I am a much, much better mom when we are out of the house. It's just the truth.
A few weeks ago, the girls and I met Noni, Bop, and the boys at the Knoxville Zoo for 7 hours. It was basically from open to close, because that is how we do a zoo.
Noni and Bop let them do the camel ride. I love their faces- Anderson all cool and nonchalant about "of course I am on a camel." Lily grinning.
Max knocked down the towers as fast as I could build them.
Reese thinks she is 5 years old, too.
There was a charade game, and Lily was FRANTIC for Anderson to win a prize after she won. She kept trying to push him to the front: "He's my cousin!"
Lily hitching a ride with Noni (after I said I wouldn't push her with Reesie). We drove an hour and a half home- sweaty, a little wet from the splash pad, covered in ice cream, sunblock, and sand. It was perfect.
Our Children's Museum has a bank office. Reesie has a lot of work to do- no time for interruptions. When she is focused on something, she reminds me so much of baby Lily.
When we are home, this is what Lily does- take these beautiful pictures on my phone.
Last Monday, we met Noni, Bop, and the boys at Dollywood with apparently the rest of East Tennessee. We got there at 9:30, before they even opened, and we had big plans.
Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. While we were waiting in line for the very first ride (the antique cars), every kid in the line was hanging on the bars, including our kids. Pops and I were completely preoccupied with trying to keep Reese and Max in our reach; I will be honest- I was barely paying any attention to the bigger cousins unless it was yell at one of them to grab an escaped baby. We waited for almost 40 minutes, because it was CROWDED.
As we neared the front-ish of the line, we heard a thud, a collective gasp from everyone in the area, and Anderson screaming "It's broken!!!!!! It's broken!!!!" All in one second. It is terrifying how something can happen in an instant. I grabbed him immediately and tried to stop myself from hyperventilating.At some point while I was attempting to console him with 60 people staring at me in a really cramped line space, Lily brought Reese and Max back to us. Thank GOD for Lily saving them from their escape attempt, because I basically forgot the babies were even with us. I should never be in charge in any sort of emergency. Mom appeared at the end of the line somehow- could she hear him outside the building? Does she have Noni sonar that alerted her that something was wrong? She just appeared and took him. At first, we honestly thought everything was okay. He looked pitiful, but he barely cried for more than 3 minutes. I googled "broken wrist" and read the information from the Mayo Clinic outloud as we all stared at his wrist. It seemed like if it was really broken, he would be crying? Right? Melissa was at work, leading a faculty meeting, so we didn't want to call her. Unfortunately, google wasn't telling us specifically what to do next.
Mom decided to take him to the First Aid clinic. They were precious and overly concerned, but the verdict was basically- it is either sprained, broken, or completely fine. Right. Thank you, Dollywood First Aid Clinic.
Mom and Pops decided to leave, even though the poor boys didn't get to do a single ride. She called Melissa and they took him to the doctor. He broke both bones in his wrist! I have never seen this kind of pain tolerance. He barely cried, and he was back out playing basketball and soccer 12 hours later.
My sister gives a sweet and entertaining version of the broken wrist on her blog.
So...I feel a bit embarrassed posting these pictures next. I debated leaving, mainly out of solidarity and compassion for Anderson. But, we had just driven two hours and I wasn't going to Knoxville that night, so there was really no reason to leave. Well, except for the fact that I would be alone with my girls all day at Dollywood. All day people kept coming up and asking, "How is the little boy?" "Is your little guy okay?"
All in one breath, I would try to explain: "He is okay / His wrist is broken in two places, but he is amazing and such a trooper/ I am his aunt, and I love him so much, but he lives in Knoxville, and we live in Bristol, so it wasn't like I was going to be able to help / so, I stayed here with my girls and we are calling and checking in on him a lot / Thank you so much for asking." I said all of that in one breath, because I felt awful that I was just still at Dollywood while he was getting a cast. People were so sweet with their concern, though. Probably 5 different moms came up to ask me about him throughout the day.
Dollywood alone (along with approximately 25,000 rednecks) was an experience. There were several rides that Lily could only do with an adult, and I obviously couldn't just leave Reese. I consoled Lily by letting her do the overpriced gem mining and get ice cream. The lines for rides and food required hour long waits- we didn't eat lunch until 3. But, thankfully I brought enough snacks for a week. Mainly, I was haunted by thoughts of what should I have done differently when we were waiting in line for the car ride. Clearly, I should have told Anderson and Lily to get off of the bars, but at the time I was just happy they were entertained. Sigh. #auntguilt
This was obviously the best part of the entire day. It lasted 30 glorious, beautiful minutes. My sweet, sleepy Asian girls.
We stayed for 9 hours and left at closing time to drive 2 hours back home. Despite being exhausted, it was a really fulfilling day. (With the obvious exception of Anderson's broken wrist). We are all so much happier to be DOING something and to be out of the house. Lily was THRILLED to get to ride the kid rides with Reesie and kept a constant grip on her in case maybe the pig or bee was going to take off at any moment.
Sometimes Most of the time, I am yelling/begging/pleading with Lily to "PLEASE LEAVE HER ALONE". Lily is always driving Reese crazy, and then I have to intervene. BUT, Lily is an amazing big sister. I will take her obsession with Reese over indifference.
Sunday we went to Chuck-E- Cheese with our 3 little boys! After, they ate ice cream and raced up and down the side walk. I love when I am witnessing my kids' childhoods taking place. It was such a perfect evening.
Lily got $20 worth of tokens, and she and Daddy earned 656 tickets! She is now the proud owner of a bunch of plastic, overpriced bracelets and crap that I will throw away as soon as I think she won't notice.
Reese got her own sample cup. Love her sweet face.
August 18. It's so close.