Sunday, February 27, 2005


(But probably not the kind you expect)


(Come on, you know me well enough by now to know I could never squeeze all seven days of the vacation into one single journal entry, don’t you???)

291 Days to Go

Let me begin this journal entry by mentioning what is hopefully obvious: I love my kids. As much as there are drops of water in the ocean, as many stars as there are in the night sky, that’s how much I love my kids. Now, with that said and over with, let me also tell you that I have never, in my 8 years, 2 weeks and 14 days as a parent, been as upset, disappointed, annoyed, angry, baffled or hurt by their obnoxious behavior as I was this past week in Orlando. While I have never actually *seen* Nanny 911, it's a pretty good bet that had there been talent scouts at Disney World, we would have been cast as the next family.

I know what you must be thinking ….. “Come on, what family vacation wouldn’t be complete without a little obnoxiousness???” No, I don’t mean the late-in-the-afternoon-everyone-is-worn-out-so-a-tantrum-or-two-is-inevitable kind of obnoxiousness that often takes place on vacations ……. or even the sort of “He’s touching me it’s my turn I had it first that’s my seat I called it first she hit me that’s not fair I hate you I hate you double infinity!” kind of moments that I could put a funny twist on and share with the rest of you. Pure and simple, I’m talking about three kids who started in on Day 1 and argued, fought, pouted, whined, complained, bitched, moaned, bickered, and quarreled their way through the Happiest Place on Earth. With each other. With their dad. With me.

As a parent, I am of course accustomed to being cast in the role of villain. In fact, I figure as long as I am thwarting their happiness and making their lives miserable at every turn, then I am doing my job correctly. But never have I been blamed, ruled, judged and convicted as “Totally Incompetent” as many times as I was this past week. I could do no right … by anyone, for anyone. I packed the wrong shoes. I packed the wrong jeans. The wrong shirts; wrong stuffed animals. Forgot to pack a swimming life vest for Kendrie. Went to Wal-Mart and purchased a new life vest, but didn’t buy a Scooby Doo life vest. Doesn’t matter that they didn’t SELL a Scooby Doo life vest, the one I bought was still wrong. According to each kid, depending on the time of day and the location and the axis of the earth, I liked the other kids better and favored them in every way possible. I picked the wrong activities, the wrong restaurants, the wrong snacks, the wrong souvenirs.

Quite frankly, I found the entire week to be exhausting.

I’ve never experienced that level of kvetching before. I felt like President Bush, trying to please the Republicans and the Democrats and the Independents, all at the same time. I failed miserably.

Blaine says I’m exaggerating; that I need to focus on the positive moments that took place. Thankfully, there were many. I don’t think the tale of their attitude is a complete exaggeration, but I’m not going to burden the rest of you with any more specific stories of their obnoxiousness. Scattered amongst the bitching and moaning were moments of joy, bliss and wonder. THOSE are the moments I’m going to focus on …. scrapbook ….. share with you. Hey, consider yourself lucky. By omitting the griping, the journal entries will be much shorter!

I will get on to the thank you’s regarding the moments of happiness in the next entry. For today, I want to thank the people who unknowingly helped me realize, sometimes in moments of complete frustration and despair, that the trip could have been worse.

Thank you to the mom at Guest Services Check Out at MGM Studios whose kid was pitching an absolute fit, for standing there calmly, then turning and giving me “the look” --- the look of camaraderie between Mothers Of Obnoxious Children, that says, but hey, we love them anyway.

Thank you to the mom of those teenagers at Universal, who I overheard say to them, “Would you two knock off the fighting already?” I mean hey, she’s been training her kids for ten years or so longer than I’ve been training mine. If HERS are still fighting, maybe I shouldn’t feel so bad.

And to the mom I witnessed at Islands of Adventure placing her young, screaming, flailing child into his stroller a little too emphatically for my taste ……. Well, if nothing else, thanks for making me feel better about myself for at least not resorting to body-slamming my children.

Thank you to the moms who discreetly turned their eyes and looked the other way when I reached the point of Total Motherhood Meltdown in Suess Landing. I mean really …. how proud can I be that my kids are most likely the first in history to be put in simultaneous time-outs in Who-Ville while I yell at them “that I have REALLY had it this time!”

Thank you to the mom I saw literally dragging her reluctant, hesitant, crying child by the arm, chasing after Tigger with an autograph book at the Crystal Palace Character Lunch … for letting me know that despite my schedules and lists of activities and laminated park maps, that there were still other trip-planners out there who were more inflexible and grimly determined than I was.

Thank you to the couple I watched fighting outside the Haunted Mansion (sorry, but there was really no where else to look) … the couple who are more than likely headed to the divorce attorney’s office tomorrow morning, for letting me know that no matter how annoyed Blaine and I got with the kids, we never took it out on each other in such a snappy, hateful manner.

To the mom who spanked her daughter, really hard, in the Curious George bathroom for playing with the water in the sink, in full view of Brayden and Kendrie and letting my daughters see that I am actually NOT the single meanest mom on the planet.

And finally, to the teenagers I witnessed speak and act so contemptuously and disrespectfully to their mother at Adventureland, and to their mom who just stood there and took the abuse --- I might have spent a good portion of the week (too much!) disciplining my children and correcting their rude behavior, but at least I know they won’t grow up to be as obnoxious as you.

Finally, Proof Positive Moments from the past week that the whole “stars in the sky and water drops in the ocean” comment is true and I really love my kids that insanely much, even though they raised the bar for bad behavior at a theme park:

1) I paid six dollars for a PB&J sandwich for Kellen and didn’t even gripe when he only ate half of it.

2) I not only purchased, but actually **wore** an extremely unflattering fanny pack for six days.

3) I not only allowed, but encouraged them to have ice cream for breakfast, despite Kellen’s comment that he wouldn’t eat ice cream for breakfast because it was unhealthy (this comment made while eating a bag of m&ms at 8am)

4) And finally, the fact that I didn’t beat them or abandon them in Orlando, both of which I seriously considered doing.

I’ll gather my thoughts, peruse the happy photographs that I took, and give you more of the details (positive ones only, I promise!) from our visit in the next entry. For now, it’s back to reality with a clinic visit for Kendrie tomorrow in Atlanta. I hope everyone had a great week in our absence!

Love, Kristie

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