I will state that for the majority of our 3 week road trip the kids were fabulous. Like, really really good. Happy, cooperative, fun. But there is no possible way to get through a vacation like this without a few "moments".
There was an incident involving a bee in the van and based on my kids' reactions it was pretty much akin to having a serial killer in the van. Payton was getting hurt, like, all the time. I got angry while driving and was unable to control the volume of my voice. There was the time that someone (Payton) said, "it's been such a long time since we've done something fun" and I just about blew a gasket.
And then there was the sand tantrum.
Remember my post about Cannon Beach? We had a great time on the sand. The kids were running, playing, shoes off, building sand castles, no cares in the world. But as soon as we began the walk back to the street some kind of switch flipped in 2 of my children (Payton & Anna) and suddenly the sand was killing them. Like, literally causing bodily harm and trauma.
And the thought of putting their shoes back on . . . . that was when paranoia set in.
Jenn led us to a nifty hose and took on the task of spraying off all the kids' feet and shoes. But it was no good. We all know that being wet and sandy is just a part of going to the beach -- we've been to the beach dozens of times! The other 10 children were fine with it, but for some reason these two just flipped. out.
The group started walking ahead and I stayed back with my 2 wailing children. Wailing. Seriously, you are 7 and 10 years old?! I told them, in a surprisingly calm voice, that the group was leaving us, they were being ridiculous (it's called the beach!), and if they wanted any chance at some taffy they needed to start walking pronto.
So we started walking, they were whining and crying, (really it was embarrassing) and I had had enough so I announced, "okay, you both get no candy."
And then . . . . and then. This is where it really fell apart. Payton touched his face and "got sand in his eye". "I'm blind! I'm blind! I'm blind!"
Really, he's yelling "I'm blind" as he wails and stumbles with his arms out-stretched as I drag him down main street. What a sight. People passed by with sympathetic faces, others with concerned faces. But me, at this point I've detached myself from the crazy and I'm just straight-faced moving forward, one child in each hand, making our way towards the candy store (where the group is shopping).
When we got to the store I stood outside with Payton & Anna. They were not getting candy so they were not allowed to go inside. Plus, they hadn't stopped crying so I didn't want to subject the other customers to that. Payton was still "blind", but eventually I convinced him to let me wipe his eyes with my sweater and miraculously he could see again.
So I made them a deal. If you can calm down, and stop this craziness, we can go in the store and you can pick out 5 pieces of taffy. (Conner was inside picking out 15 pieces - the reward for good behavior).
Finally, the cries fell to a few heavy, breathy sobs, then to a whimper, and eventually, miraculously, Payton composed himself enough to go inside.
Anna was still caught up in her emotions. I stayed outside with her and tried to convince her to calm down and come inside, but she spouted off some angry words so I said, "Fine. You stay out here in the rain. I'm going inside. You can join us when you have calmed down and you are ready to apologize."
From indoors I found a spot to watch her through the window (no need to call CPS, I didn't abandon my child). But I did take pictures.
5-7 minutes passed and she joined us inside. Calm now. And she apologized.
So I gave her the green light on taffy.
Immediately Anna turns to me and says, "Can I have some different candy?"
No. The deal was 5 pieces of taffy and that's it.
"But can I have some of those jelly beans."
Anna, I told you that you could come in here and choose 5 pieces of taffy. Nothing else. If you challenge me on this one more time you get nothing.
Short pause. "But can I have . . . . "
Okay, you get nothing.
And then I watched a look of shock and surprise wash over her face as she stood still in her tracks. There were no more words, and she knew it.
So why am I sharing this story? I don't know, other than it was a horrid experience placed smack in the middle of an otherwise great day. Ha! And I felt like it has been a while since I've shared some "real" mothering stories on this blog. I try to keep things positive, but real in this space. I think the last few months with the crazy of getting through the school year, I haven't had the mental energy to share the messy parts. . . . Slap some pictures up there, add some cute journaling, done.
Motherhood doesn't get any easier as they get older. As a young mom I thought it might. But no, it just gets different. It changes. Different battles, a different kind of intensity . . .
At the same time, some things stay the same. It's still possible for a 10 year old to have a huge meltdown in public. I'm still bribing with candy. And I still love them, even when they drive me absolutely crazy!