Monday 25 June 2018

We Bought Suitcases For Our Kids!

Alternate title:  And yet, they're still here

We've had a bit of a rough week and weekend around the house.  There was poor behaviour from everyone (myself included), not enough naps (still talking about me), and consequences that had to be adhered to (see also, when you bring three children into the world, you're not allowed to just leave everything behind and walk away into the wilds of London, never looking back).

The Hufflings have Personality! and they have it in spades.  There's the Agitator, the Drama Queen, and the Cuddle Bug.  There's also the Sweetheart, the Irritant, and the Look At Me!-er.  There's the Tattle-tale, the Instigator, and the Bully....and the Helper, the Singer, the Genius, the Victim, the Animal Trainer, the Artist, the Actor and the Scientist.  Overall, there is a lot packed into each one of them, and it's no wonder that, every freaking day from time to time, one's Personality overflows into another's personal space with very loud results. 

As a "responsible parent", I am careful with what they eat and what they do.  I limit their sugar intake (not to a huge degree, but their treats are monitored and doled out appropriately).  They don't get a lot of screen time; it's a lot to me, more than what I'd prefer them to have, but I've come to terms with the idea that maybe an hour, three times a week (maybe four if I really need a break) isn't too much for the 9- and 8- year olds.  (The five-year-old has had a better deal of it than the other two, because she's just piggybacked onto their screen time, instead of starting out with 30 minutes, once a week.) 

Anyhoo, due to a run of overflowing personalities, "poor choices", and possibly periods of too much sugar -- which worked its way up to a frenzy over the last week -- there was no screen time allowed for the whole weekend.  No treats.  Playdates were cancelled.  It was dire.

In an effort to come up with an outing that wasn't supposed to be very fun but used up a lot of time, we ended up spending Sunday at Costco, to the tune of ... frankly, it was so much that I can't even write it down.  And it was in pounds.  I honestly will not say just how much we spent, but try to imagine a shockingly large Costco bill, then multiply it by 1.8 to put it in "real dollars". 

I shudder. 

But, in our defense, part of that giant amount was for three little rolling suitcases. 

So far, on trips to visit family, see Mickey Mouse, or move to England, the kids have just brought along their backpacks as carryons, each stuffed with a blankie, a stuffy, a waterbottle and a book or two, and then shared a large suitcase with their clothing and shoes, usually with me.  But with all the potential for travel in the UK and Europe, and my complaining that I never get a full suitcase to myself while Chris gets three we've been talking about getting them their own. 

So yesterday, instead of just walking past a giant display of American Tourister wheelie bags, suddenly, there were three kids wheeling them along:  a pink, a blue, and a black, happy as little clams.  The amount of delight they showed for walking through the store, then out towards the parking lot, each pulling their own bag, heralded a switch in mood -- and behaviour -- for the better, for all of us. 

Adventures are often just a state of mind, and I know I overuse the word.  But a new suitcase is more than a new suitcase.  It's potential.  It's planning and dreaming and looking at maps and thinking about exploring new places.  I like to think that they (the miscreants) and we (the exhausted, defeated parents) suddenly realized, on some level, that looking ahead to new adventures -- even a sleepover at someone else's house -- is key to leaving a bad week behind.

And maybe, on some level, they saw that they now had the means to pack up and leave home.*

*When I joked about that, Tamsin started crying and said she wanted to stay with me.  I gave in and told her she could stay as long as she wanted, or until she was 18.


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