On The Road Again

I wanted to write a couple of informative and useful pieces about surviving our road trip and camping with small children but I have been kind of busy preparing for and cleaning up after each trip so it probably isn’t going to happen. I never claimed to be responsible or informative. Look anywhere on any bio I have written, you’ll see.

We did survive both trips but possibly only because they were short. We stopped at the biggest truck stop in the world and posed for pictures in semi trucks, mostly for Sharkboy’s benefit.  Little S had his first of many outdoor, roadside diaper changes. We saw the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile as we crossed the state line and a quick Facebook poll confirmed that was, in fact, a fortunate sign. My cousin’s wedding was beautiful. It was outside on a perfect day at a ski resort. The boys displayed excellent behavior right up until dinner time when they started getting hungry and restless. Note to self: Bring more snacks. Little S heaved milk all over The Barkeep so we left shortly after the cutting of the cake. We went back to our hotel, changed into pajamas and comfortable, non-barfed on clothes, and went out for ice cream.

Seeing the Wienermobile as you cross the state line is either a sign of good fortune or that the Wienermobile is just leaving the state you are entering.

In the morning we visited local caves, which amused my mom since she clearly remembered my intense hatred of caves. I did not remember until we were about to start our journey into the earth and then it came rushing back that I was terrified of cramped, dark spaces and slippery stairs over hot lava. She swears she did not take me in a hot lava cave, ever, but I still see it in my mind and I was suddenly positive we would have to carry the boys over hot lava on slippery steps so I started getting a little sick. Then I realized getting the boys over hot lava would be nothing compared to trying to drag Beauty over it. We might have to sedate her. My children are amazingly strong willed. It will fare well for them in many situations, but not all.

the reality of co-sleeping in a hotel

There was no hot lava, though, just a lot of cave bacon and humidity. It was a good time right up until it wasn’t anymore, which was right about the time Sharkboy pooped. There is nowhere to change a diaper in a well preserved cave and this one was awful. It was obviously painful and he was getting more and more agitated as we walked. The last 5 minutes before being released into daylight he just cried. We changed him immediately and his mood changed just as quickly. Everyone had fun excavating rocks and fossils in the giant sandboxes outside of the cave, especially the girls, and Little S showed his first signs of being a collector. He found a crystal and held on to it almost the entire time we were there. When he did drop it he would dig until he found the right one again. I ended up buying it for him because I’m a sucker.

You know how you look back on a trip and remember one defining moment? I will always remember this trip as “the time Sharkboy started yelling in the restaurant that his butt hurt” and I will laugh every single time even though the poor kid was definitely in pain. My kids almost never get diaper rash and when they do I just use coconut oil and it clears right up, but this one was terrible. We went to Wal Mart and investigated every single kind of ointment and cream. They were pretty much all variations of the same thing. Zinc Oxide in varying percentages. I finally settled on Desitin Maximum Strength because it was 40%, the highest by far. I can’t stand the smell of Desitin but I also can’t stand my baby boy crying and being miserable, especially on vacation. The girls helped me change diapers and we were on the road again in no time.

I will probably always remember this camping trip as “the time Grandma drank vodka lemonade straight from the jug” but our camping trips tend to blend together because they are always in the exact same spot, usually on the exact same weekend, Father’s Day. I suppose it might also be recalled as Little S’ first camping trip, but no, Grandma drank vodka lemonade straight from a jug. You don’t forget that.

My whole family camps together one weekend every summer. We take over a big oval of land right by a small playground with our tents and kids and coolers. Friends are welcome to join us and they do. The lake has paddle boats, a beach and a skating rink. We have been camping there since I was a kid, before they had showers and toilets that flush. Maybe that is why I am so good at peeing outside. (Not to brag but my sister in law and I have shirts that say, “been there, done that, peed on it”.) There are still only 2 modern bathrooms in central areas so I still do a lot of peeing outdoors. I am not a fan of outhouses. We missed the rain and brought the sunshine this year. No one cried that their butt hurt, no one threw up watermelon and no one got a fish hook in their foot. I call that a successful trip. My brothers and their friends took the older kids skating after drinking all day, the grown ups, not the big kids, and there was a lot of good material there if you want to hear about straight, grown men holding hands or falling on their asses. No? Okay, just know that it was funny. Goldilocks got pretty far in the limbo considering she was skating under with her 6 year old cousin. Little S found another treasure he couldn’t let go of, this time it was a shell in the rocks at the playground. I saved it for him. A hoard has been born. Two, probably.

The Barkeep did not get a Get Out Of Jail Free Card for Father’s Day, unfortunately. We had a lot of teardown to do before we could go boating and play at the beach. He did get the Bear Grylls ultimate survivor knife that he hinted he wanted by saying, “I really want this,” and ladies, learn from that. men don’t use hints because they don’t get them. (That’s a generalization and I know it, so no angry messages, boys.) He also got a whole lot of ethically and locally grown pork. Noms.

Because we have enough steak.

I do have some advice. You know that wonderful campfire smell? It turns nasty the minute you get home. Be prepared to do laundry before you even sit down. That and a general  “be prepared” are my only nuggets of wisdom to pass on, though no matter how prepared you are something will happen you could never predict. No one expects the Spanish Inquisition, raging diaper rash or heaved milk.

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Aside

What Dads Really Want For Father’s Day – A Mom’s Point Of View

What We Really Want For Mother’s Day: Batsmoke was quite popular on Facebook with the moms but not so much with the dads, it seems. (Some dads, other dads were actually the ones sharing it! Thank you.) Yes, I stalk my Facebook shares and read their comments. It’s like an addiction, don’t judge me. I know I should wait and post this in June but the time I spend indoors, near a computer, is dwindling daily. I am a stay at home mother and childcare provider. Sunshine and a big back yard are my two best friends. I have something like a farmer’s tan already, except I call it a provider’s tan. I have lines from flip flops, board shorts and modest neckline tank-tops. That’s a lie. I apologize. On one hand, I want to be honest, but I also want you to think I’m the most awesome caregiver ever. I wear skimpy tank tops when I take the kids out so I won’t have terrible tan lines. They say the truth will set you free but I feel about the same. Anyway… See, the sun is already affecting my writing. I’m all scrambled. June. I won’t be blogging much. So, this one is for the dads to pass around on their special day. Bear with me and my social generalizations, please. I know there are a lot of stay at home dads and moms who work outside the home, too, but it’s much easier to write from one perspective- my own.

You can only buy so many dragon figurines, neck ties, grill accessories, witty t-shirts and such before even you get sick of them. Dads are difficult to buy for. Most men just buy the things they want and need. In their defense, and falling off the feminist bandwagon once again,  this is often because they have a much shorter list. You can’t go wrong with a quality steak, a night out doing something he enjoys or a massage from a professional, but I think there is something higher on his list.

I think that Dad would like to come home and not be in trouble for something, or if he is in trouble I think he would like very much to flash one of these puppies and have it end abruptly. I go to great lengths to not be a nag. By “great lengths” I mean I attempt to count, take deep breaths and meditate away my nagging feelings, but I have to admit sometimes, “I slipped in the cat puke you didn’t clean up and fell face first in your dirty laundry,” just slips out before I can strike a yoga pose.

I’m not a control freak. If I were, I would not have time to blog. That being said, I do have a routine, a system, a way of doing things to keep everything running smoothly in the house that chaos built. I communicate these routines and their minor changes often. I have no idea why. Instead of a lengthy and unnecessary diatribe I will just say that the dad in our house, like dads in most houses, needs reminded of the routine more frequently than I am currently keeping up with. I’m certain he knows this, I tell him often. Yet I am also just as certain he would like to duct tape his “get out jail free” card to my mouth sometimes.

Then there’s the broken stuff. For us, it’s half the house, literally. I would like the addition finished. I would like to take all this junk and spread it out across the finished house. I’d like the dryer to stop squeaking. Ya know, I might just pass him a card on that one, I bet I can figure it out. I’d like our screen doors to make sense and not create a maze on the front porch. Just little things, well, and that half of a house. I’m sure he’s tired of hearing it, even when I dial down, count backwards from ten and say it in a calm voice.

I think dads would like to come home to Batsmoke almost as often as we’d like to use it. I think we should propose some sort of trade. Dad takes the kids at least one night a week while Mom disappears in a puff of smoke. She returns slightly tipsy to a mostly clean house with safe, happy, sleeping children who may or may not have followed their usual routines, but she does not comment on or question Dad’s methods. Dad, meanwhile, enjoys a beer without a single word of nagging about anything, even the laundry.

Do you think it will work? Me neither. Get him one fo these instead.