Look up the word idealistic in the dictionary and you'll find my beaming face. Well, not beaming exactly, most snapshots of moi look like I'm a deer in the headlights (you should get a load of my new driver's license but unless you work at the liquor store, you won't be). This new one on my profile of me and Moose was taken this weekend and it's the best shot I've me I've seen in ages. Maybe since babyhood or so, when it was ok to have a double chin and funny looking hair. But anyway, I was saying that I am idealistic. Are you? Do you have a running movie in your head that looks like a love child between Little House on the Prairie and The Waltons? I know I do. Only my movie family/life has a bit more money and better hair, at least on the men. Now that my dear hubby has a little something you've all been experiencing for years that we like to call weekends, I have pressed my idealistic images to the max. There will be picnics. There will be camping. There will be movie nights and pizza and sleeping in and bike rides. Oh yes. Even if it kills me these things will happen. It may in fact, kill me. Here's a recap of the last two weekends:
Me, talking to Mike: Let's pack a picnic and spend the day at the park! The kids can splash in the water and play in the playground and we can stroll romantically on rose petaled paths!
Mike, looking well, a bit deer in the headlights himself actually, says something unintelligible which I take to mean he's totally down with the plan.
So I lovingly make a cooler full of sandwiches. Individualized sandwiches. Honey mustard and lettuce for Cora. Pickles for Anna. Cheese and yellow mustard for me. Spicy mustard for Mike. Plain for Moose. There are apples and ice water. Sunscreen. A camera to capture our outing of family bliss. I can tell Mike is forfeiting his own personal weekend dreams of endless world domination playing Civilization, but the man is not dumb and a decade of marriage has not been wasted on him.
Enter the girls. You know the ones. They're supposed to look like Mary and Laura? These ones look more like Itchy and Scratchy, or maybe Pinky and The Brain. I don't really remember Mary and Laura fighting this much and we can't seem to get out the door without yelling, whining, pushing, shoving, and other very un-Walton like shennanigans. I'm getting a little annoyed that the movie in my head is becoming more and more like an episode of Supernanny (the beginning half hour, not the last). So I decide calmly to do something I've been threatening to do for over 8 years now: I walk over to them and take their round little noggins in my hands and then I smack their heads together. It sounded like banging two watermelons together, which is ironic and fitting, because lately they've had the IQs of fruit salad. The eldest stands in shock with her mouth hanging open like a codfish, and the middler runs away sobbing. But not surprisingly, they are angels all the way to the park. Point 1 for child abuse.
The park is cold. The water is cold. There was no need really for sunscreen as that particular orb in the sky has not appeared. There was need for a change of clothes for Gianni, who fell in the lake almost before the van had come to a complete stop, but I didn't pack one. There is a pack of preteens who curse like drunken sailors or worse, ballerinas, and it's tiring trying to talk over them so that your own children don't pick up on the words they're saying. Or worse, say, 'Mommy, isn't that what you said right before you smacked our heads together?'
The romantic stroll along the lake pathway doesn't happen because I am no longer talking to my husband because he made fun of me for making six different kinds of sandwiches and said his own mom used to do that and it drove everyone crazy than, too. I told him his mother should have drowned her ungrateful offspring at birth, and then I stalked off righteously.
Gianni falls in lake again and also eats what I think may have been a cigarette butt.
This time it's Mike's idea to get in the car and have some family time. This is because we are seriously as broke as a joke due to supporting two houses and paying for Moose's little hospital adventure and the fact that, oh yeah, I am not a brain surgeon. But driving is free. So we go to a different park, this one a few miles outside of town, and the girls fight the whole way. I am short and thusly (thusly?) cannot quite reach them in the backseat otherwise Ma Ingalls would have konked them out cold with some nun chucks. We get to the park. It's beautiful. It's freakin' cold. The wind chill is close to -45. No, not really, but it's cold. However, Ma and Pa refuse to admit it this to their whiney offspring and are determined to have a good time no matter what. Cora won't get out of the car. Gianni almost blows away. His sandwich (made with all the same ingredients by the way) does blow away. Ma and Pa force a smile and hide our goosebumps under the cheery checked tablecloth. The one that blows away. After oh, about 4 minutes of this fun, we all load back up in the Adventuremobile. By now the girls have whined and fought so much that a little come to Jesus talk is in order and they end up being grounded for all of eternity.
The rest of the day turned out nice though. We went a little further and in the mountains where some of the wind can be blocked, it's not nearly so frigid. We climbed boulders and frolicked through meadows and it was actually as good as the movie in my head.
Also in the movie in my head, the baby doesn't stuff so much stuff (I say stuff because the actual substance is unknown) down the toilet that it majorly overflows and floods the bathroom. He also doesn't learn to climb into the kitchen sink and turn on the water. Or sit in the bathtub fully clothed, and turn on that water all over himself. Did I say he was going to be an electrican? I meant plumber. Also in my movie, the heroine doesn't get lost every time she gets on the freeway and end up halfway to Timbuktu before she turn around and it takes 40 minutes to get home instead of 10 and the baby fell asleep which is really really bad, because now he won't nap at home, and there goes the last couple hours of hope for Ma. But Ma is strong and invincible! Ma needs a nap. Ma decides instead in her idealistic little brain, or what's left of it, to make a big family dinner. Ma breaks favorite casserole dish. Ma went to bed at 9:00 last night.