climbed back into bed.

Hopefully now that I have gotten some semblance of sleep since this event, I will have time to update my blog a little more often. Hopefully.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you made some serious memories..ones you won't forget any time soon! : )