That was a nice refreshing break that I’m sure wreaked complete hell with the goodwill of daily posting I’d been building here, but it was something I need to gain perspective.
I have been such a schitzo as a parent lately, particularly, of course, with Spenser. When he’s good, he’s fun and smart and funny and everything you could hope for in a kid. But most of the rest of the time he’s just ALWAYS ON. I don’t even want to say he’s bad, because I don’t think it’s that. He’s just a flaming ball of activity and curiosity and irritation and he has to touch everything he sees and he’s always jumping and rolling and oh my gosh it’s just freaking exhausting.
Now, imagine that little ball of energy in a compact hotel room with no place to go and his schedule all out of whack. Like I said before, the parts I worried about the most, the drive and sleeping, worked out okay, but it was all of the time in between that was rough. I think the worst times were toward the end of the day as we were getting ready for bed. With a kid like Spenser the key is to find the right balance between wearing him out enough to make sure he sleeps but not over-activating him turning him into Kid Hulk. We managed that balance successfully on only one night. Oddly enough it was the first night we were there and the night I was worried about the most.
Our schedule Thursday night was pretty relaxed so we got to the hotel and hung around there for a bit before Spenser started crawling up the walls (literally and figuratively). We needed to eat but the kids were in no mood for a sit down dining experience after five hours in the car so we started thinking other options. Luckily we found an outlet mall with a good food court AND an outdoor playground. The weather was beautiful so we all ate together at the food court where the kids could be loud and messy without drawing attention and then we let them burn off their energy on the playground. When we got back to the hotel they fussed and screamed a little bit but fell asleep right around when they normally do at home.
The rest of the nights it was an unholy mess of screaming and spanking and failed negotiations on all fronts. One of the worst nights was Saturday night right before Becky’s marathon on Sunday. Saturday had been a pretty miserable day in total anyway. It was so hot and so humid and we spent most of the day packed into a tiny park with a bunch of other screaming kids and frustrated parents for the kids portion of the marathon. It was such a poorly scheduled and designed debacle that made everyone who was part of it worse for the experience. After the kids were done with their race they wanted to stay around and play on the giant inflatables and the trampolines. The lines were enormous and after one session on the inflatable obstacle course we were so disgustingly hot and crowded that we needed to leave. That set the kids off screaming.
We had a long walk back to the car where we had parked to get the packet for Becky’s race. (This was one of the biggest problems. The kids events and the adult events were almost on opposite sides of the downtown area and with streets closed made it a pain in the ass to get anywhere on foot.) Halfway back to the car the kids fell asleep in the stroller (can I take a minute to expound on how awesome our stroller was for the trip?) so Becky and I stopped in to Subway for a quick bite which was nice. We ate so much crap during the trip that the fresh meals were something to appreciate. Later that night we had the official pasta dinner in a tent that wasn’t as hot and sweaty as I would have expected, but the kids were already starting to show their wear. Spenser entertained people in Fountain Square by dancing in front of an adjacent Mexican restaurant but the night quickly devolved from there.
We tried the routine that had worked so well the couple of nights before, but he was having none of it. After screaming in the room for almost an hour and poking my every last raw nerve, I finally took him out of the room for a walk. We went down and looked at the pool then went to the lobby where they had coloring books. In the flash of a second, this demon seed had transformed into a cute little boy in feety jammies coloring a picture for his mommy at 1am. This is my life with Spenser lately. It’s hours of frenetic keep up with his energy punctuated by brief screaming session when it all goes bad, then followed by these sweet and tender moments when both of our heads clear and common sense prevails.
I know I’m to blame more than he is for this because I’m the one who needs the patience, the calm demeanor and the energy to try a number of creative solutions until I find the one that diffuses that particular situation. But it’s exhausting and he has a special knack for knowing when we are at our weakest and exploiting it. I don’t want to wish away their childhoods and those good moments that come with it, but man, I look forward to the days when it’s not this trying dealing with him.
How are your kids in hotel rooms and on vacation?