Steve, Jack, and I took a road trip last weekend to Allentown to visit Steve's parents, Bill and Diane. By the time it was over, I think we were all completely worn out. Time for the proverbial vacation from the vacation.
The drive there was a lot of work. Jack really never got the message that little kids love the car and usually fall asleep. Instead, I sat in the backseat with him and did my best to entertain him for the four hour drive. We sang songs, played with Roary, and looked for cows out the window. Then, Jack was no longer amused by that, and I was honestly too worn out to do anything more, so it was time to bust out the heavenly portable DVD player. Jack and I watched a Sesame Street alphabet DVD (featuring Stephen Colbert!), then The Lion King. We didn't get to town until Jack's bedtime, but despite that, Steve's parents thought we should all go out to dinner.
Let's think about that for a minute, shall we? Behold, the potential pitfalls:
• Jack is a two-year old.
• It was bedtime.
• Jack had just been cooped up in a car for four hours.
• Jack's behavior at restaurants is a roll of the dice.
Steve and I remembered our important resolution, which is I am in charge and I know what I'm doing. We told them that we most certainly would not be going out to eat, and asked them to pick up some sandwiches for us.
The next day was filled with similar challenges. The B&D had planned for us to go out for breakfast and for Diane's daughter and her family to come over for dinner, but didn't have anything else on the agenda. Jack tends to get bored and destructive when faced with an activity-free day at our house, despite the fact that it's filled with toys. The B&D's house is not only not filled with toys, but it is instead filled with breakable ceramic objects. And not just any breakable ceramic objects, but ones shaped appealingly like Mickey Mouse. And, bonus, Jack refused to take a nap. Steve and I worked our butts off trying to keep him entertained so he wouldn't have a gigantic tantrum and start chucking Mickeys at the wall.
The other kids arrived, thank Yoda. The littler ones had fun playing with Jack and immediately opened the drawer in the coffee table Jack had been playing around all day, revealing it to be full of crayons and coloring books. Don't you think that maybe that was some information that I could have used?
Once the visit was over, it was time for another long car ride (this one at least broken up by a visit to Boyd's Bear Country). At home, it became clear that Jack was pretty stressed out about the whole thing. He did not want Steve and me to be out of his sight, apparently worried we'd leave him. Jack and I were watching Dora (the TV was my friend), and Steve went outside to get a ladder. Jack completely flipped out, crying, "Daddy! Daddy!" and "Jack coming! He coming!" We had to reassure him several times that no one was leaving Jack anywhere and that we are a team -- Mommy, Daddy, Jack, and Roary, and that we stick together. Even still, he was incredibly touching and prone to tantrums at the drop of a hat.
I am completely worn out and somehow managed to gain three pounds over the weekend. I need a nap.