Ask any parent who has ever left home without The Paci, The Blankie, The Mimi, or whatever thing their child has deemed necessary for living life; ask them what they do when that happens. Nine times out of ten, they will tell you they stop whatever the hell it is they're doing, turn the car the hell around and go the hell back home and get whatever it is their baby needs, and QUICK. Because the alternative is nothing they want to see. An unprepared parent is cause for disaster and chaos.
Y'all, I was not prepared for Puerto Rico. Disaster and chaos ensued.
When we went to Kauai, Sofia was 14 months old. She was new to walking, she was still kind of clingy and we were there as a family. It was with this naive and wrong expectation that we arrived in Puerto Rico.
I was not ready for a nearly-two-year old. Oh my baby Jesus, I was not ready.
14 month olds and nearly-two year olds might as well be from different planets. Sofia is now a master walker; actually, this tiny human is an effing sprinter. I don't leisurely jog after her anymore. Oh no, my ass is full out running because she is on a mission to kill herself.
And what is it with these suicidal toddlers? The kid can't swim, yet she will barrel high-speed for the deep end of the pool. Life jackets? WTF-ever. You'd have thought her life jacket was made of acid-soaked bees. She burst into tears - Mommy no jacket! Mommy no jacket! Do I force my will, make her wear the jacket? Do I compromise, no jacket but you have to stay in the baby pool? Go back to the room? Distract her? I choose all of the above at some point. Making her put on the jacket lasts for about ten seconds and I choose not to die on that mountain. She's good until she decides that doing the stairs would be more fun.
Except she's not so great with stairs, so of course she finds the highest flight of rough-hewn stone effing steps, ending on a stone effing patio and calls herself walking down like a big girl. You know, standing straight up, one step, one foot at a time. None of this sitting down, turning around and going down on your hands and knees. Pssh. That's for babies.
Except she can't do it. So she's all kinds of unsteady, won't take my hand and gives me a heart attack because all I see are Stairs of Death, taking a trip to the Puerto Rican ER, head injuries, blood and stitches.
She makes it down the steps, only to run to the aforementioned Pool of Death. I narrowly keep her from diving in, which in turn brings out the tantrum of the century, because who the hell do I think I am, keeping her from killing herself. Where do I get off?
I appease her with the baby pool, which is good for about ten seconds before once again, she's all "Stairs! Stairs!" I sigh, we get out of the baby pool and why are there so many stairs? Am I the only one who sees all these stairs of death?
This is not a resort; we're here for Drew's work, so we're in the middle of the city. Sidewalks are narrow, traffic is thick. There is only one speed - Death. We have to go to the Walgreens because she has a cold and is going through Boogie Wipes like crazy. I get the stupid effing idea to let her walk; she'll get out some of that energy, I think. Ha.
Sofia thinks running out into traffic is the best idea she's ever had. The short walk to Walgreens becomes part obstacle course, avoiding all the dirty city stuff that's on every city sidewalk no matter where you are; part herding cats, because Sofia wants to explore, she needs to see, touch, taste everything Nooo don't touch that, it's dirty! Stay on this side of me, hold hands now, come on baby let's go this way!
Every subsequent trip away from the hotel we take the stroller and I hate it because I want her to be able to get out and see and touch and taste but faaaaahhhhck.
Lather, rinse, repeat for eight days. The first few days, Drew was with us and it was better because you need at least two sets of hands to deal with a toddler. He takes her to the ocean and I look on, because the water is 12 degrees and I don't do cold. They build sand castles and I take pictures and it feels like vacation. This is the good part.
But then he goes to work and then it's just me. All me, all the time and I'm not prepared. I can't eat because the restaurant is a new place that must be explored. Sitting in the high chair is the dumbest thing in the world and she must get down and look at all the things. I give in; there aren't that many people, there's nothing in the immediate area that can kill her. Ha.
The escalator is right outside the restaurant and in a matter of seconds, she has run out of the restaurant and has made a beeline for the escalator. And here I thought stone steps were bad. I wasn't prepared for the Escalator of Death. I catch her right before she gets to it and we go back to our seat, her loudly loudly protesting and doing her best impression of an angry octopus. The rest of all my meals are eaten standing up.
We go to Drew's work dinners - at 7:30 at night. Bedtime is 8pm sharp and her head starts spinning at 8:02. If she could talk like that, she'd say Whyyyy am I awake? What is wrong with you people? Put me in bed!!! So of course we have the angry octopus at dinner. The work people look at me with a mixture of sympathy and pity. I'm not used to that and I hate it. We get smarter about it and I eat alone - standing up - at 6pm and she's in bed by 8. So am I. Drew is off doing his work thing somewhere.
Yesterday, finally, he's done with his work stuff and we walk to dinner - Sofia in the stroller, the two of us together. I can breathe again. I tell him everything that I've been doing while he's been gone. The running into traffic, into the pool, into the escalators, the stairs, the angry octopus, all of it. I unload because I was unprepared and I'm tired and I need to vent.
He hears nothing but negativity and ungratefulness and says I'm not even trying to enjoy myself.
"You need to rethink your priorities as a mother."
I don't need to tell you that them's be fightin' words. We go to bed a little after 8, feelings hurt all around. I'm sad that we fought in front of our daughter.
Today is a new day. He apologizes, I'm still hurt because I don't feel heard or appreciated, he feels the same. He takes the baby so I can have a proper shower - my second one of the trip.
I write to put down the burden. This is our last day and I want to enjoy it as much as we can.
Holy BALLS, I was not prepared for this.