Monday, June 21, 2010

You can't make this stuff up...

Or, Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in the McDonald's Bathroom.

Or, you can dress them up,

but you can't take them out.

We had quite an eventful weekend.

This weekend marked the last few days of the week that Dave was away in California for work, and his trip to the U.S. Open to celebrate a momentous birthday. Instead of heading to Pebble Beach, the three remaining household members headed to Virden (really, the Pebble Beach of rural Manitoba) to celebrate.

We were heading out to celebrate Airdrie and Kevin's wedding shower and social.

The bride-to-be looked lovely!

Some of our favourite small people were in attendance! Baby Owen, the newest of the cousins, was there and prepared to be shocked by the overwhelming family paparazzi.

Sweet Morgan worked the camera with all the assurance an older sister can bring.

These sweet faces were like an oasis in the desert by the time we finally arrived there.
I was hoping to leave the house by 10 to start the drive. At 9:00 I looked at the clock and thought "well look at that, we're almost ready to go and it's only 9:00."
That's like inviting the Bermuda triangle to relocate to your backyard.
The next hour disappeared into loading the car, coming back in the house for just one more thing, changing one child's clothes because they were soaking wet from playing in the grass, coming back in the house for just one more thing, locating the cat in the neighbours yard after discovering that one of the gates no longer latches, changing my clothes from the muddy cat, and coming back in the house for just one more thing.
All we had to do was get gas on our way out of the city and we'd be off.
At the gas station I decided to get a carwash. After all, we were all now in clean clothes and it would be a shame to get dirty by leaning against the car.
Aaron has a bizarre fear and fascination with car washes. He quite likes the manual type of carwash, but is terrified of the "blue" carwash. It's the type of carwash that has the soft cloth brushes. To him I guess it looks like he's about to be swallowed by a sea of blue octopuses. Octopi?
When we went in to pay for the gas I kept reassuring him that the car wash at THIS particular gas station was a very friendly one, and he continued to whimper with anxiety. The gas station attendant chimed in that indeed it was very friendly and in fact there were little elves that sprung up from nowhere to wash the car, but he'd have to look quickly or he'd miss them.
Ohhhhh so helpful.
So into the carwash we go, with Aaron sitting on my lap to keep him from wailing.
We presoak - no problem.
We soap up - no problem.
And then all the lights go out in the carwash and the door at the other end opens.
Our car is still covered in soap.
No elves.
After sitting in stunned silence for a bit, we drive the soap-mobile out and back around to the front of the gas station.
Again I take both kids out of the car, traipse into the shop, inform the attendant that the elves have gone on strike, get a new carwash slip, put both kids back into the car and head back for round two.
By some miracle we made it through the carwash the second time, fully washed, rinsed and dried, and headed out onto the open road.
Part way there, we made a roadside pitstop because Aaron needed to pee. I'd brought the potty along but as I was standing at the side of the road it seemed SO much smarter to me to just leave the potty in the car and teach my three-year-old how to pee standing up. As he watered the grass it occurred to me that I might have just opened Pandora's box. What was I thinking? It had never occurred to this child before that moment to even TRY peeing standing up.
I spent the next 10 miles waxing poetic about how that was only something we did when we were in the middle of nowhere with no potty and certainly was NOT as much fun as peeing sitting down.
By some miracle he hasn't tried it again since then. I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop.
We stopped in Brandon for some lunch and a chance to play on the climbing structure at McDonald's. After wearing off some energy (and boosting their immune system...) in the climber we made one more trip to the bathroom before loading back up in the car to drive the final leg to Virden. I took all three of us into the wheelchair accessible stall as the bathroom was busy and it was the best way to corral everyone in one spot.
Aaron had his turn.
Meredith had her turn.
As I had my turn, the conversation went something like this:
Aaron: "Mommy, do you have a vagina?"
Mommy (who recognizes this conversation and now feels a deep sense of fear): "Yes"
Aaron: "Does Mer Mer have a vagina?"
Mommy: "Yes"
Meredith (chiming in ever so helpfully): "All girls have vaginas"
Aaron: "Do I have a vagina?"
Meredith: "No Aaron, you're not a girl, you have a penis."
Aaron (now wailing and throwing himself on. the. floor. of. the. stall.): "But I want to be a girl, I want a vaginaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa."
At which point I threatened him with loss of limb if he didn't get off the floor and quickly made a lot of conversation about hurrying up to wash hands and get on the road.
I could hear snickering from inside the stall as the dialogue unfolded, so like any mature adult, headed out of the stall with blinders on pretending not to see anyone else in the bathroom. Meredith washed her hands and I lifted Aaron up to wash his.
The lady at the next sink leaned over and smiled and said: "I've been there. One time my daughter asked her pediatrician if he was going to smell her nuts."
By some miracle we got back into the car without the ground swallowing us up entirely.
The rest of the day proceeded rather tamely by comparison. Aaron didn't break any of the shower gifts, despite his efforts to the contrary, and Meredith ate enough peanut butter marshmallow cake to sink a ship. Best of all we got to relax and visit with family into the evening.

We drove on to Deloraine that night and spent the night at Grandma G's apartment so we could sneak in a visit with her too. Aunt Lois was in from Alberta for a visit, so the kids got reacquainted with her and she won Meredith over for good by sharing the adventure of looking through an old suitcase. The suitcase originally belonged to a great-great aunt I believe, and the things in it were likely my great-aunt Bessie's. After watching her delight in exploring the treasures, Aunt Lois invited Meredith to choose something to bring home. Much to her delight, she chose a little wooden box filled with jewels!

She tells me she has it hidden under her bed, but the exact location is a well-kept secret.
Some cuddles with Grandma G were the biggest treasure of the day though.

The kids fell asleep after only 10 minutes on the road, and stayed asleep for a good portion of the drive home.
By some miracle I get to keep these kids!


  1. Oh my goodness! I was laughing out loud as I read this! Just what I needed tonight :)

  2. Oh Laurel,
    I do love that you still write in your blogg. Like Noreen, I was laughing so hard I almost peed. I love that we as Mother's feel like we are connected even when we don't know each other at all. Could you imagine some stranger telling you about how she asked her pediatrician if he was going to smell her nuts??? But some how when we are mom's it is totally cool to share info like that... if not to simply let each other know that you are not the only one going insane. Love it!!!

  3. hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    omgoodness. poor vaginaless aaron! you will have to remind him of this talk when he is 13 and is too cool for everything. ;D

    ps. my dad used to freak us out at the carwash too. there used to be this big black rubber hanging thing at the end that i guess pulled the water off or something and he would start yelling that it was a huge spider. my dad was slightly bad like that. ;)