|Paradise Lost: the kids' room|
I reached that point on Day Two here in Hawai'i. The kids were fighting incessantly and unceasingly. If the second word is a redundant synonym, I apologise, I just wanted to cover every minute of their waking hours. The two middle kids actually disagreed this morning about how much they fight.
Me: You two kids fight all the time, it's unbelievable!
Middle child one: You've got to be kidding me, we don't fight ALL the time.
Middle child two: Yes we do! You've got to be kidding me, we fight all the time!
And so on for an hour. They nudge, push, pull and trip. And when we plead with them to stop, they persist, but quietly, whispering and hissing. The other two stir the pot. This is nothing new but somehow I thought a brighter tropical sun might burn off the squabble haze enveloping the Bickerville Four. Silly old me.
And yes, maybe I thought staying in a nice hotel would provide a buffer. But in fact it doesn't matter what you pay and where you go: hotels are simply expensive camping. Would you close off the rest of your house and live in your bedroom for a week? Trudge around a triangle of 100 feet from bedroom to food to a pool where 150 kids have peed in the last 12 hours? Hand wash your work-out gear every night and attend a yoga class in a room the size of a box? Watch Cy, seven, select his clothing from the dirty washing bag every day?
Would you go to restaurants where the lettuce is brown and wilty, the chicken over-salted and tired because you're on an island and almost everything on the menu is shipped (even some of the fish) from the US ....and even the smallest and simplest of meals costs $20 and upwards? At $15 a glass, drink wine you've never heard of, and not in a good way.
The breakfast conversations make it all worthwhile though. Did I ever tell you my kids don't talk much? The one exception being the three boys will have lengthy discussions about college basketball players. If they do mention non college basketball-playing people in their lives they have four categories: "nice" "okay" "kinda annoying" and "super-annoying." Sooo... I say brightly and hopefully - in what way is that person "super-annoying"? Give me some examples. At this point there is a glimmer of faint camaraderie amongst the kids when they all glance at each other wide-eyed, smile and chorus: "Dunno. They're just SUPER-ANNOYING!!! O. Kaaay???" and go back to eating their Fruit Loops.
To be fair, seven year old Cy does talk a wee bit. And for this vacation he's decided to speak all day in a cockney accent, the authenticity of which rivals Dick Van Dyke playing Ned the chimney sweep in Mary Poppin. "Hey ho me guvnors wha a' ya doin' in thar - eh, eh? Bit of a larf eh? eh???" he calls as he knocks on our door at 6.30am. (We just had two complaints about this.)
Cy has also somehow picked up a very sweet trait: during his sentences he'll introduce the word "Mother" while raising his middle finger (the wrong way, but I'm not going to tell him that).
And then of course there is Tallulah, 10, who talks a bit but only sometimes. Last night Tallulah appeared at our bathroom door. Kevin was brushing his teeth while I was in bed. Not knowing I could hear her through the air vents, she soliloquized richly about the ills of being the only girl amongst three brothers and the various injustices leveled against her during the day, including but not confined to: everyone else likes playing football on the beach but she wants to go horse-back riding; everyone else wants to swim in the sea, she likes the pool better; we always take other peoples' sides and don't realise she's always in the right; we don't tell off Cy because he's cute and the youngest.....
After a half hour of this, I heard her say to Kevin: "Do you think I'm like Mum?"
That was sort of sweet of her and I smiled as I adjusted my legs ... it was hard to feel comfortable because our bed was sloping to the left and I was lying on the thin edge of the wedge.
"Do you think I'm like Mum?" Tallulah asked again"Always complaining all the time?"
It's the next morning and we're on the beach. It hasn't rained for a year in Maui and now it's pissing down. Mother finger.
|Me and Jackson in the rain|