Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The redeye vacation

So first let me say that kiddo overall did wonderfully on our return trip to DH's old family vacation resort (or as the kids know it, "the hotel," even though the hotel is surrounded by a lodge, a dining hall, a giant lake, a pool, tennis courts, a go-kart course, a bumper boat course, a nightclub and assorted other goodies. I think the kids' idea of what a "hotel" is may be slightly skewed now). Unlike on the previous visit, he never once ran away from our dining room table and out into the parking lot, in front of moving vehicles. Which alone is a win. Just once did he run outside the hotel without us, and we were heading to the exit anyway so he didn't get far. He more or less stayed with us when walking the grounds, although the entire resort got to listen to me doing this all weekend:

Me: "Excuse me, who's line leader?"

Kiddo and kiddette: "You are!"

Me: "And where should you be?"

Kiddo and kiddette: "Behind you!"

Then they lined up behind me like human ducklings. I first figured out this trick on the days I took them to church by myself, and it's remarkably effective, though it requires a few reminders.

In fact the only real incident involving kiddo also involved an exceedingly rude -- and I'm assuming child-free -- woman at the next table one night at dinner, who snottily told off DH because kiddo had "bumped into her like 20 times," meaning, he'd bumped into her large purse two or three times while running behind her. Slightly difficult for kiddo to avoid, since -- not to make a fat joke or anything -- she was sitting "like 20 feet" back from her table. I turned around and lit into her after she made another snotty comment, then went and complained to one of the staffers (MIL helped). I fully agree it was not my most mature moment. I'd love to be one of those Zen moms who acts appropriately in these situations, but despite my love of yoga, I am not Zen. See: the title of this blog. The staff assured us that this woman was only there for dinner that night, as a guest of the owner (people do own timeshares at this place), and she wouldn't be there the next night. So, problem solved-ish.

Honestly, though, if you don't want kids within 300 miles of your personal space, why are you eating dinner at a family resort that is utterly full of kids?

Anyway, so it was really a lovely time, except for my eyes.

I'd been testing a couple of new eye products -- free samples with an order -- and one of them caused some eyelid bumps. Huh, I thought, washed my eyes off, threw the products out and waited for the bumps to go away. I waited all weekend. Things got worse. Put it this way: I appeared to have a thing for red eyeshadow. Also, the swelling made it increasingly difficult to get my glasses on, or to blink properly. At which point the hotel staff sent over an incredibly nice EMS team, who told me where the nearest urgent care center was, and that I should visit it. They also said I look great for my age, which was nice to hear, as I'd spent the entire weekend hiding my face under my hair, teenage-girl style, in the hopes that no one would notice my eyes.

The equally nice folks at the urgent care center gave me a prescription, as well as the info that one of the products I'd used has a rep for causing allergic reactions. In fact, you look it up: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer. I am just annoyed enough to name the product. Apparently it's the silicone in it, which ewww. I already left a complaint message with the website I ordered from, though it was a freebie, so I don't know how far I'll get.

We were sticking around for the rest of the day after I got my meds, but I wasn't inclined to be around people if I could help it -- I looked like Rocky right before he said "Cut me" - so I got a Sunday paper and sacked out on the leather chair in the lounge, and read the paper all afternoon while everyone else did the resort activities. I know MIL thinks I missed out, but the truth is, sacking out on a couch and reading is about my favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon, so I'd actually call that a win.

The eyes are still not 100 percent, but they're improving daily, and at some point it'll be safe to use eyeshadow again, which I will be more selective about from now on.

But the kids had a fabulous time, and we all ate too much good food, and the '80s revue was pretty entertaining, and I snuck in a tiny bit of shopping. Also, we won Name That Tune again, which was one of the goals for the weekend. So thanks to MIL for arranging things, and it is good to know, for any future visits (I assume there will be some), that the EMS staff is really nice.

Also, I tried out the archery range and, though I haven't done archery since high school, got the target four out of five times (three in the blue), despite my puffy eyes. Katniss? Katniss who?

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Put the tablets away.

Restaurant dining is more or less a minefield for an ADHD parent. You have to be mindful: Will he stay in his seat? Get bored and act up waiting for his entree? Will he be too cold or will the noise around him be too loud? Will he settle for hiding in his hoodie or will he hide under the table? Will something cause a meltdown and will you have to haul him out of the restaurant until he calms down?

Will you get to eat a single bite of your meal in relative peace?

I never of course considered the tablet factor. Which is because I would never dream of letting my kids play with a tablet in the middle of a restaurant. They're out at dinner, it's a special occasion, they should have actual conversations with the other people at their table. At most, I'll give the kids pens and let them draw on the placemats until dinner arrives, presuming the placemats are paper.

But let's just say the parents at the next table were working from a different playbook (one that's battery-operated, clearly), because their kid was on his tablet the whole meal. Even though it was a semi-expensive place generally used for special occasions. Even though, judging from the large group at the table and the presents and such, they were there for granddad's birthday. Nope, the whole meal. I know this because kiddo's eyes were glued to the screen for our entire meal.

He's not capable of looking away from a screen when one is available. He kept kneeling on his seat, craning his neck to watch the other kid ignore his loved ones and play Minecraft. Then he snuck over to the other table to watch from behind the kid. Over and over again, no matter how many times we shooed him away.

Vastly irritating, made more so by two factors: 1. There were 10 of us and no way to easily move to another table and 2. Every single other table around us also featured a kid on a tablet so there was no escaping it.

Seriously, if you're just going to hand the kid an electronic babysitter so he shuts up, why are you bothering to shell out the cash for nice food? Get the kid a real babysitter, send out for some pizza and leave. That way no one has to pretend to enjoy the others' company.

One of kiddo's relatives, who was trying to be helpful, pulled out her own tablet so he would leave the other kid alone. Except that this was what we were trying to avoid in the first place. Why? Because when the cake and the candle showed up, kiddo was too busy playing Plants vs. Zombies to notice that we were singing Happy Birthday to Daddy, and when I tried pulling the tablet away so he'd join us, he freaked out.

For the remainder of the meal, kiddo either obsessed about wanting the tablet back (no way) or hung around behind the other kid and watched him play. One lady from the other table, clearly thinking she was being nice, walked by and assured me it was no problem if kiddo watched the gameplay. What I did not say was, "Actually it would be really helpful if you took that stupid tablet and tossed it in the nearest Dumpster so that my son would calm down for five minutes and I could salvage some part of this meal." Because, you know, probably not nice.

To be clear, I don't object to the general use of tablets and phones. I use my phone a lot. I love my phone. But I don't bring it to the dinner table. And I'm perfectly OK with kids using a device until the appetizer shows up, or until the entrees show up, as long as that's their cue to quit their game and start making eye contact with people.

I am most definitely not OK with other parents making my job harder. Especially since my kid -- the one having the freakout -- was the one who looked like a bad kid, not the other kids sitting silently at their tables, obliviously using their tablets.

We're unlikely to have 10 people to dinner again anytime soon, though, so next time this issue comes up -- and I have no doubt there will be a next time -- I'm going to ask the waiter to switch our table. I'll request a no-tablet zone.