Oregon Trails (Part Four)

Yesterday, I blogged about the most laughably catastrophic Mother’s Day I will ever have (hopefully).  Today, the story continues with my final full day in Oregon.  As far as disasters go, it was kind of a light day.

Day 4: Monday, May 14

I don’t even remember what time the kids woke up on this morning, which means it probably wasn’t 3:30 a.m., thank gawd.  And Ell-Bell was vomit free for 20 hours at this point so I was pretty sure the puke fest was over.  It was going to be a beautiful day!

We packed up quickly and checked out, because we would be staying at a hotel near the Portland airport for our final night of the trip.

I made my way over to my sister’s bright and early so that I could say goodbye to my brother-in-law before he left for work.  As soon as I got there, things felt oddly frosty, and I immediately regretted coming over so early.  It was clear that something was up and my sister was in a bad mood, so I figured she was just tired of entertaining.

About an hour into the visit, K-Man — who had refused the cereal breakfast offered to him, and who was generally anti-eating the whole trip — decided that he really really REALLY wanted to eat some goldfish.  I was all about him eating anything, so I said sure.  At home, he’s allowed to roam free with his goldfish because we are a bunch of messy fucks.  But since we were visiting and I have at least one ounce of common decency, I insisted he eat his goldfish at the table.  Apparently, this offended/enraged K-Man to his three-year-old core.  He lost his mind.  For about twenty minutes. He was rage crying on the floor, kicky, with hot tears flowing down his face and drool pouring out of his mouth.  My sister tried to be helpful, but there wasn’t really any helping the situation.  (I will say that her insistence on discussing what parenting books say to do in this situation was less than welcome, but it was coming from a good place.)

(Let me also say, as an aside, that my son K-Man is actually a very sweet, awesome, adorable three-year-old.  This trip makes him sounds like a 24/7 nightmare, but he’s not.  Exhaustion and lots of change can certainly eff a poor kid up).

At some point, the rage cry was finally over, but K-Man had abandoned any effort to eat his goldfish.  So he was still in a state of near starvation.  Eventually, he ran up and asked me for eggs and pancakes.  I knew that my sister had both items in the house, but I didn’t feel that comfortable volunteering her food to him.  Finally, I asked her if I could make him some eggs, and she said yes.  So I told K-Man I was going to make him eggs, but not pancakes.  He wasn’t cool with that.

“I want eggs AND pancakes!” He pleaded.  I wasn’t in the mood for another meltdown, and honestly, the only objection I had to giving the kid pancakes was that they weren’t mine to give.  So I sheepishly turned to my sister and asked her if I could make him some pancakes, too.

My sister hesitated, looked annoyed, and finally said, “well, yeah, but you CAN say no to him.”

Uggggghhhhhh.  Shut. Upppp.  Up until this point, I was trying very hard not to think about how my kids’ unusual behavior reflected on my parenting,  but this particular jab left little to the imagination.

I turned away, rolled my eyes, and started making K-Man some pancakes.

As the day wore on, I was really ready to not be around my sister anymore.  And then the straw broke the camel’s back.  We were sitting around chatting, and she casually brought up what had happened the night before.  You know, when I left dinner early because my kids were in the middle of two distinct and interminable meltdowns.

She went on to tell me that she was actually mad at me about it.  She was Mad.  At me.  I was completely shocked.  I didn’t understand.  Why was she mad?  She elaborated that it was supposed to be our special celebratory Mother’s Day dinner, and that I had ruined it by walking out.  Instead of celebrating the special occasion, everyone was thinking about me and I guess feeling guilty that I couldn’t join?  Honestly, I don’t even know.  All I know is that this revelation totally sank me and I started crying again.

My sister thought I was crying because I felt bad, so she started rubbing my back.  I let her, but I was actually crying because I was frustrated and angry.  Where was her empathy?  Did she not understand that, at this point, I was life-ing at about 5%?  Why else would I have made a scene and walked out the of the restaurant?  Was I really supposed to be thinking about anyone but myself and my two kids in that moment?

Honestly, I can understand why she might be mildly upset about my giving up and walking away from the dinner.  But I can’t understand why she had the need to tell me about it.  Not in my fragile state.  I apologized anyway because I didn’t want to prolong the conversation, and my sister was all, “Good, I feel better getting that off my chest.  I don’t believe in holding things in.”

At that point I volunteered to take my kids out for a drive to give my sister and her son some quiet time together.  I could not get out of there fast enough.  After a short car nap for K-Man and Ell-Bell, I stopped in at my mom’s and hung out with her for a while.

The visit was actually really pleasant.  K-Man and my mom’s dog started to get along and were super cute together.  And my mom was suddenly really social and grandmother-y towards my kids, and I realized that she really just shines better in smaller settings.  So I was able to let go of some of the resentment I was harboring towards her.

My tiny happy bubble burst (of course) when Ell-Bell up and barfed all over me again.  Goldfish and apple juice this time.  What the heck? It had been more than 24 hours since the last puke! Why was this still happening? Would I ever stop smelling like vom? And what would I do if she was still barfing on our long plane ride tomorrow?  Halp!!

After a few hours with my mom, we all met back up with my sister at a playground.  It was after 4 p.m., and we were in Oregon, but I put a little sunscreen on K-Man anyway, because that child has the complexion of a ghost.  I swear he was out in the sun for probably 20 minutes combined, but still walked away with a burn on his arms, cheeks, and neck.  Mom fail # 2,894,567.

As evening approached, my mom, my sister, my kids and I all piled into the small car to head to Portland.  They were going to drop us off at our hotel and say goodbye there, because I had a 6 a.m. flight the next morning.

Right before we got to the Portland hotel, we stopped for some McDonalds.  And as soon as we all opened and started eating our food, guess what happened? Yes, that’s right, Ell-Bell threw up.  Again.  All over my sister’s car, the borrowed car seat, etc., etc.  — you know the drill by now.  We pulled over off the highway for another baby wipe clean up (I’m officially an expert, by the way), and then enjoyed the rest of our dinner all smushed into that vomit-scented sedan together.

After we got to the hotel and said our goodbyes, I quickly got to work readying Ell-Bell and K-Man for bed.  I started a bath and then stripped both kids down.  And then I realized the bath was scalding hot so I waited for a while before putting them in.  And like an idiot, I did not re-diaper Ell-Bell.  So of course, she ran from corner to corner of the room, diarrhea-ing all over the hotel carpet.  Like a sick dog.  I chased after her and wiped up sick poop pile after sick poop pile, thanking my lucky stars that at least the carpet was dark.  Honestly, I almost took a picture of the crime scene, but then I figured that was a bridge too far, even for me.

Eventually I succeeded in bathing the kids and tucking them into bed.  Ell-Bell giggled and flailed and cried and refused to go to sleep until after 9 p.m., but that was just par for the course at this point.

I showered, re-packed the suitcase, made sure the diaper bag was fully stocked, and then I went right to sleep.  I was going to have to wake up at 3 a.m. to start the ball rolling for our 6 a.m. flight.

I know what you’re thinking.  Is there any chance that I made that 6 a.m. flight?  Check back tomorrow for the final post of my Oregon Trails.  You won’t be disappointed.

Until next time,