I was on vacation.
Specifically, I was on the best vacation I have ever taken in my entire life; including (after judicious consideration) that time my father took me to Disneyworld for my eighth birthday. We went to [edit: Tyler Place in] Vermont and it was amazing. As I announced on Friday: "I have never had so much fun and..." I held up my hand as Patrick opened his mouth, "I DON'T CARE whether you or you or you or you agree."
Not that the rest of the family didn't enjoy themselves; they did. Every morning at 8:30 a delightful woman named Barbara showed up at our cabin to collect Caroline and Edward and wheel them off for breakfast followed by five mommy-free hours of snacks, songs, swimming, lunch and the occasional boat and/or hay ride. Patrick joined a cadre of six and seven year olds for woodworking and fishing and rock climbing and nature walking and general whatnoting (he also was breakfasted and lunched, although as he tells the story he ate nothing but pineapple and bread for seven days - like I care.) Having disposed of the children Steve and I would roll up to the inn where there were all kinds of good things to eat. On the first day I ate ten pieces of bacon. Then I gave the matter some thought and returned to the buffet for six more. We mini-golfed. We shot arrows. We did a low ropes obstacle thing that was surprisingly fun despite a rocky start (team building began with a trust circle where you close your eyes and flop backwards and - without naming names - SOMEONE, SOMEONE who I really should have been able to trust dropped me. but I forgive) and an undignified ending (to scale a twelve foot wall Steve and an accomplice threw me into the air without first checking to see if anyone was ready to catch me - they were not, I dangled like a participle.) I took three naps on three successive days that each lasted over two hours and for the first time since the twins were born I feel like I have actually gotten enough sleep. And if there was anything nicer than watching Barbara leave with the twinkles in the morning it was knowing that she would be coming back at 5:30 in the evening to take them off to dinner before returning to put them to bed while I shamed myself during karaoke night.
We went to camp and, like I said, it was the best vacation ever.
In no particular order:
- It never ceases to amaze me how long it takes me to get one family ready for a week's vacation. I literally spent all day, every day the week before we left getting organized and packed. I had a four page list of things I wanted to bring, especially Patrick's passport and birth certificates for the babies so that we could take advantage of being so close to one of my favorite cities in the world and go to Montreal for a day. Oh how I love Montreal. So it was disappointing that I remembered everybody's travel documents but mine. I was bummed about this for the first half of the trip but Patrick later crossed the border by boat and he assured me that the water on the Canadian side looked exactly the same as the American water, so I wasn't missing anything. I told him, yeah, but Canadians themselves are seven feet high and purple so it really was a shame we didn't see any. Not to mention the fact that every street corner in Montreal has racks filled with free chicken pot pie. He is uncertain as to whether or not he believes me.
- It then took me two full days to unpack and do laundry.
- JFK has got to be the worst freaking airport in the entire world. OH MY GOD. We flew out with a connection through Detroit and although it was a horrible hour of the morning (we left here at 5:30 am) the trip was surprisingly bearable. The return through New York, however, was a misery. They kept putting us on little shuttle buses and letting people afflicted with both vertigo and a death-wish zip us under the wheels of massive, taxiing 747s. Since Steve had the brilliant but only marginally effective idea of strapping car seats on either end of our stroller - picture if you will a six foot long stroller with full-sized car seats fore and aft - we could only move in one direction and we took up enough room for a family ten times our size. As an aside, we opted to bring the car seats with us on the plane. This was less in deference to keeping the twinks safe and more in hopes they would recognize the futility of even trying to escape (looking at you, Cypress Caroline) and just sleep. It mostly worked, too, so the embarrassment of pressing through airports like a circus caravan was worth it.
- Edward's eyelid eczema is doing much better with the Aquaphor, thank you. Also, weird as this sounds, I think the multiple trips to the chlorinated pool really helped him. His arms and legs are much better.
- Patrick got accepted as a Davidson Young Scholar. This is a nonprofit out of... uh, I don't know... not here... Utah? no Nevada... that provides educational assistance for kids like Patrick. I'm very pleased. We like his school and want to keep him there but we needed some help figuring out how that could work and I think Davidson will be able to provide this.
- Edward made a friend at camp. I don't know why I think this is so amazing and cute, but I do. Every morning they would go do stuff at the toddler playhouse and Edward would seek out a little boy named AJ so they could push a rocket car together. Caroline, meanwhile, would scout the perimeter, dancing her little Cricket dance (on her toes, shoulders wiggling) and try to climb out the window.
- Patrick's favorite part was the fishing. Much to my surprise Patrick is turning into quite the outdoorsman; all raspberry-picking, lichen-discussing, mushroom-hunting and small mouth bassifying. I asked if he had made any friends in his group.
"Oh YES," he said. "There's this one kid that I just love."
"What's his name?" I asked, pleased.
"I don't know. Look we're just here for the week; it's fine. Did you make friends?"
I thought about the low ropes group that objectively critiqued my centers of gravity as they decided the best way to turn me sideways and cram me through a hole.
- Patrick continues to be healthy, knock wood. His pediatrician has given him a month to be fever and -itis free or... actually I don't know what the "or" is. Tonsil removal? Another round of IV antibiotics? I just know that I keep prodding Patrick's neck and that I stick a thermometer into his mouth every time he opens it (not really. ok. yes. really.)
- Edward was given his first pair of sunglasses and now he wears them all the time. I mean all of the time that he is not holding them in one hand and gesticulating with them like a professor. Like a cool professor. A professor of jazz, maybe.
- It is becoming clear to me that Caroline has an addictive personality. She tried goldfish crackers for the first time at approxiately 3:10 Sunday afternoon. By 3:28 she had grabbed both of my ears, pressed her nose against mine and hissed, "FFFFFFFFFSSSSSSSSSH! FFFFFFFFFFFSSSSSSSSSH!" I would say they were like crack but that's kinda an insult to crackheads. Then there is her music. I cannot pinpoint the exact moment that Caroline decided she needed music playing at all times but she has taken over Edward's music player (fair trade for Eardeer and Legdeer I suppose) and it is hard to get her to let go of the damned thing.
Patrick dressed them all today.
This is the Salute to Edward version.
Note that she moves but the music thing remains firmly in hand. The entire time she had "A You're Adorable" on loop. God help us all.
- At the beginning of this post I was heading toward some specific question. Something that I have been meaning to ask. Now I have no idea what that was. Damn it. Any questions for me?
- I missed you and I hope you had a nice couple of weeks.
- An amusing/disturbing aspect to Edward's sunglass obsession is that he still has the iris cysts that (we think) make it difficult to see when the light changes. So as soon as he gets his sunglasses on he almost invariably careens into a wall. Oh, and he puts his fat hand up and says, "EYE!" He did this to me today and I said, "Eye? Yes. The glasses are on your eyes." And he put his palm into my face and repeated "Eye! Eye! EYE!" And then I realized he wanted me to slap his hand: "High five!"
He's going to be the cool one, I just know it.
PS Yes, the Tyler Place. Loooooooved it. In fact, I think I am in love with it - as I keep thinking about it and I wonder if it is thinking of me... . As far as I know they have a few openings later in the summer so if the idea of ditching providing stimulating summerfun for your children while you nap compete in the mini triathalon appeals to you then by all means give 'em a call. Two caveats: it is not cheap by which I mean it was expensive (and no, we could not really afford it this year) and if you go and love it so much that you tell everyone you know and then there is no room for me next year I shall track you down, create a trust circle and drop you.