After four days with two toddlers, I was jolted back to reality, today. There really are three of them. THREE TODDLERS. Not one. Not two. But three. God help me. There are three of them.
Throughout the weekend, I would query the girls "Where's Carolyn Grace?" and while Elizabeth would enthusiastically point at her sister, Carolyn would smile brightly. I'd then query Carolyn, "Where's Elizabeth?" and while Carolyn would happily point to her sister - Elizabeth would giggle. When I'd ask "Where's mommy?" they'd point to me. But when I'd ask "Where's daddy and William??" the smiles would disappear and they would run around looking behind the corners, behind the curtains, behind the sofa - any place where their dad or brother might possibly be hiding. They would come back to me looking confused and I'd tell them "They went bye-bye ... but they'll be back soon!"
The reunion at the airport yesterday was awesome. My arrival was perfectly coincided with Charlie and William coming out to the curb. As soon as William saw me, he started to cry ... which hopefully indicated he was brought to tears from seeing his mother again and not due to fear because of some crazy lady running up to him and shouting 'MY BABY!! MY BABY!!'
I unloaded William from his stroller and let him climb in the car to see his sisters. What unfolded in the next 60 seconds was probably the sweetest moment I have ever witnessed in my entire life. The children were so happy to see one another and when William reached out to gently touch Elizabeth's face ... and then leaned in to give her a kiss ... I thought I would melt on the spot. He reached across to touch Carolyn also - but unfortunately, I wasn't able to catch that on film. There is no doubt ... these kids have a bond.
We picked up some pizza on the way home from the airport and after dinner, while the kids ran around and played, Charlie filled me in on his trip. I suppose the most important development is that on Thursday night, after several bottles of wine with his sister Susan and brother-in-law, Jeff ... Charlie made plans to relocate our entire family to New Zealand. I'm not sure where exactly we are going or what we'll do when we get there.
On Saturday, Charlie was out looking at real estate in Sonoma County with his brother Steve and sister-in-law Kathy ... and apparently, he has a potential job opportunity lined up. And to think, I assumed that if we were wrapping our cable, internet and phone service together - we had a long term commitment to San Diego.
Whenever we travel on vacation, we always come home with these illusions of moving to the place we just visited. It always happens. Although, I'm not sure where New Zealand falls in to this picture. I've never been, although Charlie did once spend a semester abroad there.
I can't say how many times we've gone on trips and either met with a real estate agent to show us different properties and/or had job interviews lined up before we went home. It has never happened that we've traveled somewhere and not imagined living there. Everyplace that we visit always seems so much better than where we live ... until we come back to San Diego and are reminded that there is no better weather anywhere in the country ... than right here.
This isn't to say we will never move. Because according to Charlie, if the job in Sonoma County falls through - we'll be someplace in New Zealand by 2008. Besides, being close to family certainly does have it's advantages. Like today, it would have been wonderful to have family nearby...
Within a few minutes of the children waking up this morning, I was reminded of the 1983 made-for-television movie "The Day After". I could probably script my own movie that would rival the horror of World War III. Alright, that might be a stretch ... but ... today was one of the most challenging days I ever remember in my entire parenting career.
Why didn't anybody tell me that the day after a vacation would be so hard???
Today, I had three children that were completely out of control. They were fighting, climbing on everything and everybody, biting, screaming, fighting, screaming, biting, fighting, climbing, screaming, biting, fighting.
What happened to the airport love from yesterday?!
These children were absolutely wreaking havoc in my world. Was it really this crazy before and I just don't remember the chaos?? Is it possible that three toddlers really are THAT much harder than two?? Are these children really mine?? For the record: YES. YES. YES.
After 15-minutes of being left alone with all three kids, I called Charlie to ask if it would be a terribly bad idea for him to rent a house at the end of the street where he would live with one child. I could live at home with the other two, and we'd visit for playdates. Charlie just laughed. I don't know why he never takes me seriously. He said it would help alot if I drank coffee and how would I like it if he brought me home a cappuccino?
Nah, I don't need a cappuccino. I need a padded room and a bottle of vodka.
I'm leaving tomorrow for the next four days on a business trip. Hopefully, Charlie can get this chaos under control before I return ... or else I'll meet him in New Zealand.
(Just as I was about to hit 'post' Charlie informed me that our dishwasher is broken. This is the second time in less than a month it has conked out on us. Taking on a week with no dishwasher and three 23-month old children, by yourself. It's a good thing he drinks coffee.)
Here are some of the pictures from Charlie & William's trip to northern California. I know that they had a wonderful time and I want to thank Sue & Jeff and Steve & Kathy for all of their hospitality and special accommodations they made for having a toddler in their homes. A special thanks must also go to Kathy for the incredible new bibs that you made (really - your bibs are the only ones we use!), for the awesome biscotti (it was so nice of you to remember how much