The Pediatric Psych Ward Went on Vacation…and Survived!

I know you’ve all been dying to know how the Pediatric Psych Ward’s vacation went. Was it fun? Was it epic? Did anyone die? Well, first let’s get one thing clear. It was a “vacation” for the inmates…not so much for the wardens. I’d say it was more of a “trip” — lots of planning, packing, panicking, yelling and just overall work. Let’s not forget about the laundry. I swear to God their suitcases breed dirty laundry, and we somehow came home with three times the amount of crap than we went with!

The trip up to The Dells was pretty uneventful and fairly peaceful. The inmates finally figured out a lot of our idle threats leading up to the trip to leave them at Uncle Gruff’s instead if they kept being such jerks were maybe not so idle. Once we arrived at Great Wolf Lodge Resort, they all stripped down and wrestled on their swim gear and were ready to hit the water almost before we even got to our room. So much for settling in.

First Born jumped out of his flip flops mid-stride and was off like a shot the minute we walked in the door to the water park.  “Oh well. He’ll find us when he’s hungry,” I figured. Young Son and Dear Husband left to explore, so Warrior Princess and I stashed our stuff and headed over to the water tree fort,


Ft. Mackenzie, Great Wolf Lodge, Wisconsin Dells

which had lots of spray areas and interactive toys. “Let’s ease into this place,” I thought. It was all going well until a loud bell started clanging and kids started screaming and running all over the place. “Oh crap! Something bad’s going to happen!” WP froze and looked up at with me with huge, terror-filled eyes as 1,000 gallons of water came crashing over us. Yeah. So that sucked.

We high-tailed it out of there and ran into Young Son, Dear Husband and First Born. FB was unsuccessfully trying to get YS to go on the water slide, so DH took one for the team and went with his thrill-seeking son.

We wandered over to the Lazy River — that would be more our speed, right? Lemme tell ya. Nope. Not so lazy. The WP and I decided to try it out together and YS reluctantly went solo. I got him situated on his own tube, gave him a shove and wished him God speed as he went spinning around in white-knuckled circles down the river. Then I managed to wrangle a double tube for ourselves. Okay. Now how was I going to mount this cursed thing with some shred of dignity? Well, if there actually is a way to do it in a dignified manner, I eluded me completely. I muscled my way to the entry point with the unwieldy tube under one arm and WP clinging for dear life to the other. I probably knocked over a few young tubers in the process, but oh well. It’s survival of the fittest when it comes to this kind of thing. I slapped the tube in the water, stuffed one leg through the back hole to keep it from floating away and pried WP off of me until she had a proper death-grip on the front seat of the tube. Okay. So now how do I get my squishy butt on this thing without flipping it and drowning my kid in the process? I grabbed onto the hand railing, scootched the tube under my rear end with my feet and went for it. Somehow we didn’t flip, but my resulting position was far from attractive or comfortable. My matronly swim skirt betrayed me and hiked itself up under my pits, thus exposing more of my flabby thighs as I thrashed and scooted around like a fly stuck on fly paper to find proper purchase on the flotation device from hell. Once settled, we bobbled around until a group of young teenaged boys decided it would be fun to race each other around the river. They checked us up against the bank, and I probably uttered some profanities and told them to take their punk asses to the GoKart track down the street. Good Lord. How did I become such a grouchy old lady?! Finally we crashed over to the exit. WP scrambled off with the help of another frazzled mom as I pried the tube off my butt with a loud “thwap!” I distinctly felt neither pretty nor lazy at that very moment.

We decided to check out the wave pool. This could go either way. She was feeling pretty brave with her Puddle Jumper on by this time and was really getting into it. I was relaxing a bit more too. It was reassuring to see all the amazing life guards there — holy buckets, do those people work hard! They were constantly pacing the deck, intently scanning their areas looking for struggling swimmers. There was not a sullen teen life-guard camping out on a chair in sight. It gave my anxiety a rest knowing professionals had my back in case one of the inmates got into trouble under my watch. Between wave sessions, WP was happily splashing around when she looked over and found herself eye-level with some dude sporting some serious butt cleavage. She looked over at me in amazement, “Mom! That guy has a hairy booty hole!” (Thank First Born for teaching her that gem…) Jeez. I don’t think Mr. Chewbacca heard us, but we quickly swam off nonetheless to avoid seeing the flip side of that hairy mess.

Eventually we re-grouped and decided to call it a day and do some more the next day. We went back to the room, ordered some pizza and it was time for bed. The kids had a


KidCabin Suite, Great Wolf Lodge, Wisconsin Dells

special little “cabin” within our room with a bunk bed and a single bed…after some very complicated rounds of “rock, paper, scissors” to decide who was going to sleep where, beds were claimed, jammies donned, teeth brushed and potties done. WP was beside herself with glee that she got to sleep in the same room with her big brothers. She even decided to go shirtless to be like them. (I guess wearing her brother’s underwear isn’t enough. At this point, I’m waiting for her to decide she needs to pee standing up.) Eventually she settled down after they threatened her with various forms of violence if she didn’t stop giggling.

Husband and I finally got to enjoy our Wine Down service by romantic phone screen backlight as we silently surfed the web, scrolled through Facebook and read the news for the day. It was actually pretty great. Was it a perfect, relaxing, rejuvenating time? Oh hell no. But was it fun? Yes. Yes it was. It was good to be with other families enjoying time together, witnessing other kids’ meltdowns (and not just our own), seeing other parents rocking far-from perfect mom and dad bods. It was real. It was family in all its imperfection… and hopefully some really great memories were made by all. Will we do this again? Absolutely. But it’s going to take awhile for me to get through all the unpacking and recovering. In the meantime, if you need me, you can find me taking a nap in a pile of laundry somewhere.





Spring Break Panic Attacks

Over spring break (Lord, help me!) we are taking the inmates to The Dells for a few days. This will be the first time any of us have been there. Everyone keeps saying, “You’re going to love it! You can sit back and relax and the kids can wear themselves out!” However, my anxiety is NOT believing any of that malarky. I have so many questions…
  1. People say, “You need essential oils.” Umm…okay. Do I dab it on my wrists? Behind my ears? Slather it on my children? Dump it down the water fall? 
  2. Other say, “You need to drink. A lot.” Well, true…but you know my inmates are gonna drag me down the insane toilet-flushing water slide. I don’t see it ending well for me…or fellow water park attendees when I either become violently ill or shit myself. 
  3. And speaking of THAT fun subject…Warrior Princess has been embracing the whole potty training thing now that she gets to sport Young Son’s briefs. Except for a few bumps in the road, she’s been doing great. Now I know pools are filled with gallons of pee anyway, so what’s an extra gallon or two from our potty goddess? I just have to pray for quality chlorination and fill my head with thoughts of rainbows and unicorns.dookieBut what if she’s…THAT KID… who becomes un-constipated in the pool??? I don’t know if I can handle the hostile looks of ridicule and shame from other parents as they evacuate the pool, marching their sobbing children past our pooping princess. “You ruined our spring break! Why did you go and fill your kid up with fiber! What kind of rotten mom are you! We hate you!” (Yes, friends. These are the thoughts that fill my head at night. You’re feeling pretty sorry for my husband right about now, aren’t you?)


  4. How do I keep track of it all without completely losing my mind?? I know we picked the worst time of year to go and it’s going to be full of insanity, melt downs and fighting (and not just from me.) Just thinking about the crowds while trying to manage three impatient inmates chomping at the bit to get the fun started is giving me a major panic attack.You know they’ll immediately all want to go in different directions. First Born will make a bee line for the most intense slide of all, Young Son will find something to be grouchy about — “This place is too wet. My goggles are leaky. When do I get to have a hotdog? They better have hotdogs here.” And then Warrior Princess will either want to follow First Born to certain drowning or will be glued to my hip the entire time and try to use my boobs as floaties. (Which reminds me not to forget her Puddle Jumper.)

    And then there’s Dear Husband. He’s the biggest wild card of all. Now he may just surprise me and really get into it and have some fun. On the other hand, he might “take one for the team” and offer to guard all the crap helpful gear I’ll surely be required to bring, while the rest of us go have “fun.” Yeah right. You know as well as I do that four hours later, I’m going to find him relaxing on a lounge chair with his phone in one hand and a cocktail in the other. “Hey! Did you have fun? How’s the water?” (Cue my stroke-inducing rage attack.) How about you find out for yourself when I waterboard you???

  5. When do get to relax? Let’s assume for a minute that the planets align and he and I are able to find a place to sit while the inmates splash away while we watch from the side. I’ll bet you vat of mimosas and a platter of bon bons that as soon as my first cocktail of bliss and joy arrives, those jerks will come slogging back to me, “I’m hungry! Can we have ice cream? I’m tired of swimming. I’m bored. I want to go play video games. I have to go potty…Ooops. Never mind.”*Whimper*

Why did I think this was all a good idea? Well, when Dear Husband and I were searching for a fun family getaway, he casually mentioned, “Hey look. This place has ‘Wine Down Service’ where you get your choice of wine and chocolate, cheese or charcuterie delivered to your room.” YES! SOLD! Sign us up! Jeez. Am I that much of a moron that I’m easily bribed by room service. (Yes. Yes I am.)

I just had a brilliant idea! Just when it’s scheduled to arrive, I’ll say, “I need to go get something out of the car. I’ll be right back.” I’ll dash out, hijack the delivery guy on the elevator and lock myself in the back of my fabulous mini van, kick my feet up and watch a DVD of my choosing while I Wine Down….All…By…My…Self. It will be glorious.

Yes. This is what my life has come to. Wish me luck.

No One Ever Listens To Me, Except When I Don’t Want Them To

I know I’m not the only mom out there with this complaint, but how come my children only listen to me if I yell? For example:

Me: [In a calm voice] “First Born, can you please come and set the table for dinner?”

FB: [Crickets…light saber and pew pew pew sounds from XBox…crickets…]

Me: [slightly more stern, but still calm] “FB. Did you hear me?”

FB: “What?”

Me: “*sigh*… I asked you to please come down and set the table for dinner.”

FB: “Whhhaaaatttt?”

Me: “Please. Set. The. Table. For. Dinner.”

FB: [Huffs loudly] “No! It’s Young Son’s turn. Make him do it!”

Me: “He’s done it for you for the past week. I asked YOU to do it.”

FB: “Gimme a minute.” [Mutter mutter…pew pew pew…]

{five minutes pass}


FB: “Jeez! I’m coming! What’s your problem?!”

Me: [Head explodes…more mess for me to clean up. Great.]

Yet somehow if the inmates are upstairs Xbox-ing, tap dancing or killing on each other while Husband and I are sitting in the family room,

Me: “I made cupcakes for dessert.”

H: [Does not look up from phone or away from TV] “Mmm hmm…”

[All mayhem upstairs comes to a screeching halt…Thundering footsteps pound down the stairs.]

FB: “Did you say CUPCAKES?!!”

YS: “Did you use buttercream frosting? I really hope you got the ratio of frosting to cake right so the cake isn’t too dry and the frosting isn’t too cloyingly sweet.”

AWP: “Are thems pink?!”

Me: “Seriously?! *sigh* Yes. I said cupcakes. Young Son, you need to stop binge watching Nailed It! on Netflix. And they are yellow with chocolate frosting, but I put pink sprinkles on yours, AWP.”

FB: “When’s dinner? Can I have one now?”

YS: “Did you use semi-sweet or milk chocolate in the frosting?”

AWP: [Stomps foot and pouts] “Awww! I wanted PINK frosting!!!!”

Me: *whimper* [Takes entire tray of cupcakes to laundry room and locks door.]

hero_01.png I think our Alexa has completely turned on me. I love using her as a timer for cooking or nagging the kids to do stuff like,

Me: “Alexa. Set a reminder for 15 minutes.”

Alexa: “What’s the reminder for?”

Me: “Warrior Princess, Go Potty.”

Alexa: “Okay. I’ll remind you in 15 minutes.”

Fifteen minutes Alexa says, “Warrior Princess, Go Potty” and off trots AWP to go potty. She’ll listen to Alexa, but never me. Whatever. I’ll take what I can get.

But then the kids will say,

FB: “Alexa! Fart!”

Me: “Alexa. Stop!”

Alexa: [Farts]

[Gales of laughter]

YS: “Alexa! Play the Gummy Bear song!”

Alexa: [Cranks out loud, soul-killing, annoying music] “Oh I’m a gummy bear / Yes I’m a gummy bear / Oh I’m a yummy tummy funny lucky gummy bear…”

Me: “Alexa, stop!”

Alexa: “I’m a jelly bear / ‘Cause I’m a gummy bear / Oh I’m a movin’, groovin’, jammin’, singing gummy bear / Oh yeaoooh


Alexa: “Gummy Gummy Gummy Gummy Gummibär / Gummy Gummy Gummy Gummy Gummibär / Bai ding ba doli party…”

Me: “AAARRGGGGHHHH!!! ALEXA!!!! You dumb whore! For the love of GOD! STOP!”

Meanwhile, the inmates are rolling on the floor laughing so hard they can hardly breathe.

Here’s the thing though. I think Alexa is secretly always listening to me. Get this. The other day Husband and I were admiring the solar panels the neighbor down the street installed on their roof. We thought it would be really cool to be “greener” — but we came up with lots of questions. How long does it takes to see a return on your investment? What’s the maintenance like? Do we get any tax benefits from it? Where is the additional energy produced stored? We decided to do a bit of research.

Then a few days later, THIS comes in the mail:

What in the actual…??? Coincidence? Maybe. Freaky as hell? YES!!! I think I may need to put tinfoil on Alexa during private conversations or speak in code. Or maybe I just need to go off the grid completely, in which case solar panels would be really handy. If you need me, send me a smoke signal or a note via carrier pigeon.