Aqua- Flu -Topia

venusWe were all in a pretty bad rut a few weeks ago –  fed up with the grey, cold, wet and long New York City winter – cabin fever and boredom fully set in. Spending one more weekend at Kidville just seemed unbearable. A change was in order!

We needed something fun and out of the city to get our juices flowing. We hadn’t been out on skis yet this season, and could always use a warm up before our family trip to Utah later in the month. So, on a Wednesday, I convinced Mark to book the last available room at Camelback’s Aquatopia for the weekend.  The plan was to ski all day Saturday, stay the night and let the kids enjoy the water park, video arcade, rock climbing, laser tag, etc. on Sunday.  It’s totally cheesy, but I’ll admit it –  I was excited!

We’d been promising to take Luca there for years. After dragging him to a quaint BNB another season, he nearly imploded driving by those giant candy cane tubes protruding from the Aquatopian structure. Why not embrace our fate?

On Thursday morning, Mark called to confirm. “I just booked it; non refundable”, he said, as I held the phone away, feeling flushed and a little queasy, wondering what was coming over me.  Figuring that Luca would be elated, I managed to cough up a “great! It’l be fun!” and hung up – hoping I was imagining the onset of chills.

By Friday, I could barely get out of bed. Thank god, Mark could take Luca out to his 7:30 am bus and get the girls to school. I still don’t remember how I managed to pick them up by 1:00 and care for them until he came home from work. Sensing his frustration, I tried to convince him that I would be totally fine by tomorrow.

As we drove up, Luca and Mark excited to ski, and the girls oblivious to the fact that they would soon be dropped off in daycare; I wondered how I was going to get through the day knowing we couldn’t check into our hotel until that evening. Miraculously, Laurel, who caught wind of the endless Frozen loop playing on the 60×60 flat screen and giant indoor slide, was enthusiastic about going and ran right in. Maxine, on the other hand, almost pulled the safety gate off the wall after they pried her off me. I did call 10 minutes later, to check up on her state, and was told she was collecting tickets from other kids to ride the slide.

It would almost be impossible to combine two activities I would choose last, to try to do with the flu – skiing coupled with splashing around a water park while riding looping slides and being submerged into a giant pool! Being polar opposites, what are the chances of being at a place where you would do both? Such is my luck.

Luckily, on Saturday, the combination of meds I took coupled with Camelback’s modest terrain enabled me to basically just stand on my skis and head down the mountain with little movement, so I could take some runs with the boys; then head into the lodge every other run to nurse some hot tea.

Sunday morning, I used all my strength to get everyone dressed (myself included), to take them down to the breakfast buffet – though I second guessed my efforts, immediately, noticing most everyone including the parents, dining in their pajamas (not a good look, people)!  Even so, it was for the best;  just as I turned my head (after Laurel squeezed open a coffee creamer and sprayed me with, what looked like snow), I saw Megyn Kelly dining right next to us with her family entourage in tow. As the only two grown woman not wearing pajamas, on any other day, I could have said “hi” and, maybe, bonded over our shared enthusiasm for putting real clothes on; and that our kids are the same ages. But, in my pathetic state, I looked away and prayed she wasn’t going to be at the pool later.

Thank god she wasn’t because we didn’t need any Kelly File style reporting on what was to come. Unable to leave Mark to fend for all three kids, I had no choice but to step up. With my chills in full force, the girls and Luca sprayed me with water and splashed around the wave pool. But, I was starting to feel a little stronger and agreed it was totally fine for Mark and Luca to run off and ride The Venus Fly Trap – I sure as hell wasn’t up for it.

Not one minute after they left, as I watched the girls in sheer joy on the toddler water slides, did I notice Laurel walking funny. She must have sensed my panic and finally rushed out of the pool mumbling something about a “poopie”.  What, “YOU HAVE TO GO?” I shrieked. “NO”, she said,” I ALREADY DID.” But Laurel, “You aren’t wearing a diaper. You’re supposed to go to the potty!”

If I wasn’t sweating out my fever before, now I did in full force. Feeling other parents eyes on me, for multiple reasons, I frantically scanned the water for any fallout and  screamed, with the little voice I had left, for Maxine to GET OUT OF THE POOL, NOW! I was desperate to get Laurel out of sight and into the bathroom to clean up what I could. Of course Maxine wasn’t having it. “You expect me to leave multiple indoor water slides so I can join you in a dirty bathroom to clean up Laurel’s loose poop, “I translated her stare back at me as she climbed the steps on another slide.

Unable to leave Maxine, I backed myself and Laurel in the corner, praying for Mark’s return. Cowering behind an umbrella, I caught sight of  Megyn’s blond hair walking towards the locker rooms. Mark, “We have to leave NOW”, I screamed when I saw him.

On Monday morning, I scanned the Megyn Kelly Today show anxious to ensure no breaking  Aqua-poo-topia stories from Camelback.  While we may have skirted this one, we will definitely be lying low for a while.

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Thankful for the Twins Finally Using the Potty

IMG_3191So, I finally, stepped up to accept my, unfortunate, duty as a parent to train my girls to use the potty.  Indeed, freedom from the endless loop of changing diapers, was motivating, but secretly, I hoped to avoid or just ignore it. Would it really matter if they were still in diapers in first or even third grade? Aren’t there worse things to worry about? Sooner or later they would figure it out on their own. Then, we learned that ski school and camp wouldn’t accept them for drop off, untrained. Alarmed, we had a hard deadline in January and had to get to it.

Back when Luca was young, and I was a fresher faced mom, I, enthusiastically embraced these challenges, reading up on all sorts of advice. Unfortunately, all the experts were aligned. Lock yourselves in for three days, take off the diapers, and let it all go. Well, after the shit hit the fan, or in this case, the floor, I was done. NO WAY could I cope with that for 72 hours. Since I had committed to getting rid of diapers, I put underwear on him and continued for another few torturous days; sitting him down every half hour, me next to him, hoping for a miracle.

Fast forward seven years and, despite technology’s evolution (I didn’t even have a smart phone, let alone iPhone, back then), they still don’t have an app for this. Overwhelmed with two of them, I opted for a laid back approach and promptly amazon primed two pink potties, a portable potty for the playground (Kalencom 2-in-1 Potette Plus), two cases of pull-ups, about 20 pairs of disposable underwear, candy, stickers, and extra bottles of wine to set about my task.

It’s been a frustrating few weeks, but real progress is happening. Maxine took the lead, being the most consistent with usage, supported by her utilization of algorithms to calculate optimal candy accumulation per pee or poop, manipulating timing for optimal rewards. Though I am very proud, one downside has been her determination that it’s not worth her time if she needs to do her business during reward blackout periods occurring daily before 7:00 am or after 6:45 pm.

Laurel was also catching up, but mostly on how she can guilt me into also earning candy for doing absolutely nothing but crying and screaming when Maxine gets her rewards. Though painful, I had to wise up to her manipulation and hold her accountable to, at least, sit on the potty to earn a candy treat. Luckily the prospect of a special new Doc McStuffins, or as she calls it, Stuff McStuffins back pack had her in a frenzy. She only needed one poop on the potty and it was hers.

It was an arduous few days when Maxine earned the coveted prize, before Laurel, and, to Laurel’s envy, wore the backpack everywhere, even to bed at night. Luckily, after dragging both potties, the portable potette (which came in very handy during a nature walk on Shelter Island), and everything else we needed for Thanksgiving, to our house in Bridgehampton, we had a breakthrough. After catching Laurel sneaking off behind the sofa to do her business, Mark yanked her into the bathroom. In a critical moment requiring excellent timing and aim (both rare for my husband), to her shock, Laurel nailed it right in the potty.

Anxious to see her rewarded, I jumped the gun. Once she had that backpack strapped tightly on, she immediately went on strike. After two long days, it took the fear of loosing her prize and possibly spending the afternoon with a fictitious babysitter to motivate her back to action. And, while there have been some slight mishaps, I am confident she has turned a corner.

Among so many things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving, having the worst of this job behind me, for the last time, is certainly one I don’t take for granted.