How can I describe today?
30 minutes frolicking in a river; 54 times wanting to rip my eyeballs from my head; 3 times sternly confirming there will not be a third child; 20 times loving being a mum; 20 times wanting to run away to France and change my identity; 38 times swearing under my breath; 5 times swearing out loud. 1 time persuading my toddler I'd actually said a different word.
I'm on vacation, you see. Yes that's right, vacation.
No wait... I'm really on Staycation.
Seriously, who the hell invented the Staycation?
When you have two young kids, planning a vacation is not about deciding which glorious location you'll be visiting, or picturing the blissful days you'll be spending on the beach, or buying an entire new wardrobe of sexy summer clothes and bikinis.
It's about figuring out how you'll get your kids to sit still on a plane or in a car for a period of hours without wanting to strangle everyone with your bare hands or being strangled by your fellow passengers.
It's about working out the logistics of transporting enormous quantities of stuff: fifty thousand diapers and wipes, snacks, clothes x 5 in case they each need to be changed multiple times, a double stroller that weighs as much as an elephant carrying a rhinoceros, the play pen, the toys, the etc., etc., etc.
Therefore, in light of the nightmare disguised as a vacation away from home with two kids aged two and under, we decided to stay home.
What a marvelous idea!
The week started off well enough. We've so far enjoyed a pleasant combination of outings to the park, the splash park, the zoo and other touristy things around the city that we wouldn't otherwise do.
Sounds nice, yes?
Yes. Good. Lovely.
Just one small problem. Matthew has chosen THIS week to induct us, his parents, into a new phase of toddler insanity. I'm talking hell-on-wheels, head spinning, frothing at the mouth, fits of rage. Yes. Tantrums.
But we're not scared.
Undeterred, we packed up early this morning and ventured out to Sandy Beach - a beautiful park, and probably the closest thing Calgary has to a beach.
And as you can see from these pictures, all was grand for a while.
Matthew reveled in lobbing stones into the river.
I basked in the sun with Oliver gurgling happily in my arms.
Matthew found a little friend to play with along the pebbly bank. They shared a dump truck and a shovel, digging for stones and driving the truck up and down the bank.
And then, almighty horror of horrors, it was time to leave the scene and continue on with our walk through the park.
What ensued was a show of displeasure that included screaming, screeching, stomping, throwing, hitting, back-arching, jumping and general tantrum-throwing of proportions never before seen.
We left the park: two adults rushing away as onlookers stared, one toddler in a wagon screaming the kind of scream usually reserved for CSI Miami, one baby still happily gurgling, and one dog, completely bewildered as to why his walk had been abruptly cut short.
Back at home, when all the screaming and hissing had died down, me and J sat down and wondered - what now? What the hell do we do? Where's that damn instruction manual? Do we get strict? Do we use distractions? Do we never ever leave the house again?
HELP! I screamed. Okay I didn't scream but I was thinking about it. Unfortunately we live in the burbs and no one would have heard my screams.
So, we're learning. We're beginning the next phase of parenting: discipline. We're being tested in ways we never thought possible. Pulled and tugged in every way. Stretched and bruised.
And we're learning.
And like most parents, when we say goodnight to our little tantrum-throwers, we kiss them and remember all the wonderful things we love about them and the bad things magically disappear.
And because really how can you stay mad at a kid who's going to bed dressed as a pirate?