Saturday, July 14, 2012
14 July: Who eats grapes with seeds anyway?
14 July I thought we would try something new this morning. We had not yet made our weekly visit to the children's museum and how fun, I thought, if Nate came along. Being as it is a Saturday Nate does not have class and was technically "free" to join us. This would be his first time to the museum. I also thought we would skip Aya's morning nap so we could leave earlier and return before the girls meltdown from fatigue and hunger. Skipping Aya's nap meant doing a workout with all three girls AND Nate around. Nate, too, wanted to get in a workout. It was risky, I knew, but thought to try it. Some kids I know can entertain themselves for 15 hrs while their mother constructs twin beds for them (from scratch). I just hoped my girls could play nicely while I exercised in the bedroom. Why I did not set them to their usual segregated tasks of ABCs/craft time, I do not know. Surprisingly, Yumi and Emi did just fine! Aya crawled over over me and Nate, f fussing, but the big girls played nicely. What a relief! It was only while I was in the shower that the problems started. And the defiance. And the hysterics. And the dramatic pleas to be sent off to an orphanage or another family or just AWAY. Sigh. There we all were, supposed to be off on a happy family outing at 9am, and it was now 9:an and both Emi and Yumi were bitterly crying. Yet suggestions that Yumi stay behind with Nate were met with equal hysterics. Add to this fact that by now Nate and I are totally mad at each other as well, and you get the full picture. Pretty grim. I wanted to try for a little light-hearted humor to ease the tension but my heart was too heavy. Honestly, sometimes I think I just stink at this job. I felt as thought I had other choice but for us all to go to the museum. We have no place to keep an hysterical child which is what we had and would continue to have if I'd left her behind. I suppose another choice would have been to just bail on the museum, chill at the hotel until everyone calmed, and then do some low-key activity within waking distance. Mind you, there is not much to choose from by that description, but I could have come up with something. A walk to the fruit seller, for example. BUT: 1) I HATE having my plan derailed. I hate it. 2) I HATE feeling trapped. Which is how I would have felt just sitting around the hotel room, all ready to go, waiting until Yumi calmed down. I would have just become extremely bitter toward her. So, that is why we just went to the museum anyway. Despite the fact that none of us were really talking to ch other. Well, except for the chub. Ayame Little Pants, by the way, is recovering nicely from her incident yesterday, and she--thankfully--was as pleasant as could be. You can't get mad at Ayame. Impossible. The ride to the museum was predictably difficult. Even upon arriving at the museum Yumi was still saying she did not want to go--but would not consider going back with Nate. I could tell Nate wanted to be anywhere but there, but the unkind side of me did not want to let him off the hook. Why should he get to just leave when I never can? Of course, that is totally pitiful of me to even feel that way and not even accurate. But I am being honest here. I was feeling pretty low. We all trudged into the museum, however, and set about trying to have fun. Thanks to Nate, I did not have to spend my whole visit trying to keep track of both girls. I mostly stuck with Yumi and let her do what she wanted. Which, oddly, was hang about in the play mechanic's shop and, unsurprisingly, in the doctor's office. I just followed her about, occasionally trying to interact with her but she was clearly mad at me. Gone are the days of forgive and forget, I guess. It was simply obvious that she was exhausted from her earlier hysterics and could not get excited about anything. We left after 1.5 hrs. Everyone was ready to come back. Nothing to report after that as, thankfully, everyone was pretty calm. Nate had to run to the store before we could make lunch--no bread, water, or yoghurt on hand. Poor Aya....about 1pm I put her in the stroller which doubles as her high hair and handed her a pb&j pita. While she worked on it I prepared her a bowl of yoghurt and diced up apricots. By the time I finished preparing it, however, she had zonked out. Right there, in the middle of the room, the lights and noise notwithstanding. I ask you, how come she did not do that on our 8 hour flight overnight from DC to Vienna? It is quiet time. Nate is here and I could have left on an adventure, but I had some business to attend to first. I am making preparations for my parent's visit AND wanted to access the Internet available (only) in the lobby. I thought I would finish quickly and then head off on a little excursion. Making reservations and whatnot took longer than I'd planned, however, so I am back up in the room. I can hear Yumi crafting away in the bathroom and Emi singing to herself in the master bedroom. She was singing Aya's name over and over to the tune of "Come thou font of every blessing"--no joke. Nate an I tend to do that kind of thing--silly songs or familiar tunes with silly words--and Emi has taken to doing it herself. She just moved on from singing Aya's name to Old McDonald. I love hearing her sing. New friends of ours are leaving tomorrow for their next embassy post and have invited us to the pool this afternoon. I had planned to go but after this morning's challenges I do not think it a good idea. We are looking at another hour both ways in a taxi and almost guaranteed meltdowns. I know my girls would want to go...I do too!!...but I think it not a good choice. A low-key neighborhood walk and linger probably is the best plan. This evening: Ha! Low-key...totally failed. You know, I am getting sick of failing everyday to find something that works. It is an exciting challenge but it is getting old. Wow, I am feeling bitter tonight. I might as well just get on with recording the events and spare everyone, including myself, the negativity. It was nearly 5pm before I got the girls to clean up their quiet time messes (one of my rules), to the toilet, etc. This was after we spent a bit of quality time reading together and whatnot after getting them up from naps. That is something, at least. I do not regret that. However, I found myself still pretty edgy with Nate. We left him to study to have a "low key" late afternoon/evening. We went to get fruit, milk, and oatmeal...and then on to the Safeway playground. I took a wrong turn, however, so it took twice as long to get there. We did not arrive until nearly 6pm. The girls threw themselves into playing and, luckily, had a few playmates. This playground is open until midnight and I take it it is at its busiest much later in the night. When we are there, from 5-7pm, it is pretty quiet. That is good for me, however, because then I can talk to the handful of employees. I feel better about monopolizing the time of paid employees than innocent onlookers who are their to chat with their own family/friends and watch their children play. So chat I did, until our new fried Daniel arrived. I've mentioned him before--we made plans with him for dinner. He nicely went over to a local rotisserie chicken place to get us all dinner and Nate showed up just in time to join us. Things got difficult when we had to coerce the girls to sit and eat. We have that problem every time but usually we have some yogurts or something to lure them. That was my first mistake--to underestimate the necessity of the yoghurt lure. Second mistake, or problem--no matter how close to home the activity/dinner, it is always too late and too stimulating. We did not eat until close to 7pm and did not get the girls out of there until nearly 7:30pm. And yes--kicking and screaming. Yumi managed to pull herself together quickly but I think Emi cried the whole way back. Nate pushed her in the stroller and strode on ahead, anxious to put an end to the misery. He got so far ahead and I, still confused from my earlier wrong turning, found myself lost again. I righted myself soon enough--Yumi said a little prayer--but insult to injury and all that.... For the millionth time I asked myself if it would be better if we were staying in an apartment and did not need to eat out all the time. I don't know. Honestly, I don't. Wouldn't I still be anxious to be out of the house every afternoon, as hard as it is? The very fact that Jordan is outside my doorstep would compel me to get out anyway. I would not want to be stuck inside preparing dinner. But the very thing I want--freedom from meal prep to be out experiencing the country--comes with a price. Late meals, late bedtimes, and meltdowns. And for some reason I just cannot figure out how to make it work. Oh, and the grapes I bought? They have seeds in them! Grrrr. Alright, alright, enough complaining for one night. Final side note: I bought gummy princess vitamins today. Now THAT got the girls ready for bed, and fast.