Sunday, May 17, 2009

Hurricane A

We just returned home today from visiting my mother in law. Peter's brother, wife and their four kids (ages 2-12) were also visiting. A valuable lesson has been learned. Eleven people (and a dog) is entirely too many people to have living under one roof for any extended period of time. (unless perhaps, if you live in a mansion) It's not like this is the first time we've tried it. Each time we've come away shaking our heads saying "That was not a good idea." But this time my sister in law and I verbally agreed it was too crazy and too stressful and we shouldn't do it again. This won't be a problem.

In relation to the previous paragraph I had a colossal lapse in judgment. I had planned for our family to go swimming on Saturday afternoon. I thought it would be a nice break from the craziness at my mother in law's and also a treat for Miss A who ADORES swimming. What I failed to factor in was the tremendous lack of sleep which is seemingly inevitable when we are hanging with the aforementioned relatives. On these occasions I find I need to adopt a carefree attitude towards bedtime otherwise I stress myself out trying to convince A to go to bed while the house is still buzzing with children AWAKE, HAVING FUN, NOT SLEEPING, without her. Friday night was no exception and Saturday morning came too early.

It all started well enough. Miss A was predictably thrilled to go swimming. It sort of went downhill from there. The waterslide was closed for maintenance. Baby B needed a nap and was all shivery and zombie like. A was obedience challenged due to lack of sleep and that is more disconcerting while doing an activity involving water where you can drown if you are acting recklessly. It became more and more apparent the longer we were there what a terrible idea it had been to go under those circumstances. I was not however, prepared for the finale.

I knew in my bones that when it came time to leave the pool there was going to be hell to pay. I tried all of the usual tricks. The countdown. The explanation. The temptation about all the FUN TIMES TO BE HAD AFTER SWIMMING TOO!!! And yet... I was also tired. Which also translates to being tired of putting up with any more crap. So, when it was time for our 5 minutes in the hot tub before leaving and she waded off back into the pool I was not having it. I counted to 5, no dice so I then physically hauled her off to the family change rooms followed by Peter with Baby B in tow.

It was then that she unleashed the tantrum of all tantrums on us. She screamed for like, 10 minutes straight in a small tiled change room. I am certain that all four of us have suffered irreparable hearing damage. It wasn't just the screaming but the impossible task of getting her dressed while she was still damp and physically resisting with ever ounce of strength she had. Both Peter and I were trapped in some kind of purgatory where we were both incredibly furious and sympathetic at once. She kept repeating "I wanna go in the hot tub!" over and over an over. We seriously began to question her sanity. She was exactly like a very small psychotic person. When the tantrum was nearing the end she collapsed into me sobbing, hicupping and repeating in an exhausted whimper "I wanna go in the hot tub." It may sound funny reading it now but I can assure you it was not funny while it was happening. It was, in fact, terrifying. Not unlike, I imagine, surviving a hurricane.

Afterward I felt horrible wondering if there could have been any way to avoid what had happened. I blamed myself for putting her and the rest of us in that situation. I suppose I will file it under "things not to do when A is incredibly overtired". I have been schooled yet again on the severity of Miss A's temper and I will do my best to prevent exposing her to that combination of unfortunate circumstances again.


bonrhe said...

We have had a slew of experiences like this with various kiddos... mostly LaLa. After you get some distance on the horror-show it gets a little less painful to recall. But there was this one time with LaLa at Bear Lake, when she woke up at midnight, started losing her crap and didn't stop for like, 45 minutes. I can still remember how harrowing that experience was for Dadguy and I, and that was four years ago!

Wooo. Makes me feel icky to even talk about it.

jen k said...

no....moments like this are never funny...even in blog land...i think you handled it like any other parent would, or could...

i betcha next time though, you'll stay in a hotel???
don't worry...i think you're doing a great job raising those 2 beauties!!!

elizasmom said...

Gaaaaah. That sucks, and I totally hear you on feeling simultaneously sympathetic and furious with your kid, because I've been there. Don't beat yourself up too much — it's hard to resist that impulse to fit in just one more activity when you're vacationing.

I think you've totally earned that night off w/Coldplay, by the way!