Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cookies, Camp and a Wild Cat

"I made a mistake!!!"

"No!!! I didn't mean to say it! I made a mistake!!"


These phrases were not exclaimed calmly, intently or even distinctly.

She was screaming so hard and balling so dramatically that I almost gave up.

We've been prepping Sister for over a year now to attend Young Women's Camp this summer.

We had prepped her for about 9 months to attend Young Women's Camp last summer, but because she was a little younger than the suggested age of 12 and she was throwing such huge tantrums about it, we thought that maybe it just wasn't right for her that year and committed ourselves and her to coming this summer.

Truth be told: her tantrum this year was bigger than last year's which makes me think I should have pushed harder last year.


I won't go into all the preparation speeches, tactics and plans, but I will tell you that it all seemed to be completely worthless when one hour before departure time I started prepping her for leaving and then it all "hit the fan" as some people say, and boy oh boy, this was not an exaggeration for the actions that took place.

If you're a parent or any kind of caregiver to a toddler you all know the "noodle move." I swear they take a class in the nursery at the hospital to learn things like this so it is instilled to all of them at birth!

The noodle move is an evasive move that causes the caregiver to not get a grip on the person in order to pick them up and carry them to where they need to be. The noodle move means to let your limbs go completely lifeless and limp so that no matter how a person tries to grab hold the evader just slides out of your grip. The thing is that toddlers are still small enough you can usually still carry them even if it means to escort them sideways through a hole in the fencing.

In Sister's case I was trying to get her from the front/family room out to the car and she's no toddler anymore and carries a bit of weight with her... I felt like I was wrestling an octopus and sometimes a kangaroo depending on what limbs were flailing closer to my face. After 15 minutes of trying to grab the octopus-kangaroo girl I just had to give up. It wasn't working!

But, you know me, I don't give up that easily... so I realized at one point while I was holding her feet to stop her from kicking that I was actually able to get a good, firm grip around her ankles and I began to drag her across the floor.

She was screaming all sorts of things... some things I couldn't even understand, but I caught the drift that it was all related to not wanting to go to camp and what a mean mom I am, but the best lines were "I made a mistake!!!" which was referring to Marc and I reminding her that she had told us last year she would go when she was 12 and she promised... well, she was still screaming that she did not want to go this year.

By the time we got to the top of the stairs to go out the front door I realized that the foot tactic was not going to work as she now had the advantage over me that I would easily topple down the stairs with one flailing kick so I miraculously grabbed her around her waist and with my super woman strength was able to drag her down the stairs and out the front door.

I have to admit that after years of doing this kind of thing to get our kids out the door for an activity that I don't even think about what the neighbors or passers-by might be thinking when they hear the blood-curdling screams, threats and sounds of dying elephants. It's just part of my life. It's how we roll around here. So I got quite a laugh when long after this whole thing was over and I was telling my neighbor friends about it they said, "Oh we heard her! We didn't know it was her, we just heard the screaming and ran out to see what was happening. When we saw it was you and [Sister] we were just like, 'oh, it must be time to go to Girl's Camp."

Anyway, long story trying to act short, but still long,...
She screamed and cried and ranted from Orem to Spanish Fork... that's a 25 minute drive...
T w e n t y - f i v e minutes! Non-stop melting.

Then, like a light-switch she was OK. We were talking about camp and the drive and all the new places to see in Spanish Fork. So we went to Burger King and got some dinner.

From there to the turn-off for the camp, it was actually quite pleasant and enjoyable. So it was about an hour of "normalcy."

Then came the turn-off.

I made a huge mistake.

I didn't realize the turn-off had come so soon and had to make a slightly dramatic maneuver. This moment set Sister off in a way I don't know that I had quite witnessed before. She was doing everything she could to get me to turn that car around. She was flopping everywhere and at one point she started trying to grab the wheel, push the emergency brake and wave her hands in my face.

This was all very tough for me to keep my cool as I was driving along, but some how we got to the campsite where the young women and leaders were already.

I opened my door to get out and it was a trigger for Sister to go all "wild cat" and flee from her front seat to the back window hissing and banging on the window to friends and passersby.

Have you ever tried to put a cat in a box?

I am amazed at all the things a cat can do to prevent itself from being surround by cardboard walls. This is the best way to explain Sister's utter and complete meltdown. It was like I had to peel each of her fingers away from the window and back seat and it wasn't easy.

I decided instead of fighting it I would calmly start to remove our things from the car and give her time to process it and scream behind the closed car doors. At this point I was able to witness from an onlooker's naive perspective the site of a 13-year-old girl crouched and pressed in the back window cove of a Toyota Corolla... that's not much space. At one point , while I had the back trunk open to remove some of our things, she had climbed to the front seat only to grab the COSTCO size, flimsy, plastic container of cookies and throw them against the steering wheel and mash them into the driver's seat. (Apparently I blocked that part out completely because I forgot to write about it in my first draft... I mean, it looked like the cat I was trying to pull out of the car had pooped and vomited all over... it wasn't pretty... at all.) Each time I tried to clean the fairly firm, yet melting quickly, chocolate chips off the seat she would stamp her foot in it and scream to go home.

At this point I was ready to give up and just go home, but I told myself I would at least clean up the chocolate "poop" from my seat before giving it all up to go home. I'm amazed at what a mother can clean up while your grown child is stamping on your hands, hitting your face (no wonder I blocked all this out) and maniacally pulling at the controls of the car telling it she has to get out of here! All this was going on while her friends from camp were coming to say hi to her and encourage her to come, she even yelled at them. It was as if a wild cat had jumped into the back of my car for protection from the environment and was hissing threats and unkind promises.

After several attempt by several girls, one girl approached the car and with surprising excitement Sister hopped out of the car to give her a hug.

That moment redirected all her fear and anxiety and the rest of camp was truly bearable.

She was amazing and truly loved every minute of it.

We were there 5 days and it was fabulous to see her interaction with everyone, what a big helper she was. She brought her light to camp and everyone loved her for it.

Was it all worth it?

For sure.

Was it really hard for me?


Was it one of the best times of her life that she still talks about?

Yep, and she doesn't even remember the wild cat... at all.

0 remarks: