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October 25, 2021

grad party, vacation, college drop off in 1 week, some meltdowns & PHOTOS

Remember when I went to the party at Aunt Leprechaun's lake house and there was no party? Well, that was the DAY befor
e I was leaving to live in a hotel with the boys. I HAD SO MUCH TO DO - MAKE MEALS FOR AT HOME AND TO TAKE ALONG, PACK STUFF FOR THEM TO DO, LEAVE LISTS FOR MY KIDS SO THEY KNEW WHAT TO DO WHEN I WAS GONE, ETC. 

Can I get a NO WONDER THAT WASTED TRIP MADE YOU LOSE YOUR MIND amen?

We plugged along with the boys showing them the ropes here. Coach and I divided and conquered to read with them daily. Our kids took turns listening to them read, too. It wasn't their favorite thing (the boys or my kids), but we made it work. Once Mini called out:  OK, WHO WANTS TO READ WITH THEIR FAVORITE SISTER? I laughed. 

Getting pasta made for
 the big party. Never dull.

They wrote in their journals, responding to prompts I gave them, and as we got busier doing fun things the prompts became "TODAY, I . . . " - and they responded with what they'd done.

Mini decorated the dry erase board
 with a caricature of Tank.
She had a big fan
observe her every move
- to the right.

Saturday, August 7th we hosted Tank's grad party and introduced the boys to relatives. We were a tad nervous. This might end badly. We'd dealt with some meltdowns along the way. We also wondered if they might feel overwhelmed. They had an absolute blast though, playing nonstop. They started to meltdown when at long last we called them in to get ready for bed. I gave Coach an OH SHIT look - as in, here we go.

We gave them 15 more minutes. That helped, but we still got attitude when we finally pulled the plug. I pointed to the clock and then to the bedtime routine listed on the fridge, which had become a necessary visual after some bedtime fits by Larry (the younger and typically better behaved guy). 

Me:  ACCORDING TO THIS, WE LET YOU STAY UP PAST YOUR BEDTIME, BECAUSE IT WAS A PARTY. NOW  YOU NEED TO GET SHOWERED AND READY FOR BED. ALL THE COUSINS YOU WERE JUST PLAYING WITH ARE LEAVING THE PARTY BECAUSE THEY NEED TO GO HOME TO BED TOO. 

While Harry was in the shower, I took down the globe in the boys' room and showed Larry where my brother, Pat, was. He and his family were in Ireland. They took a plane across an ocean, etc. We looked at other places, like Florida, which is where Debbie had just gone on vacation when I hung out with them at the hotel. 

The globe cast a spell on him and the bedtime concept no longer set him off. Bullet dodged. 

The older boys drove separate
and weren't there the whole time.
This is Reg flipping kids
 off of his shoulders. 
Sunday - as in the day AFTER we hosted a party - we left for vacation to a house near the beach in South Haven, Michigan for 4 days. I'm not gonna lie - it was a great time. We had a blast. The kids enjoyed hanging out on the beach. At one point, Coach and I stood at the edge of the water and watched our 6 kids tossing Harry and Larry in the air, putting them on their shoulders, and jumping in the waves together. We were in awe. It was something to behold.

How many kids can fit in a hot tub? This was
 a big hit at the last minute rental house.
 We'd hoped to do a short vacay, but it
was tough to find a place to work with our dates.
Someone must've cancelled this Airbnb
last minute. Score. It was perfect for us.  
Back home Wednesday, we switched gears and packed Tank for college. We left with him on Friday. If you are noticing a pattern of HOW CRAZY A WEEK THIS STRETCH WAS, then you aren't missing a thing.

Thursday, the night before we drove Tank, Coach was at work. I made chicken tacos for dinner. Tank and I scheduled one hour to review stuff on his list and get everything ready for the car. Between his jobs and his friends, he is hard to nail down. Harry didn't like the chicken tacos. We'd had them before and he did OK with them. Instead of eating them this night, he kept swiveling his head watching Larry enjoy his dinner. It made Harry crazy. As if Larry eating well was making him look bad. He wouldn't even try a bite. 

Finally I called out:  HEY REG, WHY DON'T YOU HAVE LARRY (who was done eating) GO PICK OUT MOVIES TO BRING IN THE CAR. I THINK WHOEVER EATS WELL CAN WATCH A MOVIE WHILE WE DRIVE.

Harry had been fighting with me about dinner for so long, that movie idea suddenly got his attention. 

Harry:  CAN WE MAKE A DEAL? IF I EAT HALF MY TACO CAN I WATCH A MOVIE IN THE CAR? 

I agreed. 

Understand, I'd already offered to re-heat it.  He'd wasted so much of my time. I was frustrated. I'd already told him he wasn't going back outside to play after dinner. It was shower and bed for him. I knew he could eat that dinner as he had before. It wasn't necessarily his favorite, but that's the way it goes. He thought that since he FINALLY ate a few bites, he could go outside, etc. I was like NOPE. GAME OVER. 

I sent him up to shower and go to bed and he screamed and hollered at me,  interfering with my ONE HOUR with Tank. Tank was not having it. He walked into Harry's room and screamed in his face to get in bed. Pretty sure that's not an approved method for these two boys, but at this point I needed to get ready to leave in the morning. The girls were staying home with Ed and Reg. It would be Tank and the boys and Coach and I in the minivan for 6.5 hours. We were waking up early. I was at the end of my rope. 

The college drop off went fine, but Tank's anxiety made him a little on edge. He barked at the boys as we set up the room. Tank's roomie wasn't there yet. When he arrived, the boys blabbed the stuff you don't share:  THIS BED HAS A BROKEN LEG, IT WIGGLES - SO WE SWTICHED TANK'S MATTRESS TO THAT ONE. OH, WE MOVED THE FRIDGE OVER THERE SO IT'S NOT ON TANK'S SIDE. 

They weren't picking up on our facial cues to shut the pie hole. Ah well. They had a few things to learn. 

Token Dwight tapestry.

Coach and I ended up knowing SO MANY people in town dropping off kids at Creighton. My sister, Marie, texted me - her college roomie who lives in Colorado was there. I texted her and we planned to meet. I hadn't seen her since Marie's wedding like 27 years ago. We had more invites to go hang out at a bar then we EVER get when at home. 

I urged Coach to go out with his college buddy after we got the boys to bed in the hotel. I was SO tired from the week we'd had that I honestly couldn't move. Coach took a pass.

 Just before we fell into what felt like a coma sleep, I told Coach:  YOU KNOW THERE ARE PEAKS AND VALLEYS TO THIS PROCESS. I'M DEFINITELY FEELING LIKE I'M IN A VALLEY HERE. WE APPEAR TO BE ABOUT THE ONLY PEOPLE WHO BROUGHT A 9 AND 10 YEAR OLD TO COLLEGE DROP OFF. UGH. WHAT HAVE WE DONE? WHEN WE COME BACK FOR FAMILY WEEKEND, WE ARE GOING TO GO OUT WITH FRIENDS AND LEAVE THE BIG KIDS HERE TO BABYSIT. 

Stay tuned:  tomorrow I'll try to share some bullet points. There are some rough times ahead.

16 comments:

Nicole MacPherson said...

I am exhausted just reading this. I don't know how you did it! What a crazy week. I remember you originally writing about this week and it seemed exhausting, and that's without two extra, new kids!

Ernie said...

Nicole - You are right, I did share this crazy week already. Having the boys along added a whole new dimension. They were starting to show some challenging behavior. Tank was NOT happy that they were coming along when we dropped him off at college. Fortunately we were able to fit all of his stuff in the minivan trunk and side door by putting down one captain seat. If we'd had to lower both captain seats and stuck him between them in the last row of seats for over 6 hours, not sure we would've made it. ;)

Jenny in WV said...

My sister is 8 years younger than me, so my parents brought a 10 year old to college drop off. :)

You certainly had a super busy August!

Ernie said...

Jenny - Well, I know it happens and I saw a few other kiddos, but we were definitely in the minority and feeling it. That week was such a blur. I knew going in it was going to be hectic, but dear Lord. When Yellowstone got cancelled, we figured we'd do a few days at a beach. The kids always enjoy that. With everyone's schedules and wanting to wait till the boys had arrived and had slightly settled in - well, we had very few options.

Kari Wagner Hoban said...

We brought Ella (in fifth grade) to Anna's college drop off sophomore year, but Anna was used to her. LOL

I think you should bring a flask of whiskey with you everywhere you go. You could call it "Mommy juice." Just a smidgeon of something to take the edge off. You, my friend, deserve it.

Xoxo

Ernie said...

Kari - I imagine that for a sibling who has been around since the get-go, dropping off at college might be emotional and also helpful to see where big sis/bro will be, especially a younger sibling. The boys really weren't bad that weekend. Thank goodness. Stuff we saw from them later made me shudder, thinking GLAD THIS DIDN'T HAPPEN WHEN WE TOOK THEM OUT OF TOWN.

I love the flask idea. Wondering if that could be one of those times when I could ask for forgiveness instead of permission. Of course my flask would be full of Mike's Cranberry Hard Lemonade. Hell, who needs a flask for that - pour that into a tall drinking cup and act like it's crystal light. ;)

me said...

How did you manage to keep this to yourself while telling the stories earlier - what a time! Hopefully as the boys get into a routine and feel more secure, their behavior will improve. Or is that when the good behavior goes to pot?
We haven't done too many college drop offs with little kids - my preferred method is put suitcases in their hands and ship them off on a plane. Otherwise, my husband drives them, maybe lugging along a sibling who needs driving time on their learner's permit. (Two birds, one stone!) We have done college tours and orientation with babies and toddlers - the little kids get lots of swag because they're so cute.

Pat Birnie said...

Oh my lordy, this makes my past busy life with 4 sound like a walk in the park! I continue to be in awe of all of you - how you and Coach deal with issues, how all 6 of your kids played in the ocean with these 2, the "favourite sister" comment made me laugh as well. I loved how they blabbed to Tank's roommate - I hope he is easygoing!

I am sure there have been many bumps and challenges along the way. I am so cheering for all of you and those little boys.

Beth Cotell said...

How in the world are you managing all of this???? You deserve a jewel laden crown and some wine or margaritas!

Ernie said...

me - I am not brave enough to have a learning permit kid drive with more than one parent plus a long distance on an expressway, sheesh. I'd go mad.

It has been very hard to tell some stuff without all the stuff. It's coming. I might do an info dump here this week as there is so much to catch you all up on and reliving it sometimes very challenging, or therapeutic depending.

At this point we'd seen manageable, yet irritating behavior. There is much more to come.

Ernie said...

Pat - It does make my head spin to look back at certain days and weeks that were insanely hectic. Keeping lists and checking things off was the only way to survive - that and my workouts. Stress relief 101. The roommate was pretty easy going about it - I mean the fridge could easily be moved it was just sort of in front of the closet door and seemed like a better spot was out of the way. We told his roomie, who in real life has the same name as Reg, and we joke that Tank can't escape rooming with a Reg - that we'd just moved it out of the way but that he and Tank could decide how to set the room up. Tank is also QUITE a bit taller than his roomie Reg, so I was glad we'd swapped out the beds. I'm sure the other one was fine, it just rocked a tad as one leg had a hairline crack in it. Tank was about to blow a gasket.

Ernie said...

Beth - I don't drink much or often . . . this whole situation might be the time to change that.

Gigi said...

Those boys are so fortunate to have your family.

Ernie said...

Thanks, Gigi.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Honestly, I sincerely bow down to you. How the hell did you do all of this? TOO much going on, I would have had a meltdown and you'd find me in a closet, hiding.

Mini again with her natural art abilities! Bravo

Ernie said...

Suz - It wasn't pretty. The house was clean for the party, so at least I had that going for me, oh AND lots of pasta leftovers and cake from the party. We carted that food around to Michigan and then to Omaha. So, I guess that's how I did it. Except for the chicken tacos, I didn't make meals. That and my lists. It did suck that I couldn't swear though because the boys were present and accounted for. Um, that's my go to in stressful times. Cussing. Nothing like challenging myself to eliminate potty mouth that week.

Mini redrew that dry erase board too many times to count. Tank was like WHY DO I LOOK SO ETHNIC? He didn't notice me standing behind her motioning NOT TO NIT PICK IT. Mini is blessed with thick skin, so she survived and she opted not to erase it AGAIN.