I'm back from Bruges. I have once again survived traveling with my children, though this one was a really close one. I don't have the energy to write my planned "Bruges: Friend or Foe?" post, so I will instead write a couple other things, including a delightful tale of vomit, and then go to sleep on my floor because my bed is too far away to be useful.
The day before we left for Bruges I took the kids to the park. There's a spinny thing at the park Lucien loves because it's always full of his rowdier friends. I usually don't let Coco ride it but she was pretty insistent this time. She wants to do everything Lucien does, so I figured what the hell, what could possibly go wrong? (Moms should never ask themselves this question because it's just begging for trouble.)
After I convinced the other kids to settle the eff down and stop turning the thing at warp speed, Coco got her turn. She didn't seem to enjoy it; she looked very serious and her brow was furrowed. I tried to pull her off but she kicked and yelled and made it very clear she didn't want off. It was then I realized her serious look was because she was concentrating on having THE BEST TIME OF HER LIFE.
She twirled and twirled. I pulled her off every few minutes so the bigger kids could go nuts. During these resting periods, she pummeled me with her tiny fists until she was back on. And as nearly everyone but me could have predicted, after a few hundred turns in spinny thing heaven -- vomit everywhere.
Parents immediately grabbed their squealing kids and fled. One mama stayed with me to slow the spinny thing so vomit would stop swirling all over it like a Spin Art kit. I lifted Coco, grabbed my baby wipes and started to clean it all up. Coco staggered around behind me like a dizzy drunk and continued to throw up on herself. Then she walked back over and flung her leg up on the spinny thing. My God, she wanted back on. Coco is determined and focused in a very scary way.
You talkin' to me?
I didn't let her back on, of course, so she pummeled me again, only this time her fists were pretty gross.
I called Alex to tell him I was never leaving the apartment again and he reminded me I say that about twice a day and I always end up leaving the apartment again so he doesn't believe me anymore. But really, I just shouldn't leave.
I left again this evening for Lucien's end-of-year school fair. (Who the hell has a school fair on a Tuesday night?? Our stupid school, that's who.) I'd signed Alex up to work a booth from 7:30 to 8:30p.m. My thinking was he'd have plenty of time to get there after work and I could abscond early with the children who are still tired from Bruges so are cranky and horrible.
Then suddenly Alex got on a plane and went to Spain for work, leaving me alone to face the late shift at a Pin the Tail on the Donkey booth while keeping tabs on two ticked-off children, both of whom have proven to have poor self-control, overwhelming independent streaks, and zero boundaries. Giddy-up.
I knew going in I was not going to man the Pin the Tail on the Donkey booth very well. I also knew I could approach it in one of two ways: I could give everyone the full American -- run in with a big smile and profuse apologies for not giving my undivided attention to the donkey's ass and then distract them all by writing my name with sparklers. Or I could give 'em the Frenchie -- work my booth for however long I felt like working my booth, then wander away. If anyone said anything to me, shrug.
Gaspard's mom was scheduled to work the donkey booth with me. I've never made an ass of myself in front of Gaspard's mom so was excited for the opportunity. She looked mystified as I blubbered something about trying to help, but husband in Barcelona and daughter in the middle of the wading pool at the fishing game. Gaspard's mom didn't understand me, but she felt sorry for me and gave me a few encouraging words as I ran past her time and time again chasing Coco, the BEAST. Coco dove in water. She grabbed rings and balls straight from kids' hands. She took their toys. She took their food. She made them cry.
I SAID, you talkin' to me????
Dang, she has big eyes that see into my soul.
Lucien, happily, surprisingly, was an angel. He had fun with his friends and was a big help to me; when I asked him to bring Coco a plate of food, he returned with a plate of five hundred marshmallows.
I couldn't even remotely help any kid pin the tail on on the goddamn donkey. I gave up and wandered off eventually but did it with a big American smile -- and I shrugged at people as I carried a wriggling, screaming child under my arm out the door with a sparkler between my teeth. I'm really feeling the combined influence of both cultures now.
Vomit. Donkeys. Marshmallows. I feel good about this one.