As some of you know, we here in the Big Ugly House like to smoosh all of our celebrations into just a couple of months. It's more efficient. June is the big winner with 6 birthdays and 1 anniversary. And we are right in the middle of a three-day extravaganza. Yesterday was D.'s 10th birthday (I'll do a birthday post for him next week after we celebrate... he's been at church camp this week). Today is J.'s birthday, but we'll celebrate that later as well. More on why in a moment. And tomorrow is our 22nd anniversary and I don't know if we will do anything to celebrate it or not. Sometimes it gets lost in the shuffle.
Today is the pick-up day for all the people at church camp and someone needs to be there at 6 pm to bring them all home. It is a slightly awkward time, and so J. hatched a great plan. He has been working on doing things with TM to continue to build their relationship and TM really loves to camp. So, J. decided to take him on a quick one night camping trip and then pick-up the others on the way home.
Then we needed to tell TM. We knew we couldn't just spring it on him at the last minute. Surprises are just not a good thing... even good ones. But, with his exceptionally high anxiety level, we didn't want to tell him too soon, because that was just more time to worry about the whole thing. The key was Pop Tarts. TM loves Pop Tarts and I don't usually buy them. The exception is if we are going to be travelling because they are an easy snack and treat for in the car. When TM saw the Pop Tarts in the pantry he knew something was up and asked what they were for. I'm not above using treats and bribes in their place, so used the potential treat to explain the plan to TM. Well, it started out as:
TM: Why do we have Pop Tarts?
Me: Well, I have a surprise for you. Do you want me to tell you now?
TM: I don't want to!
Me: Daddy thought it would be fun for you and he to go camping tomorrow night and then pick-up everyone from church camp. The Pop Tarts are for if you go.
TM: I don't want to go!
TM: Where would we camp?
TM: Do we get to bring all the Pop Tarts?
TM: Do I have to?
Me: It would just be for a night and then you and Daddy will hike and rock climb at Devil's Lake. You like to camp.
TM: I don't like rock climbing!
TM: Lake? Can we swim?
Me: Yes, there is a lake and I think you can swim in it. You can bring your suit.
TM: Do we have to bring a tent? I have a tarp and I made my own tent. I want to use that.
TM: I don't want to go.
TM: Where would we eat?
TM: Can we have a fire?
TM: We don't have to leave any Pop Tarts at home?
TM: Why do I have to?
TM: Can't K. come to?
TM: Can we camp in the woods?
Etc. Etc. Etc.
I actually thought it all went rather well. And for the 30 hours or so leading up to the actual departure, TM had very little anxiety about the whole thing. Instead he was full of plans. It was all very pleasant. But I've learned not to count my chickens before they've hatched, so didn't really relax until TM was in the van and the van was backing out of the driveway. Five minutes before they left, TM comes up to me and says, "I don't know if I should go or not." Inside my head the robot from Lost in Space was beeping, "Warning! Danger Will Robinson!" Outside my head, I smiled and said, "Of course you should go. You'll have fun and you can tell me all about it when you get back," then gently ushered him to the front of the house. It was a definite 'here's your hat, what's your hurry?' moment. I knew once he was in the car we were home free. And that's what happened. They got in the van and left. I love anti-climatic stories, don't you?
So for the day it's me and the preschoolers and our guest and her little ones. I predict a lot of playing.