I was camping this week. In a trailer. With three boys under 13 and my husband. And for the first time in my life, I was actually grateful that I am unable to bear children.
It was the week from hell. Mini Me's birthday was last week, and Frodo's is today. We told them they could bring one friend with them, and they picked a kid I will call S here. Now normally, S is the one kid of all their friends that I truly like and enjoy. He is a wee bit older than Frodo and Mini Me, but always seemed to have that good sense gene firmly in place. He demonstrates good manners; knows when to have fun and when to draw the line. I liked him. Until he turned into the demon seed on this camping trip! Both HB and I had to speak to him several times about his behaviour and attitude. Then we lost total control when he met my 14 year old niece (who is gorgeous, in my completely humble opinion) and his hormones raged out of control for the rest of the week ... forcing him to engage in ludicrious actions and assinine behaviours. Ahhh young love.
Add to this that Frodo has been having some major issues which were out in full force this week. I think I've mentioned them before, but to recap - he is entirely and utterly spoiled, but masks it well enough that we're never completely convinced it isn't just the actions of a spoiled child playing parents off against each other, but rather is something more deeply rooted. HB and Knothead are actually taking him to a psychologist next week and I'm not sure whether to be happy or worried. Happy because perhaps we'll finally get to the bottom of it, but worried because Knothead could make a drama out of Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree.
One of the things that causes the most trouble for me is Frodo's complete insistence on being physically connected to HB at all times, especially if it means keeping me away from HB. Even at night. I recently put my foot down and insisted that HB begin to wean this child from sleeping with him at night. Yes, you read correctly. My 11 year old stepson still needs his dad to sleep with him at night. When HB says no, Frodo throws the biggest tantrum you have ever seen. Complete with kicking, screaming, crying and punching. Even if his friends are present. He doesn't seem to have any embarrassment around (1) the fact that he needs his dad to sleep with him or (2) if he can't have that, he has a tantrum.
So picture that in a trailer. The first night he did great. Went to bed on his own, in his own bed, and slept through the night. The second night, however, brought a different story. HB tired of saying no and left the trailer, leaving me to handle it. I have no trouble being the bitch in this situation. I told him he had to the count of three to get to his bed and that for every minute after the count of three, he was going to bed 15 minutes earlier the next night. He wailed, screamed, yelled at me, and then demanded the cell phone so that he could call his mother. I refused. That really set off the tantrum! Who was I to refuse him his right to call his mother? I have noticed that when he calls his mother, the tantrum gets worse after the call. He had already spoken to her earlier that night and said goodnight then - so I felt justified in my refusal.
Anyhow, that was just one of the antics. The rest of the week was filled with the three kids begging for money, for rides in my mother's golf cart, to drive my mother's golf cart, to watch tv, to go to McDonald's, to go to town, to go go go, do do do.....ARRRRGGGGGH!
All I wanted to do was relax. Maybe hike a bit. Go swimming. But generally you know - relax. Do what you do when you go camping. Not what happened. We were at my parent's trailer, which is at my sister's campground, so we were hardly roughing it since they all live there from May to October every year. This is a 40 foot trailer with microwave and satellite tv - a far cry from the four man tent HB and I are used to hauling around with us. The kids discovered the satellite tv the minute we landed, and although it was 35C outside, they were parked inside watching television. There is a beautiful swimming pool and rec hall filled with games just a three second walk down the hill. They were too lazy to even walk that far. If we wouldn't drive them on the golf cart, they weren't interested in going.
I was at my wit's end by the time we loaded up the truck today to come home. Never have I been so glad to get home in my life! I truly have arrived into the "glad I don't have kids" stage. I was absolutely delighted to be able to drop them all off at their other residences today, come home to my quiet, clean and uncluttered home and forget all about kids. Even the dog looked happy to be away from them. A long weekend with two major papers to write has never looked so good to me as this one does!