Wednesday, August 26, 2015


A few nights ago I lost my sh*t. It was our second day in Mill Creek campsite in the Redwoods, third night back on our own, and fourth week on the road. Both boys were wrangy and overtired, and I've learned that what's true for them is often true for me (what an annoying and insight-giving mirror this can be!)
It's been an adjustment, being just the 4 of us. Otis is learning how to play on his own again, and remembering how to share time with Brian and I AND Russell. There are a litany of reasons for a tricky series of events, as any parent will know.

Suffice it to say that by 9pm (way past bedtime), whining, teething and sleep striking got on my last frayed nerve. I yelled angrily. Loudly. "BE QUIET!!". Not helpful. This did absolutely nothing to calm the boys (surprise) and it only made me feel terrible. Some days are just hard, but being away made this one harder. Where else can you go when you're in a Boler?! (Or tent, yurt, hotel room...)
Rock throwing is a surefire activity when we need to get out. We do this a lot.
The next night, Brian and I steeled ourselves for the dinner-to-bed time crunch. It was only in looking back, as we sat by the fire while both beautiful boys slept peacefully, that I recognized what we had done. We entered into heads down focused parenting. Like in a physical test of endurance, we entered into a flow state, each of us tending to a different and evolving evening verse. Making dinner, pulling out the mega blocks, cajoling Otis onto the potty, putting food into mouths, taking leaves and moss out of Russell's, cleaning up - the kids and the space, gentle conversation, stories. PJ's. Bed. All with absolute minimal extraneous conversation. Around the fire that night we gave one another recognition. We were disheveled and exhausted. And we were proud of making it over the hump.

And it was just a hump. Russell's tooth finally broke the gum (no more hourly wakeups*), and Otis got his sweet sweet groove back. We played in the Redwoods' greatest playground: the Fern Canyon in Prairie Creek State Park. Otis delighted in walking across all 27 plank bridges layed over the meandering stream. I loved the velvet, rich, saturated greens in every forest shade. My senses were indulged. We had a perfect family adventure day.

So it's worth it. It's hard work, this being on the road. I guess that's why so many people looked at me with that look "you're doing what with a toddler and baby? Lady, you've got no idea what's coming". And it's a good thing I didn't. I love the feeling of working through a challenge, I love spending so much time outside, I love learning what Brian and the boys love, and I love sharing this adventure with them.

We leave the Redwoods today and I'm ready - we've hiked and explored. We've seen elk and eaten s'mores  (I guess there's no fire ban here because of the omnipresent fog?).And I'm looking forward to our next stop in Oregon - Honeyman state park.

*I wrote this draft last night at the fire with both kids asleep. I clearly was feeling too optimistic. Russell woke every hour again last night. Could have been the entire cheese quesadilla that we let him eat for dinner. Lesson: don't use absolutes when referring to children's sleep habits. 

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