Adinah did not relish the idea of spending a week at a remote cabin in the mountains. Neither did V., though she's not yet able to express displeasure with anything more florid than "Baaah!" So a few weeks before we left, Anette suggested we go to the beach instead. She was afraid the weather would get bad and we'd be stuck in a shack with no electricity and two displeased and wailing kids.
I said, 'No, let's go to the mountains! It'll be fine. Even if the weather turns shit, the kids will just enjoy staying indoors and spending time with us, their loving and devoted parents. They love playing with adults!'
As it happened, the weather went to hell the moment we got to our little wooden 'hutte' in the wild, and so began thirty hours of pure demonchild misbehavior. Adinah became a raving, spiteful princess, and V. just threw things, including an unidentifiable kitchen utensil, which beaned Anette just above the eye. Nevermind that it turned out to be a very cozy, though small cabin, with electricity and an actual toilet. Nevermind the gorgeous mountains that towered and boomed above us, and the beautiful light and clouds that drifted across them. Suddenly, our kids were absolute fiends.
We got pretty ugly ourselves. Deanie couldn't sleep the first night (probably because of the high altitude of the place), and after trying to soothe her and talk her down for a few hours, I lost it. I vaguely remember lifting myself off my bed and angrily sputtering something like, 'Adinah, if you don't get some sleep right now, then we'll all be miserable and we won't make any sense tomorrow morning!!'
Anette flipped out a couple of times too. We both thought we were in such an amazing and beautiful place, and somehow we couldn't make Adinah and V. feel the same way. Isn't it funny how kids sometimes have their own agenda?
Sometime the next morning, somehow, we turned the corner. I pulled Adinah aside and said, 'Look we really want to stay here, and we'd like it if you would just try to enjoy it a little bit. Can you do that?' Maybe that made an impression on her, maybe not, but after that, things got a bit brighter. We all shimmied up one of the mountains and picked wild blueberries, and then sat in the sun and watched wispy clouds roll by. On another day, V. insisted on trying to hike with her pants down around her ankles. It took us about forty minutes to walk thirty feet. So I plonked myself down in the middle of the dirt road and enjoyed the scenery as I waited for my youngest strong-willed daughter to single-handedly conquer the wilderness.
It wasn't Adinah's favorite vacation, but the adults in the group had a nice time. And that's okay. One of the dictums about parenthood that I've heard most frequently is 'Sleep when the kids sleep, eat what they eat.' Which works for a few years maybe. But that's not real life, is it?