Without compromising the privacy of the underlings in my household, I can tell you that the three little ones ’round here have VERY different reactions to impending travel.
It’s funny, really, to watch them all exhibit such different behavior. An interesting anthropological study, you might say. Because there’s that whole nature/nurture thing, plus two of the three share DNA, yet they could not be more striking in the various reactions they have.
And I, of course, just have to deal with it all. With a smile. When I can manage it. So, yes: The kids head off for vacation with their dad, today, and here is what my morning wrought:
One creature has been on edge ever since the suitcases appeared. Said creature has been skulking around the house mournfully, glomming on to me at every opportunity, rarely leaving my side. This creature is DEEPLY WORRIED about the import of said suitcases, and convinced that no good can come of them. This creature may still be suffering from the ill effects of post-traumatic suitcase disorder.
One creature has been brimming over with glee for days. When asked what the very best part of the past year has been, said creature happily rattled off half-a-dozen happy things and bounced while doing so. This creature rose early this morning, readied itself, and came downstairs all smiles and happiness. This creature was packed and ready to go and had kisses and hugs for everyone.
The last creature woke up late and surly, and discovered to its MIGHTY DISPLEASURE that the One True Shirt was not only not laundered and ready, but completely unavailable because it had been left to soak and was still wet. And lo, there was gnashing of teeth and stomping of feet and screaming and crying. There were threats and refusals to go without The One True Shirt. There was pleading to just wear it sopping wet. There were screeched accusations of parental cruelty and uncaring. Packing was angry and scattered and I am not convinced it even remembered to bring clothes. Eventually there was flouncing out the door, followed by a barrage of text messages about how YOU COULD STILL BRING THE SHIRT LATER and I NEEEED IT and responses about actions and consequences and then—the coup d’état, if you will—the “you should just send me away so your life will be happy again” zinger, designed to provoke and agitate.
My reactions to their behaviors have to be as varied as they are, of course. Thus:
1) It’s okay, it’s okay, you’re staying with me, nothing bad is happening. Here, have a chewy stick and sit in my lap.
2) I love you so much! Have a wonderful time. Be good for your dad.
3) Actions have consequences. You don’t get to act this way and then get a favor from me. My life would NOT be happier without you because I love you too much to either send you away or let you get away with acting like this. You’re better than what you’re showing me right now. Trust me. Trust how much I love you and that I know this is hard but it’s my job to do what I’m doing. You can’t make me stop loving you, but that doesn’t mean I like this behavior.
Dude. I need a nap.