My mother has a saying that after three days, both dead fish and relatives go bad.
And while nothing went "bad" staying at my mother's house, she and Jim are in a two bedroom condominium and there were seven of us. Including one, small one, that goes by the name of Henry and who is higher maintenance than I ever recall with the triplets.
Then again, it's a well known fact that I tend to forget things. Rather quickly.
My mother told me that she has raised a lot of three-year-olds and none of them ever screamed like Henry. And when I say he screams, I mean he BLOODY SCREAMS. Then, he runs as fast as his little legs will take him, in the exact opposite direction, usually while carrying a stick or something equally pointy.
People will often comment to me, that the triplets are so well behaved and courteous and it's entirely true. My children are wonderful. They are fantastic sharers, they include children that they don't know in whatever games they are playing and they are polite. (Most of the time). They really are exceptional, if I may say so myself. But they haven't always been this way. It's taken a lot of work for both Charlie and I to get them to this point.
I'm confident Henry won't always be "this" way. But he is right now.
And sometimes, it's difficult.
He's not spoiled.
He's a newly turned three-year-old and three-year-olds are TOUGH.
While I don't want to make excuses, I do seek to try and understand why my children act the way they they do. And in Henry's case, he doesn't grasp what is going on in his world as much as his older siblings. As far as he is concerned, he is getting bounced from place to place to place to place and HEY! WHERE THE HECK IS MY BED? His schedule is totally thrown off, his diet is totally thrown off, and try as I might, he hasn't had a decent nap in weeks.
So, if you take one emotionally and physically exhausted three-year-old toddler that runs around SCREAMING, and one overly hypersensitive 39-year old mother. And you add three five-year-olds who won't stop talking and cannot remember to flush, a 77-year-old grandmother who just had a full knee replacement, and an 86-year-old step grandfather who is a lot like a little kid, himself. And then you stick them all in a 600-square foot space for almost 18 days, or approximately SIX TIMES the recommended allowance for direct familial exposure, what do you get?
You get me hyperventilating, "Retreat! Retreat! Retreat!"
On Wednesday evening, an hour before bedtime, I quickly packed everyone up and we left for a local hotel. In the midst of one of Henry's "moments" ... me, being the extraordinary drama queen that I am, was in such a rush to get out, I literally ran out the door wearing my wet bathing suit with three children in tow and one firmly tucked under my arm.
My mother was very disappointed to see us all go, but I feel like it's important that we keep our relationship in tact, and I was truly worried that it would demise before my eyes if we continued to stay and completely wear out our welcome. Besides I know what I need to do to handle Henry and part of that includes having an abdundance of patience (and space) while he outgrows this "challenging" stage.
I am so appreciative of everything my mother and Jim have done for us over the last month, but right now, I feel like having all of us there is too much for them, and too much for ME.
On the brightside, each one of the children (except Henry) are having some quality one-on-one time with their Noni and Jimbo. My plan between now and the time that we drive back to Virginia early next week, is to let each one of the triplets spend a night away, by themselves. Considering this is the first time that they've spent the night away from both Charlie and I, this is a very big deal.
Tonight it was Carolyn's turn to spend the night, and she's never looked so happy in her entire life. When I kissed her good bye and reminded her to say her prayers and brush her teeth before bed, she nodded excitedly. Then she walked me to the door and pushing me out said, "You need to go now, Mom. You can come back and get me in 10 years. Okay?"
Isn't that so sweet?
Yes, it really warms my heart to know she'll miss me so much.
I'm sure she's counting down the minutes.