Saturday, July 21, 2012

Are We There Yet? Pretend People


Our trip had a rather inauspicious beginning.  We didn’t even get one block before we decided we had to double back to the house to make sure that we had actually locked the doors.  Of course we had, we just couldn’t remember that we had.

We’ve been living under a big, grey cloud of perceived forgetfulness for too long now.  We forgot to pack a lot of things for this road trip.  Which makes us constantly wonder what more we have forgotten.  And just as bad, we often forget where we put the things that we remembered to pack and have to spend an extra half hour looking for them.  The van is bulging with stuff, it’s just very hard to find the various things we need in any given moment.  I constantly crave organization, but thus far it has completely eluded me. 
Before we hit the open road, we stopped for one final meal at In N Out.  Once the kids found out there will be none of those little burger joints in our new state, we could not dissuade them from making that our last dinner in California.

The drive was fairly uneventful.  Some crying, some squabbling, some laughing, some huffiness, quite a few I’m boreds, and several Are we there yets.  Shaggy did his best to insert Celtic lyrics into some ranchero music.  And he found a new use for those bumpy lines at the side of the road.  The creation of family jokes is always a memorable occurrence.

 B was fussy since she only had a 20 minute cat nap, but K came to the rescue by consistently distracting her from crying by talking to her about interesting things.  I think that baby will be a whole lot smarter by the end of this trip.  She can’t help it if she continues to sit by K.  And when B woke up in a foul mood after a second nap, K stroked her hair and sang primary songs to her.  It was one of those moments that made my heart melt just a little.  Maybe I didn’t need to pack a nanny, after all.  I have two dynamite caretakers-in-training.  I predict that they’ll easily make up for whatever mood swings they may have with their baby meltdown aversion skills.

Our arrival in Barstow was greeted with some very loud, high-pitched squealing sounds from a train switching yard, which unfortunately happened to be entirely too near the hotel.  This is the sort of thing you wish they would tell you when you try to make reservations.  “One more thing, Ma’am, you will likely be woken up throughout the night by the trains switching, which sound will also rev up your dogs and completely scare your children.  Would you still like to book your rooms, or would you rather find a different hotel?”

R, who was already freaked out by the squealing sound, completely lost it when we tried to make sure she went potty before bed.  She was scared and crying and talking about not wanting to go into the bathroom with the pretend people.  We had no clue what she was talking about. 

But it was something interesting, so all of her older siblings tried to unravel the mystery of what was scaring her.  They all tried to reassure her in various ways that the hotel bathroom was, in fact, completely harmless.  Nothing they were saying or doing was helping, but I was busy getting B ready for bed, so I let them carry on.  When J began telling her that “pretend people” was just another way to say “plastic people” and she liked plastic people, didn’t she, I figured it was time to step in.  To R’s credit, she really did listen to all their explanations about imagination and bravery.  It’s just that none of it helped her because nobody knew exactly what she was scared of.

So I scooped her up, and we went into the bathroom to investigate.  There was a toilet, directly across from a shower with a frosted glass door.  S had mused that she might be afraid of her reflection in the shower door.  When R heard this, she brightened up a bit, “Well, it DID look like me!”  But then lapsed again into fear, “But it was white, and there was more pretend people there, too.”  We then had a little lesson about glass and mirrors and colorful reflections.  Whatever new fears our subsequent hotels bring, hopefully the bathrooms aren’t inhabited by more pretend people that look like R.

All in all, it was a good day.  We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

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