Monday, November 5, 2012

This is FUN, DAMMIT!!!

I’m pretty sure as I write this entry, my daughter is writing her own memoir, “My Life As A Kill-Joy: I’m 5, Therefore I Pout.”

It never ceases to amaze me that no matter what we do for our kids, they are so often ungrateful.  I don’t mean to sound like a martyr here, but I seriously can’t grasp how children can complain while they are at Disney World, having gifts, toys and princess shoes thrown at them.  I know what you are thinking, it is because they are spoiled rotten little brats.  I will take responsibility for the fact that we are generous to our kids, but I don’t think we necessarily go overboard.  And I can tell you that I was not the only parent dealing with cranky kids at the Magic Kingdom.  Everywhere we went, we kept hearing the same statements over and over again, “This is supposed to be fun!” or “You need to give me another 30 minutes without whining and complaining or we will not come back later…or I’m taking that toy away…or you won’t get that pirate sword…or cotton candy…or balloon…or…” whatever threat or promise necessary for any given parent to survive just 30 more minutes of misery.

Our very own resident diva, Maddie, came out in rare form during our trip.  The last time we went, she was only 3 ½ and she seemed very overwhelmed by the whole experience, especially when we allowed her to cash in on several shopping trips for souvenirs.  Rather than jumping for joy at the new sparkly Sleeping Beauty shoes, she pouted that she also wanted the $60 dress to go with it.  Rather than be happy about the Snow White sequin purse with white gloves, the Minnie Mouse Princess hat and her new Mickey t-shirt, she pouted because she didn’t get suckers.  Well, I’ll give you one guess who the real sucker was?  Me.  Because before we could leave Orlando, we hunted down those Goddamn Mickey suckers and what’s even better, two years later they are still at the back of my pantry.

Me getting choked up over the whole experience...prior to meltdowns.
This time, we decided that we would set limits on their spending since they are a little bit older and could grasp some simple budgeting concepts.  We emptied their piggy banks and told them that money was their spending money and mommy and daddy would throw some in on top of that.  For the most part, we did pretty good not going overboard and the whining and complaining was minimal.  That was until the morning of Maddie’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  For those of you unfamiliar with this, it is where you drop some serious coin on the chance for your daughter to be transformed into a princess by her very own airy godmother.  Maddie requested the full hilt, complete with a brand new Cinderella gown and hair extensions…yes, hair extensions.

She kept counting down the days until her VIP treatment, and when the morning came we schlepped off to Downtown Disney first thing in the morning. The idea was to have this done the day we were scheduled to have lunch with the Princesses at Epcot.  While we were waiting for her name to be called, I got a little choked up thinking of how happy it made me that we could do this for her.  What a special memory this would be for her.  Finally it was her turn and we went back to the dressing room where they handed her a beautiful Cinderella gown to change in to.  Once we got into the dressing room, I felt like I was dealing with one of the wicked stepsisters instead.  The dress was itchy.  I had to take the whole thing off and put her clothes back on underneath the dress.  She still seemed annoyed and when we finally emerged, they informed us that she was lucky enough to have been chosen to have her transformation done in the special seat at the front of the store.  They led her to a special makeover station that was situated right in the front window for everyone who walked in or by the store to see.  She seemed unimpressed.  She chose her hairstyle, color of her bobby pins and makeup and within a half-hour, she was Cinderella.  She looked quite pleased with the outcome until it was time to pick out shoes.  Unfortunately she is between sizes and the glass slipper/jelly shoe meant to go with her dress was ill fitting.  Bring on pout number 54 of the day at it wasn’t even 10 a.m.

We finally settled on a pair of sparkly flip flops and all was good in the world of Maddie until she had to go and get her picture taken.  The package we opted for included professional photos.  We set her up with the photographer and Tom was watching her while a perused the gift shop attached to where the photographer was.  When I got back a few minutes later, she was finished and they uploaded the pictures right away.  As luck would have it, she didn’t smile in a single picture.  Any other time, she is Ms. Insta-pose, but dress her up in $200 worth of Disney’s finest threads and she looks like she just ate a shit-sandwich.  Luckily the kind woman at the photo shop agreed to let us have a redo and we got some cute shots.

We survived our trip to Disney and despite our best efforts to take it easy on the souvenirs, we still had a hard time fitting all our purchases into our suitcases.  Good thing grandma and grandpa were driving the RV back home!  Luckily Colin has cheap taste and most of his prized possessions were under $10 otherwise we’d have to take a second mortgage out on the house!

Miserable Princess scratching her crotch.  How lady-like.

We’ve been back from Disney for over a month and just got through Halloween.  I should have known that this Holiday would be no different than any other with the kids.  It started weeks ago with the hunt for costumes.  I don’t know how to express to you how difficult it is to shop for Halloween costumes when you children are scared shitless of all things Halloween, but picture Colin screaming at the top of his lungs with his fingers in his ears while cowering in a corner of Spirit Halloween costume shop.  They even walked around like they belonged in straight jackets when we went into Party City to buy Halloween plates last week and they were merely playing a Halloween CD!

I took them to a Halloween party at the gym the other day and it was a slice of pure hell just getting out of the house.  Turns out Princess Itchy Dress was making her return, but this time it was her Dorothy costume.  She whined and complained the whole time and by the time we got ready after skating practice, lunch and the usual pouting routine, we only made it for the last half-hour of the party.  Of course, the kids were pissed because they didn’t give out candy, just little toys and prizes for the games.  They spent the rest of the afternoon talking about what they would be next year for Halloween. 

I got to thinking about how I have a hard time “living in the now.”  I’ve always been the type of person who looks past what is happening at this moment waiting for the next thing to come along or I set high expectations for how things will go and end up disappointed when they don’t meet those expectations. I’ll admit that I’ve gotten better especially after having children because I see my daughter doing the same thing and I realize how annoying it is.  I have to constantly remind her (along with myself) to “Go with the flow.”

Then there is Tom who will hem and haw over what to order at the ice cream shop and when all is said and done, he has buyer’s remorse and wishes he would have ordered the other thing he was contemplating.  Rather than enjoying his delicious milkshake, he complains how good the other thing would have been.

The icing on the Halloween cake was carving pumpkins.  In years past, we never bothered because the kids were too young and I personally am not a big fan of carving pumpkins (guess the rotten apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?)  This year we decided to indulge them and even got a fancy little kit complete with a special light to put in the pumpkin.  Of course, prior to cutting into the pumpkins, we had to threaten Colin to eat his dinner otherwise he wouldn’t be allowed to help.  He ended up falling asleep at the dinner table and we woke him up when it was time to carve.  He immediately asked for a snack and we told him he had to finish his dinner first.  He was crabby and tired, but started to eat his raw broccoli just the same. 

Meanwhile, Tom’s parents had come over to help and grandpa took over cutting open the pumpkins with Maddie.  Once he opened it up and told her to reach inside to pull the guts out she started screaming and crying.  She had no desire to have anything to do with the slime that lurked inside.   Grandma and Tom worked on gutting the pumpkin while Grandma and I started pulling the seeds out so I could bake them.

Colin was trying to choke down his broccoli and came over to where I was at the sink and proceeded to gag and ultimately throw up all over the floor and my purse, which Tom has just brought to me to get something out of it for him.  Go figure.  And there I was again, one kid was curled up in a ball in the corner over her irrational fear of pumpkin slime and another was shooting broccoli out his nose.  All I could think was, “This is supposed to be FUN, DAMMIT!”

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