Friday, May 28, 2010

Escape from Home

Last weekend we had a 4 day weekend. Monday was the date to celebrate the birth of Queen Victoria.  Friday the kids were off school. 

So, with Husband's back improving and with FOUR DAYS OF NO SCHOOL and with pretty tolerable behaviour from the kids lately and FOUR DAYS OF NO SCHOOL, we thought a night away would do.  Did I mention FOUR DAYS WITH NO SCHOOL?  Have I ever mentioned how bored Jackson gets with FOUR DAYS WITH NO SCHOOL?

We decided to go the a casino.  Well, a hotel attached to a casino.  There are two things that delight our kids about staying in a hotel:

1. hotel pool.





2.watching TV in bed.














And so we splurged.  A hotel with pool, waterslide and a room with two TVs.  A night away would do us all good.

We had a 50 minutes drive to the hotel. About 15 minutes in Husband and I unilaterally cancelled our summer holiday trip (12 hours driving each way) and said we'd send them both to homework camp. I threaten that all the time, but this time we meant it.

They were bickering and arguing and wouldn't keep their hands to themselves even when I yelled and threatened bodily harm and worse: cancelling our trip to the pool.

They levelled off when we got to the hotel, and they mellowed out enough for us to contemplate plans for dinner.  They have a food fair in the casino where kids are not allowed. We debated bringing the food to the room but we decided the out trip to a restaurant would make sense.

We had not even ordered when we regretted our decision. Jackson had only one volume level of speaking, like he was standing next to a guy with a gas powered leaf blower.  His single purpose was to make Sydney laugh and be loud as loud as him, which he easily accomplished.  We asked and threatened and pleaded and begged and ordered better behaviour and all that was accomplished was a simultaneous spike in our blood pressure.

We used liberally these high quality parental statements:

  • "Do you know this hotel is costing more than a year of your allowance?" [note: this says more about how little we pay them for allowance than how much the hotel cost]
  • "We will never stay in a hotel again. Ever."
  • "Why are you torturing us?? What are you getting out of this??"
  • "EAT YOUR STUPID ICE CREAM!!"
We left and told them a trip to the pool was very much in doubt. Husband and I secluded ourselves in the bedroom and tried to claw our way back from the brink of insanity. 

To their credit, they behaved well enough to earn the pool trip and did awesome in the pool.  However, when we were leaving, Sydney pouted, as only Sydney can, that she wanted to see Jackson's fast kicks.  And Jackson was wiped out by the hot tub and it was already past the weekend bed time.

She pouted and then upgraded to whimpering then whining and finally screaming.  Only a threatened timeout in the change rooms brought her back down to whimpering.

Jackson woke up the next morning early. He gamely amused himself for a bit but then hunger kicked in and his mood turned to what can generously be described as foul.  I guarantee that if I spoke to him the way he spoke to us in the vicinity of child welfare officials, they would call it emotional abuse and apprehend him.  I only wish there was a parent welfare agency for my protection.  I would have happily been apprehended at that point.

If only Jackson had adhered to the maxim "speak when spoken to" and remained a silent but hostile island.  But he treated us to a contant blast of vitriole which we all tried very hard to ignore as we sleepily shuffled down to breakfast.

I brought him back from the inferno in the elevator with two magical words. Breakfast. Buffet.

"Jackson I know you will like it for three reasons. One, you can pick all your own food. Two, you can eat as much as you want. Three, YOU DON'T HAVE TO WAIT."

We arrived buffet-land and Jackson started giving orders about where we were going to sit and who was allowed to breathe and Husband just steered him toward steaming vats of fat laden breakfast carbs and all was well with our world.

Sydney slept the entire way home which reduced (but strangely did not eliminate) the friction between them.

Husband and I are going to have to do a lot of yoga to be able to endure a 16 day, 2 province, 4 city road trip this summer.

The only thing worse would be 16 days at home.

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