Holy shit that was fast. In a nanosecond, summer passed us by. It’s been a while. My last post was about indulging myself in what was supposed to be my kids’ summer vacation. Once I abandoned being a self-absorbed lamo, I threw myself into playing with my three little dudes. We beached it a few times, went to the library a bunch and hung out in the yard, ran in the grass and fell into bed with dirty feet. And we went to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory for a tour. Which taught me a few nuggets of parenting genius- which of course, I intend to share here.
I hadn’t done many things with all three kiddos solo- other than work on my (semi) stay-at-home mom tan, while Pintersting as the kids dug holes at the beach- so I decided we needed a trip- somewhere to acquaint them with the culture of our state (Vermont), somewhere they could learn about local agriculture and industry, somewhere educational… Yup, we went to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory. To learn about ice cream! I was quite proud of myself as I drove to Waterbury (about a 35 minute commute from home), nearly smug as I pulled into the parking lot, pumping myself up. See, Mama! You can do this on your own! Everyone is happy and ready for a relaxed day of ice cream and fun. Ha. Sure they are. After parking, I gleefully walk to the trunk to get out the stroller- essential piece of equipment for a solo Mama of three at in ice cream factory… Trunk’s empty. What the fuck. Reminder: send husband a hate text. Now what. Well, I guess Zook is going to have to walk. Sure. That will be simple. A two-year-old is totally going to hold my hand and walk calmly and quietly as we tour an ice cream factory, right? Riiiight. Parenting Nugget #1: Always bring the fucking stroller.
Unloading everyone from the car, I pass out cheerful reminders like party favors. Let’s try to be really good listeners today! Mama needs your help to be calm! We all need to work together and follow directions! Hopefully they are not listening well enough to hear the panic bubbling in my throat… This was going to be a long morning. And why the hell do I not have the stroller?! Okay Zook, hold Mama’s hand… Nope. Me run now! Shit.
Up the 47 stairs from the parking lot. Inside and into line to buy the tickets. Thirty minutes until our tour begins… What are we going to do to kill some time. Cub spots a spin art station. The kids run over, to drop paint from a bottle onto a spinning sheet of paper. Now I have to point out here that although the kids loved this, whoever in their right mind thought that a horde of children crowding around a spin art table was a good idea, clearly did not have children. “Okay, just one drop of each color!”, the cheerful (annoyingly cheerful) 16 year old girl says to the boys as they rush the spinning paper. Oh yeah, they are totally going to listen to you, honey. Good one. Zook takes a death grip on the bottle and squeezes like he’s trying to force out the last bit of ketchup. Except the bottle is full and now there’s paint everywhere. Everywhere. Sweating, I pry the (now nearly empty) paint bottle from his paint-covered hands. And now he’s screaming. There’s paint everywhere. Calm down, pull it together. Clean up. Who wants to pose in front of the giant ice cream truck? Parenting Nugget #2: Don’t ever let a two year old do spin art.
Okay so spin art sucked up about 12 minutes- including clean up, which was really rather impressive. Now what. The boys spot a playground. Perfect. Just as they descend on the slides and climbing walls, I feel it. The trickle. A week early. I have on mint green capris. Fuck. Boys! We have to go back to the car for a minute. Moans. Whining. All the “but we just got here”, “we want to stay” start a’flowing. I forgot something and we need to go back to the car. Now. Grumbling. Of course Zook wants to walk. All the way back to the car. Oh dear god… This is bad. In an effort to maintain my calm facade and struggling not to start screaming- or running- I try to formulate my plan of attack. Do I dare leave them outside the stall in the bathroom? Do I bring them in? No. There will be questions… Questions are bad. The car. I have to make it work in the car. Good god, I have to make it work in the car!
I’ll spare you the details but my critical, curious (and a little annoying) 8 year old pretty much bitched me out the whole time while Zook literally devoured half a tube of chapstick and Mooch asked about 40,000 times how many more minutes until our tour- which by this time, I had completely forgotten about because so far, this fun trip to the ice cream factory has consisted of no stroller, spin art and my fucking period. Where’s the bar. Mama needs a drink. Parenting Nugget #3: Don’t get your period at the ice cream factory. (What? TMI, you say? Well, the name of this blog is Mama Gets Real. And this is about as real as it gets.)
Long story long, we made it to the tour in the nick of time. It was pretty boring. But there was ice cream at the end and no one had a melt down. As we drove out of the parking lot, Cub asked if we could do this every weekend, Mooch asked if we could have ice cream for dinner and Zook was passed out before we hit the interstate. And my mint capris were totally fine. Just when I think things are falling apart, they come together. I forced myself to remain positive and my little ducklings followed suit. Our summer wrapped up nicely. My heart feels so full when I think about our last days of summer. Completely elated that I had this time with them- which while stressful, warmed my soul. Parenting Nugget #4: Enjoy these summer moments… Because the shit hits the fan when school starts again.