Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Divide to be Conquered

These pictures make it look like we had a great time at the local carnival.

Pictures can be deceiving.

Even without Photoshop.

You see, it was only during the rides that the smiles ensued.

In between was, well... let me narrate:

All children on the short walk from the car to the carnival, "I don't wanna goooooooooooooo!"

Parents, "But you told us you wanted to come. You LOVE carnival rides, remember?"

Brother, "I don't wanna go, I don't wanna go, I don't wanna... ah, look, mom," pointing to the fun rides, "I wanna go. Can I ride that."

Me, " Ya, lets get there and get some tickets and then we can go on it."

We get there but the girls want to go to the playground before we hit the rides so we oblige even though the sun is pounding down on my back as I push Baby in her swing. Sister isn't doing too bad at staying around the play area but, Brother has disappeared.

Quickly I scan the nearby area and see that Brother is sitting under the shade of a big tree watching the rides.

I figure I better go buy the ride tickets so we can get him going on one. He happily comes with me to get the tickets with Sister in tow while Marc stays back to keep Baby happy in the swing.

I don't know that dividing is always conquering... from a parents point of view. Often it ends up being the children conquering their parents while divided. The whining prevailed and I bought more tickets than usual because they were so excited and of course I wanted to appease them (OK, I wanted people to stop staring at me while my children cried and screamed).

Then I happily went to tell Marc to come go on a ride with Brother while I watched the girls, but when I looked behind me I saw that Brother was hiding under "his" tree again. He was completely freaking out--hiding his face, rocking back and forth, whining... I think he was torn between being overwhelmed by the crowd (which was very small at the time of day we strategically went) and his decision of whether or not to try a new ride. He wouldn't budge from the tree, Sister and Baby wouldn't stay by us, they wanted to either play on the playground or walk around the booths.

So we made the obvious choice...

we divided so we could be conquered.

While I watched Marc from a distance struggle with Brothers dilemma I tried to keep Baby from mauling the dog from the local adoption shelter (she wanted to lay on it - it was as big as a bear skin rug and looked like one too) and Sister from independently striding from one booth to the other, people giggling as I politely made excuses for my daughter hopping up and down and humming while smiling and chattering with nervous excitement, and getting a literal work-out trying to pry Baby's death grip from the dog so that someone else could pet him (Seriously would have loved to take it home as he just sat there the entire time he was being mauled as if he were made for tough love).

I decided that I would go help Marc with Brother and have him take a turn helping me with the girls.

When I got there I had learned that Brother did get on the ride he had been longingly watching but, then got scared and got off before it even started. Therefore he was now upset because he was disappointed in himself for not riding.

The girls really wanted to ride on the merry-go-round which was on the other side of the park. Brother was still so upset that it was quite a scene getting all 3 children over there. I am surprised no one called the cops on us for kidnapping, it takes a lot of strength to drag a 12 year old boy across a field. Anyway while Marc took the girls on the merry-go-round I was able to help calm Brother down and we were able to talk it out a little bit and he was able to tell me, "This is just too much for me."

We talked about it and he decided he could stay for a bit. Luckily, too, Sister's friends came to join us, which helped all the kids feel more at home in the situation. In fact Brother felt so much better that he decided to get on the rides with the girls... but he was too tall for these rides. So the frustration came again and it was hard to watch him struggle with the situation.

The fact that all the carnival ride workers didn't speak English didn't help me out either:

Me, "Can he ride this ride?"

Worker, "?"

Me, "Is he too big?"

Worker, "?"

Me, pointing to the ride, then my son, then making the hand motion of going around in a circle.

Worker, "?" then routinely pointed to a tape line on the gate.

Then we came to the giant slide and Brother, Sister, Juju and JJ all had a couple rides there.

Baby wasn't able to ride the slide so she was wandering and running and squiggling so I finally divided from Marc and took her back to the swings.

It was hot.

I was tired.

I was sore from physically handling children from ages 12 - 2.

I was conquered.

We went home in the car in a crumpled, sweaty heap of over-stimulated, over-worked, and over-heated messes.

But, we had fun, the pictures prove it.


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