On the first night here, after being in the car all day and then grocery shopping, we decided to order a pizza and bring it down to the pool. It was a little after eight, and just getting dark, when we made it down there. We rationalized keeping them up late with the fact that they had been couped up in a car for almost two days.
There are three pools in our complex, but there's a photo of the one we were swimming in at left. There are no stairs, just a slightly inclined ramp that leads in and out of the shallow end. (I snapped this picture earlier today, but normally people don't really camp out there like these ladies are doing.) Anyway, I stayed in the low end with Liam and Bill headed to the deeper end with Will.
Liam's not really much of a fish. I mean, he doesn't hate the water or anything. But he'd much prefer to be running circles around the pool rather than swimming in it. The inclined ramp at the shallow end gave him the perfect exit strategy. We'd head into the pool with me holding his hand. He'd then demand independence by whining-- and when that didn't work, screaming. (I'm such a sucker for the screaming thing.) I'd drop his hand and he'd pretend to be satisfied for a few moments, but once I sat down in the water or turned my head for a second, he was off.
Out of the pool. Heading fast towards the deep end or standing clumsily on the flimsy lounge chairs or stealing some guy's flip-flops or on his stomach trying to lower himself into the nearby jacuzzi. In the water. Out of the water. In the water. Out of the water. Chase. Chase. Chase. Me calling out, ineffectually and like a crazy person, "No running...", "No, Liam...", "Come here, Liam..." or my personal fave, "Boo boo's, Liam, BOO BOO's..." Him smiling and laughing and completely unfazed. That is, until he caught sight of his older brother who was jumping in the pool on the other end.
Jumping in?! Oh, I could just see the wheels turning in his little head. To his credit, he showed some serious toddler intellect when he headed for the section marked "1-foot". He yelled out, in toddler-ese, "To infinity... and beyond!" and made the leap. I was right there. Saying no at first and then realizing I was just wasting my time. Each time he jumped, I offered my hand-- and each time, I was met with a "NO!" I was spotting him the entire time, but it was still giving me serious anxiety.
Will had seen us from across the pool. And for those of you who don't already know, Will just thrives on toddler chaos. One of the reasons he loves having a little brother is that he feels that it gives him the license to act like a two-year-old and he just couldn't wait to join the party.
So now, they're jumping in together. And when that got boring, Will started climbing on me. And if I didn't know better, I'd suspect that the two of them were in cahoots because it gave Liam the perfect opportunity to escape again. So now I'm chasing after a two-year-old and dragging a five-year-old behind me. The two of them are laughing hysterically and energy-wise they are just feeding off each other. Ramping each other up more and more by the minute.
So now I'm having visions of someone slipping on the cement. Or falling into the deep end. Or cracking their head open on the side of the pool. Or even worse, the trifecta of slipping on the cement and hitting their head and falling into the deep end. And then it hits me. Where is Bill?
Okay, so Bill will deny this I am sure. But I assure you that I am not lying when I tell you that he was in the deep end. Chest deep in water. Playing with Liam's plastic blue shark. The one that squirts water like a bath toy. He was just floating there, squirting Mr. Sharky and all like "la la la la la la la la la la...". And then, he looked up and caught my glance for just a second.
Anyone who's been married long enough with a kid or two knows the look I am talking about. It's the "I am seriously about to lose my shit and if you want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem then you're going to need to step it up real quick" look.
Within minutes, we were drying off and eating our pizza.
There's a learning curve to traveling with kids. I don't know why I continue to forget.
Hey! Great idea, honey! Let's take our over-tired, over-stimulated, under-nourished kids to the big, giant pool in the dark. Wow. That's just going to work out awesome!
And it was totally my idea. It wasn't the kids' fault and it wasn't Bill's fault. (Although, that Mr. Sharky story is priceless.)
We've been here for four days and we've had some really great times at the pools since that first night. Will is getting to be a great swimmer-- jumping in, surfacing and swimming back to the wall on his own. And Liam is getting more and more used to the water. His confidence is growing and he's been staying in the pool for longer periods of time. (Well, like five minutes at a time, but you know, I'll take it.)
They're swimming, smiling and happy. And 85% of the time they're not driving us crazy. Just as long as we remember to keep them well-rested and well-fed. Funny how that works.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
So we got back to the condo and put the kids to bed. We popped open a giant bottle of wine and sat down on the couch. "The 40-year-old Virgin" was on television. We sat there, cuddling together. Relaxing and feeling the wine take the edges of two days of driving and kid-juggling. Catherine Keener and Steve Carrell were just getting into their big argument near the end of the movie and my eyes were getting heavy.
Bill straightened and stood up, forcing me to sit up on my own. "Are you coming to bed?", he asked as he headed towards our room.
Now there's, "Are you coming to bed?" and then there's "Are you coming to bed?". After spending one night packing and another night in separate hotel room beds with kids, this was quite clearly the latter.
"Yes, just a second...", I said as I rubbed my eyes and pointed to my glass of wine that was still half-full. I took a sip of wine and tried to focus on the television. I was getting up. In just a minute. The wine was acting like a tranquilizer now.
The next thing I know, I was waking up face-down on the couch almost two-hours later.
Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap.
The lights were still on. Some cheesy infomercial was playing on the television.
I straightened up and wiped the drool from the side of my face. I put my glass on top of the television and stuck my head in our room. Our television was on. ESPN was spewing out the latest word on Brett Farve and Tiger Woods. Bill was sleeping.
We have a good relationship, Bill and I. But each of us has their own pet peeves or "buttons". For example, I hate it when Bill leaves his shoes under the coffee table. Or when he leaves the opened mail scattered all over the house. Or when he comes home late without calling. Those are some of my buttons.
I have to say that Bill is really much more easy going. There are some things I do that get under his skin, but this is numero uno. I fall asleep on the couch all the time and it drives him insane. And it's not like I'm avoiding him or anything. I am 100% in love with him and completely attracted to him in every way. It's just that, at the end of the day, I am so completely exhausted that I can hardly move.
Being that we were heading into the first day of vacation, I definitely wanted to make things right. I crept into the room and before getting into bed I turned the digital clock around so that the time was facing backwards. ESPN was still blaring and really though, isn't it the same thing over and over again? I slipped into bed beside him and snuggled up next to him.
"Oh, Sweetie...", I said in a disappointed tone, "... you fell asleep?" Long sigh.
"Mmmmm... Wha..?" He was disoriented and I could see him searching for the clock in the darkness. I flipped off the television and distracted him with some particularities that are best left unshared here.
All I have to say is, crisis averted. He woke up the next morning a happy man. I even let him sleep in while I got up with the kids.
So, to recap, I'm keeping the kids well-rested and happy and the huz well-rested and happy. And as for me, I'm laying off the wine and sticking to the hard stuff for the rest of the trip.