WTF Tapas

S is all about things she can do when she’s bigger. “Me bigger, me eat gum.” “Me bigger, me go L’s school.” (Yes, she talks like Captain Caveman.) Turns out her fascination with getting bigger extends beyond herself:

“This bowl pink. When it bigger, it red.”

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Before L’s birthday he requested a specific cake:

“I get to have a rock star cake and I can pick the kind! I want chocolate and vanilla, with a little bit of Swiss.”

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L has a habit of hiding contraband in his pants. L also has a habit of not wearing pants. This means that all contraband is poorly hidden in his underpants. Latest thing he’s tried to hide in this manner? A baseball bat.

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I would give my left arm for a fraction of the happy-to-start-the-day-cheer and energy L has. He’s still recovering from jet lag so I’ve been waking him up in order to get him to school on time. This morning I find him deeply asleep sprawled on his bed. I gently rub his back and whisper, “L, honey, it’s morning time.”

His eyes fly open. He grins widely and says, “Well, that was quick!” then leaps out of bed in one bound.

He just can’t be related to me, who wakes up grudgingly and grumpily, and everyone knows not to talk to me until I’ve had some coffee.

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We’re Ba-ack!

We’re home! We made it. A little worse for wear and without our luggage, but home nonetheless. How to write a post that encompasses the last 3 weeks? It’s impossible. So, here are some random things:

  • New Zealand is awesome. Getting there is not.
  • Right now in NZ the summer is waning into autumn, which means that we had perfectly perfect weather. The kind of weather where you can be outside all day in a t-shirt without being too hot or too cold. I can’t tell you the temperatures, because they’re in Celsius and therefore meaningless to me. It was warm enough for the beach, but not quite warm enough to swim, which did not stop the male members of my family from doing so.
  • We spent a lot of our time on the road visiting with old friends and family. New Zealand is breathtakingly beautiful and the kids couldn’t possibly give a smaller crap about the scenery. They can’t be bothered to look up from their Leapsters to take in the view, no matter that the view may be from a death-defying perch on a twisty narrow road overlooking the sea, sheep-dotted hills, and snow-capped mountains.
  • For us, driving in New Zealand is a 2-man job. 1 person actually operates the vehicle, and the other sits shotgun reminding the driver to stay on the left-hand side of the road.
  • On long haul flights children do not sleep. On short flights those same children fall into the soundest sleep possible and need to be roused upon landing. Of course, this sleep pattern is unexpected, no matter how many times it happens, so the children are not outfitted with the necessary pull-up on those short flights. Did S pee a full bladder’s worth on two separate occasions in her plane’s seat? Yes, yes she did.
  • Children will ask “are we there yet?” and “are we in the sky yet?” before the plane has taxied away from the terminal.
  • When asked what his favorite part of New Zealand was, L will say that it was playing on my iPad on the planes.
  • Thanks to my mother-in-law, T and I were able to spend more time alone together than we have in years.
  • Despite being told prior to our sea kayaking outing that we will either encounter a hundred dolphins or none, T and I saw one dolphin. Considering that dolphins are social creatures and generally are not found alone, we figured this dolphin is probably a real jackass.
  • Unlike their sleepy adult counterparts, when children experience jet lag, they want to be awake. They act like crazy amped-up maniacs and cry every 5-10 minutes from 11:30 PM to 3:30 AM. In related news, I experienced no small joy when I got to wake my sleeping cherubs up this morning. It was a lights on, blankets ripped off kind of experience for them.

So there you have it. I’m back online and happy to be here. I’m exhausted and in Xanax detox. I still don’t have my luggage.

 

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Hello From the Other Side

Sorry I’ve been MIA. I don’t have the luxury of spending all day connected to some internet device. (I am having serious iPhone withdrawal. Can I get methadone for that?) Anyway, we have arrived safely in New Zealand. The 31 hour trip over here was actually not as bad as I expected. This is in large part because my expectations were rock-bottom low. But I do need to give credit where credit is due. It’s also because I took Xanax. Kidding. I mean, I did take Xanax and that definitely helped, but the kids were actually pretty good.

On our way!

My fear of L getting arrested for plastic explosives (really silly putty) did not materialize. Neither did my fear of L getting arrested for pretending to have various weapons on board. I guess I can say that all my fears of my preschooler getting arrested were unfounded and we got through many security checks and flights without international incident or any sort of restraints.

Sleeping on the planes was problematic. S did not nap at all during the nearly 7 hour flight across the US. This lead to her being particularly grumpy during our 5 hour layover. Thank God for airport moving sidewalks! Those provided some much-needed entertainment and exercise. On a related note, I’d like to take this time to officially apologize to all travelers in the international terminal of SFO between the hours of 2PM-7PM. I may have given them balloon swords, hats, and dogs to do as they pleased with. And I may have let them run wild. Just a bit.

Confession: the kids were not the only difficult people to deal with during this time. I may have snapped at T saying, “The only words I want to hear from you are ‘How can I help?’ or ‘I’m sorry!’” At this point I decided to take another Xanax.

By the time we boarded the second, (14 hour!) flight it was about 10PM EST. My kids were freaking wrecks. Movies and dinner provided some distraction for a while but then it was time to sleep. We changed them into PJs and I can promise you that my little L walking down the aisle in his Superman pajamas was cute enough to wipe just about any slate clean.

Sleep was hard to come by though. It was hot, uncomfortable and they were just beyond tired. Eventually we got S stretched out on the floor at our feet and L stretched out across the seats with his head in T’s lap and his feet in mine. T and I were super comfortable sitting upright in our seats. (Not.) It was now about 2AM EST. The kids slept in 5-10 minute bursts and needed constant back rubbing and soothing. This went on for 4-5 hours and then we just gave up on sleep altogether. This means that they were awake for waaaaaaaaaaaaay too long. My children normally get 10-12 hours of sleep plus a nap. This was not good.

Amazingly, we didn’t get arrested for grumpiness going through customs. However, we took so long walking from the international terminal to the domestic one in Auckland that we very nearly missed our flight despite our 2 hour cushion. This turned out to be a blessing because waiting would have been a disaster. After a mad sprint to the gate, we were given 3 seats together and 1 seat several rows back in an exit row. Needless to say, I grabbed that 1 ticket and ran for it. Was I sweating and smelly and squeezed between two large men? Yes. Was it better than sitting with my kids? Oh yeah!

When we finally arrived I expected the kids to crash. I wanted to crash anyway. But the kids were full of energy and it was only 8AM local time. Even with the 18 hour time difference, long trip, and no sleep, my kids were ready for a full day. So we took them to the beach.

The fresh air was good for all of us. The kids were ready for bed by noon and we forced them to stay up until about 5:30. We’re now on day 6 and we’re all adjusted to the time difference and have a sort of routine going.

How am I coping with it all? Let’s just say that I won’t have any left over Xanax.