Thursday, July 24, 2014

Diamonds in the Rough

On account of our in-flux housing situation my fivesome has spent the better part of the summer hanging out in Texas with my in-laws. 

I've spent time in Texas before, but never like "surprise, you'll be here for six weeks!" time, and so I've had to do quite a bit of improvising.

You know what's not all that easy when you have three kids under six?  IMPROVISING.

Back in LA I clung to my weekly schedule like a life raft. Some weeks it seemed that a strict adherence to schedule was truly the only thing that allowed me to maintain the smallest shred of sanity.

I ran a tight ship, people, and it worked for us.

But now I find myself in a small and for the most part unfamiliar Texas town where our first three days were pretty much devoted to the not-so-fun activities of:

"Let's make Nana's china dolls fight each other!


"Why are these goldfish in the fountain when they could be having so much more fun in the living room!?!"

So I've been working like a madwoman to fill the dyas for my energetic offspring. I've been running all over town assaulting librarians, nature center employees, and theater ticket takers demanding fliers detailing their summer program offerings. We've hit up olde-Westy towns, we've seen the singing zoologist perform, we've hit up the splash pad, and we've thrown at least six birthday parties for my eldest's favorite stuffed animal.

And it's been fun, and sometimes terribly, horribly un-fun, and sometimes both at the same time.

Take last night's attempt at a "living room campout". 

My boys had been begging for a campout, so we decided to do a trial run by letting them sleep in sleeping bags in the living room.

We set up a comforter tent, told ghost stories and roasted marshmallows on the stovetop.  WHAT FUN!

Until they decided that the blanket over the coffee table wasn't REALLY a tent and that we needed OUR tent. I attempted to explain in my best calm mommy voice that OUR tent was, in fact, on a moving truck probably somewhere near Ohio and was not available.

In response there was a lot of crying and carrying on accompanied by light inter-brother fisticuffs. It wasn't long before I found myself shrieking at the kids to "Get under the coffee table and be quiet already!!!!!" 

Things quickly went downhill, 

"This table tent is too small!" 

"He's touching me!"

"I don't have my toys!"

"Now I have my toys and he's grabbing them!"

By 9pm the super fun campout was in an irredeemable state of disarray. The kids had abandoned the tent. Brother #1 had relocated to the loveseat and Brother #2 had taken up residence on top of the coffee table with a pillow over his head.

I was laying down on the couch, my role at the campout having devolved to simply letting out an angry "SHHHHHH" anytime a camper made a sound of any kind.

Eventually my big guy started snoring and my four-year-old, in spite of his best efforts to "STAY UP FOREVER!" was getting noticeably drowsy as he continued to roll a truck back and forth from his perch atop the coffee table.

As I sat watching him, the motion of the truck got slower and slower when he finally looked at me, his eyes blinking heavily, and reached out his hand to hold mine.

We laid there like that  -- our hands linked in the gap between the coffee table and the couch: My four-year-old, who won't give me kisses anymore no matter how I beg, who resists any cuddles that are not artfully disguised as wrestling moves, and who hops out of bed in the morning before I get a chance to lay down with him and tell him how much I love him. He somehow, on the unlikely night of the disastrous indoor campout, hit some magic moment before falling asleep where holding his Mom's hand and just looking at each other seemed like the perfect thing to do. 

After about three minutes he let go, let out a big yawn and said in a small voice, 

"Love you, Mom."

Then he rolled over and fell asleep.

A perfect moment in a summer full of chaos. 

Which, in my experience, is just how these things go.