Day five’s theme was relax. We did a lot of hanging out, sitting around, talking, playing, and not getting stuff done. We’re on vacation – why should we get stuff done? I realized that it had been days since I attempted to multitask anything, and day five wasn’t going to be any different.
We started the day with my Aunt HoSoon’s traditional Saturday family breakfast. My aunt loves to cook for other people, and fortunately she is also a good cook. We had eggs, waffles, pancakes, hash browns, and fresh fruit. Have I mentioned how much I love eating a full breakfast? I love it, although not enough to actually cook every morning. That’s one of the things that make vacations so delightful – all the good meals that I don’t have to cook, especially breakfast.
Anna (and her family) got to the house after we had finished eating, and Darcey instantly grabbed Anna’s shoes. This time Anna wasn’t taking it lying down, and it looked like the two of them might duke it out over who gets the Little Mermaid flip-flops. There was basically no way in heck I could get the flip-flops off of Darcey at that point, so it was fortunate that Anna chose to be the bigger person here. I vowed that we would not return to the house without some new flip-flops for Darcey.
My mom missed the mall trip yesterday, so we went back. I hung out at the play area again while she shopped. When the kids got restless I took them to a gelateria for a cup of gelato. A small cup can hold three flavors. I let the kids pick their flavors, and Noah was the only one who liked what he picked. I ended up pushing Darcey in her stroller holding a cup of abandoned gelato in either hand, swapping with Darcey and watching my cup melt. I think I ended up trying 9 different flavors. When we met up with my mom again, we found ourselves next to a fountain while we discussed where we parked the car. I looked over and found Zack laying on the fountain, his arm up to his shoulder in the fountain, grabbing coins like a prospector who just found the motherlode. Did I mention exactly how upscale this mall is? Yeah, I thought so. We were the unwitting stars of The Clampetts Go Shopping.
My mom dropped us off back at the hotel so we could go swimming. Ryan’s sister Shauna had stayed over so she hung out with us while the kids swam. Noah and Zack were proving the value of the swim lessons they took this year, and making me wish I had done more. Darcey decided to start jumping into the water from the side, going all the way under, so I spent two hours catching her. I had packed sunscreen, but left it in the car, which I realized about one millisecond after my mom drove away. They boys’ swimsuits were in the car, too, but they just wore their shorts and were fine. I made them wear t-shirts, since I didn’t have sunscreen and didn’t want them to bake. I’m all for poolside modesty, but I’m sure we looked a little extreme. I was the only one who ended up getting burned. I think of it as taking one for the family.
After we swam, we went back to my aunt and uncle’s house for Anna’s 3rd birthday party. My cousin Jenny had invited the 8 kids in Anna’s playgroup, plus their entire families, over for dinner and to play in the inflatable jumper they rented. I had completely forgotten how big a production I made over Brad’s birthdays when we lived in California. I didn’t have a yard, so I couldn’t rent a jumper, but all of the parties that we threw or attended (from our playgroup friends) were elaborate and expensive productions. Compare that to the birthdays I throw now: pre-done parties at Classic Skating or Chuck E. Cheese’s, or a few baby pools in the backyard. Cake, or more likely cupcakes, and ice cream at the most. I can’t decide which version I prefer. Possibly if I had more energy or fewer children (who sap my energy of course) I could use my kids’ birthdays as an excuse for a shindig with all our friends. But my friends and my kids’ friends aren’t always two circles that intersect. I’ll have to think about this some more.
Before the party itself started, we had one minor incident. Darcey was the proud recipient of brand-new, white and sparkly pink flip-flops. They put the old, worn Little Mermaid flip-flops to shame with their gleaming glitteriness. The shoes went perfectly with the Disney Princess fanny pack (containing fake lipstick, fake eyeshadow, and sunglasses that Darcey also adored.) Darcey immediately adored these shoes and wore them around the backyard with great fanfare. There was no parting this girl from her new shoes.
And then there was the jumper. Frankly, I didn’t care if she wore her new flip-flops inside of the jumper. How much harm is a 25 pound girl going to do to the plastic? It’s not like she was wearing spike heels, which would be obviously damaging, plus really uncomfortable to jump in. Well, my uncle thought otherwise and attempted to convince her to take her brand-new shoes off. She would have none of that. So he told me that Darcey wouldn’t take off her shoes and that she couldn’t wear them in the jumper. Ahhhhh. Right. Okay.
I wanted to protest, to say, “Is this really the hill you want to die on?” But, of course, it wouldn’t be HIM battling this one – this is the hill he wants ME to die on. It was with sinking heart that I trudged over to the jumper and kindly requested Darcey give me her new shoes. She, ever so gently, said no. I pleaded, she demurred. I persuaded, she resisted. If you’ve had a two year old, you can, I’m sure, understand the tenor and pitch of this conversation. Eventually, to spare the ears of all those around us, we took our debate into the house. After 15 minutes or so, my aunt came into the house to see what the problem was. I explained that Uncle Jim didn’t want shoes on the jumper. She looked at me blankly and after a pause said, “Why?” I don’t know, I told her, I’m just doing what he said. She thought about this and with a slightly incredulous voice said, “Just let her wear her shoes!” Duh! Is what I wanted to say. That is so obviously the right answer, but I was a guest in someone else’s house and while I can generally hold my own, I could not disobey a direct order. I conceded to Darcey and eventually she went out and continued playing. But I’m not sure she ever forgave me.
Other than that, the evening itself was great. The backyard had a great social atmosphere, but I felt no obligation to chat with anyone that I didn’t want to. That was liberating to me. We had pizza and some fizzy juice drinks and Costco birthday cake, the kind with vanilla cheesecake in the center. The weather was so perfect that I had to ask myself out loud why I moved away from here in the first place. I had determined that we’d head back to the hotel so the kids could have an early bedtime, but I couldn’t leave. It was just so delightful outside. The kids had a fantastic time playing with all of these new kids. The jumper, shoes or no, was a big hit. They never fought with each other, they didn’t need constant monitoring – it was the first time on the trip that I could truly relax. And that’s what a vacation is all about.