Sometimes I pack as if I were headed to Africa for three weeks and not somewhere five minutes from a Walmart. Especially with two toddler-age children who still need everything from booster chairs to pack 'n plays. If I'm already packing the kitchen sink, why not throw in a shade umbrella and six extra shirts? (Two toddlers armed with faucets for noses can cause one to go through an awful lot of shirts in a day).
But I've decided I don't need to worry so much. Packing necessities are now:
Everything else is negotiable.
So it was, after a last-days-of-summer hurrah with family, that I loaded my kids in the car and started the journey back to real life.
Real Life and I are not exactly on the best of terms. But it's his fault, really. If he would come at me gently instead of running at me, waving a sledgehammer and screaming, I might be more amenable to inviting him in. As it was, I braced myself and wished for September 15th so I can have a husband again and someone to help me put the kids in bed. Then I hopped in the car, determined to make record time.
I have a method for driving with small children when David is not around to help: Ignore everything. And I did, until Michael called from the back seat, "Mom, I think I'm going to barf!"
"You're going to throw up?! Quick, find something! Do you need me to pull over? Grab the tray off that booster seat and use that!"
Then I fervently prayed that he wouldn't panic and use the bag of hand-me-down shoes I'd just procured from my sister-in-law or throw up on top of an unwashable suitcase.
After a few ominous burps, he put his headphones back on and settled into watching a movie. Crisis averted via Divine intervention. Leah was already traveling with a fever. I didn't want to add vomit to the mix.
So, our journey continued on without incident until I reached for the can of Pringles sitting in the treat box and realized they were missing. This is when I put two and two together and realized those things I'd seen Michael munching on in the rearview mirror were potato chips - an entire can worth. Upset stomach solved.
Not much later, Michael wanted to get out of his seat to raid the treat box. As we had just narrowly avoided a digestion-related disaster, I refused to let him. This is when he started saying things like, "If you don't let me have a treat I'll never want a treat again!"
Apparently he never graduated from Blackmail 101.
So he didn't get a treat, and his whining progressed to "I don't like my mom," and "My mom is mean," and a couple other things I couldn't hear because the stereo mysteriously kept getting louder and louder. Suddenly, I had an urge that couldn't be suppressed. I committed a cardinal sin:
I turned on Christmas music.
It was about the time Brian Stokes Mitchell was singing about sages leaving their contemplations that Leah woke up and yelled, "All done!" Then her head flopped over and she went right back to sleep. I must say, I do appreciate the sleepy factor associated with a fever. Nothing like a little (non-gastroenterological) illness to take the edge off of kids trapped in a car.
And I needed the peace and quiet. Especially because, an hour from home, I got smashed by a splitting headache and what I assumed were traveling-related aches.
Nope. I'm sick. And so is Matthew... again.
Come on, Real Life. The babies have only been to nursery one time. One. And it's summer. It would be nice if you could lay off the illness for awhile.
Also, get rid of the sledgehammer.
It would do wonders for your image.