July 05, 2017

Vacations with kids are like vacations from sanity.

We went on a mini vacation for Canada Day. June was a painfully busy month for us, with something happening every weekend that meant we didn't get to spend any Saturdays together as a family and Sundays are always busy. We were tired, forgetting what it meant to spend proper time together without other commitments, and I was looking forward to napping on our 7 1/2 hour car ride to Edmonton to visit Larissa's family. Somehow I always forget that children don't like to nap in the car as much as I do.

Last week Parker skipped a nap and I almost kicked him out of the house. I contemplated going back to work then and there. Sorry, Molly, maternity leave is getting cut short. He napped the next day, though, so I forgave him and gave him a terrible haircut instead. I didn't mean to, it just sort of happened and, really, I'm punishing myself more than anything. I'm the one that has to look at him all the time.

When we left Friday morning we got the kids up an hour early so we could make it to the doughnut shop in Edmonton before they closed. Naturally that led to two overtired children that screamed for a solid hour before our first stop. One would start to calm down just in time for the other to start up and they'd feed off each other's cries. Nothing gets your heart rate going in the morning quite like two kids having a scream-off.

We had a great time with our friends, having one last Alberta hoorah before they move next week. We ate doughnuts, went to the zoo, visited IKEA, and played games. It was wonderful, with one small exception that's about two and a half feet tall and suffers from some serious bedtime FOMO.

At home Parker doesn't always want to go to bed at designated sleep times. I get it, I'm a lot of fun to hang out with and he just wants to keep the party going. Unfortunately for him, I take sleep very seriously. Very, very seriously. This sometimes leads to him resisting sleep times and me walking away with my figurative fingers in the air to have my own party without him. Basically what I'm saying is, Parker screams and for the most part I just let him.

While we were away, Parker decided he didn't want to nap. Forget that he hadn't gotten much sleep on our way there, he just really didn't want to miss the fun party. On Saturday, the day he walked around the entire Edmonton Zoo, we eventually we got tired of his screaming and let him skip his nap.

That night, he raged a bit at bedtime but went down relatively easy. I tiptoed downstairs to check on him and Molly and stepped on a noisy toy. There is nothing more heart-stopping than trying to spy on your freshly sleeping child and having animal noises come from the vicinity of your feet. When I picked up the toy I set it off again. I hustled as quietly as possible out of the room to get rid of the offending so I could try one last time to look at the kids. I put the toy down on the chest freezer only to have it slide off and start making noise again the moment I opened the door to sneak back in. At that point I gave up. Either the kids were asleep or dead because they didn't react and it was out of my hands anyway.

The next day we tricked him and did some driving around right at nap time. He slept for 45 minutes in the car. Not great, but better than nothing. We figured he'd sleep like a boss that night. We were so very wrong.

On our last night there Parker decided he was done with the playpen. So done, in fact, that he taught himself to climb out of it and stand, screaming, at the door to the room he was sleeping in (the living space of our friends' vacant suite). He's a resourceful child so he managed to lock himself in a couple times, but thankfully there was a spare key. It funny and sad all at once when your tired but raging child keeps locking himself in a room he's trying desperately to escape from.

I was not ready for the stress of a rabid toddler. Hell hath no fury like the uncaged two year old that knows you're hanging out without him. I won't go into all the details, lest you think I'm a really terrible parent, but I'll just say that nothing we did could soothe him or coax him to sleep. After three hours of his raging (I cringe just remembering it) he didn't pass out in front of the door, so we gave in. I, like the United States of America, have a policy not to give into terrorists but I would like to see any president, past or present, stand up to my son longer than I did. 

We brought him upstairs to happily terrorize our card game. Eventually I ran out of steam and we all went to bed. And when I say "we all" I'm obviously not including Parker in that because it was only 11:30. Karl let me sleep (or try to) while Parker played in the main room and he lay on the couch. Finally, at 1 a.m. Parker literally fell over and passed out. Only, of course, to climb out of his playpen at 7 a,m, and scream at me through our closed door.

I decided we were never taking him anywhere again, at least not until he was out of his crib in 3 - 4 years. Then I remembered that we've got plans for a month and a half from now. As tempted as I was to cancel all future holidays with children, someone reminded me that sleep sacks are great containment devices. 

I was desperately hoping that Mr Playpen Houdini wouldn't use his newfound skills to ruin my life at home but, sure enough, Monday night he got out of his crib shortly after I put him to bed. 

I didn't cry, I just shoved him in a sleep sack, sent Karl to the store to buy more, and have since invested in stocks in them. I'm happy to say that Parker is now lovingly contained in a pink floral Aden & Anaias number because that's all they had at the store. It certainly brings out his eyes, though.

Parker also picked a great time to need to sleep in a blanket bag because our air conditioner died on Monday and our house is hotter than the face of the sun. But he's still in his crib and that's all that really matters.


  1. Did Parker somehow communicate with Imogen? She had a rough night last night, too...except she's not *quite* strong enough to climb out of anything.

    Seriously though, don't these kids realize how good they have it with their unlimited time to sleep??

  2. Oh my goodness...I am so sorry you are going through all the sleep woes right now!

    Apparently when I was little I was so sure I was missing all kinds of fun when my parents tried to put me to bed, so I always told them "Sleep is stupid". Oh, how wrong I was! My mom is quick to remind me of this whenever I mention Jackson has missed a nap or didn't sleep well.

    1. Also, sleep sacks are a blessing straight from heaven.

  3. I wanted to equal parts laugh hysterically and sob all the way through this. It is SO FUNNY (I've missed your writing) but I felt like was living it with you. Nothing derails me faster than my child not sleeping. I could feel your dread and your pain all over again even though we've already talked about it.

    I'm so glad he's staying put in those sleep sacks. Gracie has yet to get out of her crib (Jesus take the wheel if she does), but she could get out of straight jacket. Those sleep sacks wouldn't stand a chance.

  4. Sending lots of good thoughts for more sleep!!!


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