Sunday, March 29, 2009

Things I Learned on Mini-Vacation, Mixed with a Bullet Summary

• The only reason why Nicole uses the GPS is because she wants to prove it wrong. (She also decided she wants to name is “Janeway.”) It is a bizarre sort of Man vs. Machine struggle for her. Her defense: “I don’t need to prove it wrong, I’m just saying there are better ways to get places.” She doesn’t even need the GPS to get to Northampton, yet she turned it on and told it to go to Northampton and spent the entire trip pointing out its poor directional sense. She scoffed when it told us to take the Cross Bronx and went her own way instead and she second guessed every directive it spurted out. She takes some sort of perverse pleasure in knowing the insider traffic snafus and hotspots in the tri-state area.

• Two children sleeping in the car at the same time is a beautiful thing.

• Two children missing their daily three-hour nap is not a beautiful thing.

• On Friday, we went to Look Park, sight of last year’s nuptials; walked around downtown Northampton; had dinner at Pizza Paradiso and met Auntie Annie at Herrel’s for ice cream (burnt sugar for me, Heath Bar and Peanut Butter Cup mix for Nicole and vanilla and chocolate mini scoops for the girls). We ended the day watching the sunset on Mt. Pholux.

• A king-size bed is so large that anther family might have been in it with us and we didn’t know. We slept both nights with Nicole and on the outside edges and the girls in the football-field-like middle. It was not restful and I am using “slept” in the figurative sense. The girls seem to do okay, but Nicole and I spent most both nights waking at regular intervals. The girls flip flop and turn so much that it is a wonder they sleep at all. The acrobatics they are capable of in a deep sleep astound me. My favorite moments are when Madeline, in the middle of a sleep, just sits up straight, lets out a few little cries, looks around and then throws her body in a complete different direction to sleep. When do we stop sleeping like maniacs? If adults slept like that, we would all need to wear protective gear to bed.

• Now that I am thinking about it, Nicole has hit me several times while sleeping in violent ways. In the morning she claims she thought she was saving me from some giant spider or attacking alien mollusks or a poisonous and mutated octopus. But it sounds like science-fiction excuses for spousal abuse.

• But one of the nice things about sharing a huge bed: At some points in the night, I was touching Nicole, Madeline and Avery at the same time via some very complex, Twister-like positions possible in such a large bed. This may seem silly, but at night, when it is dark and quiet and no one is talking, it is very connecting and comforting.

• On Saturday, we spent the day with Auntie Annie and went to the Sugar Shack for breakfast; the petting zoo; a playground, where Avery learned to slide by herself, under Auntie Annie’s tutelage; Montague Book Mill; Auntie Annie’s house; lunch in Northampton; a little shopping; the cow farm and ice cream and then back to the hotel for swimming and “bedtime.” Exhausting.

• Out of the blue in the middle of the Saturday night, Avery started throwing up. Nicole told me calmly several times to get a towel, and I responded as I usually do: By doing nothing and assuming the deer-in-headlights pose. I panic and even with guidance I find myself unable to react. What it that about? I eventually found my way to the bathroom and returned with a towel. Nicole said that said that in her lack-of-good-sleep delirium and in the darkness of the room, she thought that Avery was choking on a golf and foaming at the mouth. She was remarkably calm for a person who thought her daughter was choking on a golf ball and foaming at the mouth.

• Nicole needs to stop watching anything science-fiction like (golf balls, foaming at mouth, etc.).

• If Nicole brings her golf clubs, she will have neither the energy nor the pocket of free time to go the range. If she doesn’t bring her clubs she will have both the energy and time to play. She brought clubs this trip, which means she didn’t play.

• Annoyingly, the heated pool at the hotel was not-so-heated. So two priority-delivered bathing suits for Nicole and I, the time spent finding the girls bathing suits and the evening planned around the pool play all boiled down to a five-minute swim adventure. Avery really enjoyed it, but was chattering so hard we had to take her out, even though she wanted to stay. Madeline enjoyed sitting on the steps and stomping her feet. The girls don’t know yet what they are missing, but we were disappointed, for them and us.

• Nicole and I have very different stories attached to the song “Pour Some Sugar on Me.”

• Nicole and I are both back on the vacation-home train. We drove around a looked at a few houses and talked about how nice it would be to have a place to go to on the weekends. If we didn’t buy my mother’s house, I think we would have settled on a place already. We love going up there, and the girls really seemed to enjoy it too. They need to be outside running around, in nature. And if we are planning on staying in the city long-term, will we need an escape hatch for the weekends. There are only so many weekends we can impose on friends!

• I am really worried about this spring/summer. It is very difficult for me to take the girls to the playground alone. But spending a summer indoors in out of the question. Last year, it was easy to take them to the playground every day, because all they did was swing and toddle about. And we took walks every day because they were happy to sit in the stroller and just look. But now they don’t just want to stroll, they need to do. But the two of them and just me at the playground is borderline hazardous. They run, jump, slide, swing, climb and in general just pose a physical threat to themselves and all those around them. I can’t be in two places at once. How do others do it? Am I being too overprotective? Do I just need to accept the fact that they will fall? I take them to the age-appropriate playgrounds, and they still seem like toddler deathtraps.

• I normally don’t share the details of dreams because I figure most people don’t care about how my subconscious works, but I dreamt last night that Dan Akroyd told me that he never liked me; that I show up at a black-tie event in a bathrobe; that Don Rickles also told me that he didn’t like me and stole one of Madeline’s toys; that my friend Molly was a Bhutan princess who watched her kingdom burn down; that I had a white Mercedes given to me by my father that turned out to be stolen.

• Three days is not enough vacation.

• Pictured above:

1. Nicole and Avery wore matching shirts. How cute is that? You might have to be in our family to think that is cute. Others might think it’s crazy.

2. Madeline and her crazy hair. Why do I feel this may be the bane of her (and our) existence in the teen years?

3. Auntie Annie making child care seem so easy. Look how she has Avery tucked under her arm. Notice Nicole struggling with Maddie in the back! In her defense, Madeline was in a mood that day. By the way, if you are, say, a single, hot Smith professor who lives in the Western Mass area, I would like to set you up with her. Annie, that is.

4. In a bookstore of 10 million books, Maddie managed to find a “Goodnight” book, like the ones she has at home (Goodnight New York City, Cape Cod and Florida are in her collection). She selects it then backs up into my lap, forcing me to sit, even if I don’t want to. But I usually want to.


K J and the kids said...

Auntie Annie's hot there should be no problems finding her a date.

Sounds like a great time. Vacationing with children is EXHAUSting.

Everyone is more protective than me. and I still feel crazy at the park. :)

Anonymous said...

Would Annie consider a California girl? : ) I'm always in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Leah said...

For years I have lurked and managed not to comment, but the love of the Goodnight book series necessitates one... Where would we be without 'em? Favorites at our house: DC, NYC, Boston, Texas.

Jennifer said...

Leah, did you know they are publishing a "goodnight World" book soon? Alas, not individual countries: The rest of earth is lumped into on book. But something to look forward to!

Anonymous said...

Wish I lived in the Northampton area. Annie won't have a problem finding a hot professor.

Shelli said...

oh for Pete's sake, darling, one of these Mondays, I'll keep Malka home, and bring the wee ones down to you, and we can go to a park, and Malka will demonstrate all of the heart-stopping techniques the girls should know already, but there will be two adults to catch falling toddlers. Or... take the 4, 5, or 6 to 125th. there's an elevator. Or Metro North to 125th - I enjoy that, because then you get a "field trip" in grand Central station. On second thought, do that. it's WAY more fun. And yes, there's an elevator.

S. said...

if you ever feel like doing a vacation "house swap" let me know. We're 30 minutes from Noho, with plenty of nature in the area.
And we're always looking to head into the city.

What sugar shack did you go to? YUM. I love maple sugar season.

Anonymous said...

Your friend Annie is hot, and Maddie looks like Kate Hepburn in that pic.