Sunday, May 1, 2011

Monster Mom

We had a surprise retirement for my dad this past weekend and had decided to make the 5.5 hour drive (give or take...mostly give) home to be there. There were several moments that I almost gave it away in my blog before reminding myself that my dad has my blog downloaded to his Kindle and made the necessary edits. We were supposed to leave Thursday, as the party was Friday night, but hubby's job proved to be a little more time consuming than expected so we left Friday morning...early.

I hate this trip. Just the driving part. (Here's why.) At least I had hubby with me this time. Things should go easier. We stopped and filled the gas tank (heart attack and a whole other blog-rant when I get a chance). We needed to be there in time to unpack, change clothes and get to the party without Kaiden spilling the beans. We were making pretty good time, but it was exceptionally windy and Kaiden's bladder forced us to stop 4 TIMES, and usually right after we passed a rest stop. Each dirt road pit stop we made, I had to get out with him to check wind direction and point him the right way. Thank goodness for boys!

I had been telling Kaiden that we were 'going out to eat' with Papa and Grammie in hopes of keeping the secret. But after we arrived and had changed clothes, Kaiden's lightbulb went on. He caught me in front of the bathroom mirror, "Mom, when is Papa's party?" I proceeded to tell him that it was that night, but we were PRETENDING to go out to eat. I also warned him not to tell Kamrin, because he certainly would not keep a secret. The entire time before leaving the house, Kaiden kept reiterating how he just "couldn't wait to GO OUT TO EAT (wink, wink)." We took separate cars. If the kids acted up, Shawn would take them back to the house.

Long story short, I thought Kaiden was going to blow the whole thing when we entered the restaurant and were headed up the stairs, prominently labeled 'Private Party Room.' My mother had told my dad that we had special permission to eat up there because of the boys (and if you know my boys, this reasoning seems perfectly acceptable), but Kaiden can read. He saw the sign and grabbed Grammie's arm, pointed to the sign and gave her the thumbs up signal. The party was a success, my dad was completely surprised and the kids were behaved. In fact, at the end of the night, the waitress said how well the boys did, and I looked over my shoulder to make sure she was talking to me. Of course, Shawn made a quick escape shortly after dinner so who knows how the night could have ended up?

They were well behaved...that night, but it was downhill from there. The 70ยบ Friday turned into a freezing, gale-forced wind with snow (yes, I said snow) nightmare. We were stuck inside. Shawn actually attempted fishing (true sportsmanship), but couldn't even tell if he had a bite with the amount of wind (so he tells me). The boys fought about EVERYTHING...who was player one on the Wii, whose markers were whose, who got to sit where and whose glass of water that was. It was exhausting. When constantly reminding them of the consequences of their bad behavior, I was met with, "I didn't do anything!" even though I was sitting right there and watched them do it. We decided to leave Kam with Papa while Grammie, Kaiden and I, went grocery shopping. He insisted on pushing the cart and our 10 minute shopping trip turned into 30. Mom and I uncorked the first bottle of wine when we got back.

They fought over the movie to watch. Grammie tried to coax Kaiden into reading her a book. He insisted that he read to only Shawn or I (and Grammie was the only one NOT watching the movie). She thought it would be fun to give the boys a bath in the jacuzzi tub, which is very similar to bathing in Cool-Whip. Suds were everywhere.  They had decided to 'swim' and created tidal waves large enough to spill over the sides. There was a small pool of water on the floor, and the walls had acquired a new white, poofy, polka-dot pattern. While Grammie scurried to wipe up the mess, I shuttled the boys from tub to shower to rinse them of there bubbly hair-dos and beards.

Dried off and smelling like lavender, it was finally bedtime. This seems to be a special bonding time for my mom and it all sounds perfect, until you actually go to bed. Grammie is a light sleeper, like myself, and every toss and turn, slap in the face and leg tossing no matter how large the bed, will have you reaching for the light. Needless to say, Grammie didn't get any sleep.

My mother also wanted to go to church the next morning. I don't enjoy this either. (Here's why.) She insisted that she would be able to take the boys without me. Right.  First, she has to help my dad (who suffered from a stroke and needs assistance) and then to deal with MY two boys...again...riiight. Secondly, I know my mom, and if I didn't go, she has the gift of passive aggressiveness. I know. I have inherited this trait. And my last few hours would be painfully strained. So we go to church. The fighting begins. The boys notice I am chewing gum and insist on having some. 'Insist' being the nice way of saying 'crying, pounding fists and trying to reach their hands in to my pockets'. I cave. On the condition that if it even ONCE leaves their mouth, they are to forfeit aforementioned gum. They agree. Not ten minutes into the service, Kam has a string of strawberry gum linked from his mouth to the tip of the pencil provided in the church pews. Amazing. Kaiden complains he's bored and asks me every two minutes if, 'we're done yet.' Oh joy, we have communion this service as well. Nice leg-stretcher for the boys. My mother takes my dad's arm and navigates him as I herd the boys and keep them moving forward. The pastor hands out the sacrament to the adults and as Kam is passed by, he loudly proclaims, "Heeyyy! Where's mine?!" And Kaiden, who has not mastered the art of whispering says, "Are you really drinking blood?"

My parents decided to meet their breakfast group after church. The ladies at my end of the table try to reassure me that they are grandmas too and I shouldn't be uptight, as they have seen it all. Bless their hearts. But it's always different in hindsight where you can laugh about things than when it's actually happening. While paying the bill, my youngest ran off and I nearly had a panic attack wondering where he was. Never mind the fact that I should have been astounded that he left the building and was able to locate my parent's car in the parking himself! I had to restrain myself from throttling him in front of my parent's friends.

The trip back to Fargo was miserable.  The fighting, the decibel level of their voices, the repeating of the word "fart" over and over again followed by insatiable giggles was more than I could take. They had been warned several times and my jaw hurt from me gritting my teeth. They were too hot, then too cold. I rigged blankets in their windows to block the sun. They punched, pinched and kicked one another. They kicked the back of my chair, played with the windows and got marker on my car seat. They threw pieces of wadded up paper at each other and thought it was hilarious to have a burping contest. Enough was enough. When asked if we could stop for something to eat, I said a resounding, "NO!!" I was then informed that they, 'wanted different parents!' (Hear blood boil and clenching of fists). I swelled to twice my size, I actually took my seatbelt off to turn around and explode, "You want new parents?! Fine!! I'll have your dad pull over right here and you can stand by the side of the road. But with your behavior, no one will want you!!" Yep. That was me. I actually said that. Shawn shot me a sideways glance which told me it was too much but he wasn't about to touch that.

An hour later (and also only an hour away from our destination), they looked like this:

This couldn't happen sooner?!

And guiltily, I thought, "How could I have been so mean? It's a 5 1/2 hour trip and they're young. I've probably damaged them for life. Did my parents ever say things like that to me and my brother? Maybe, but I don't remember. Is that a good thing?" It must not have had an everlasting impact, as they were back to fighting the minute we walked into the house.

The only comfort I have is reading other blogs and know that I'm not alone. We all have weak moments. And I am truly grateful for that knowledge.

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