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Shell Shock

We tempted fate one too many times, and paid dearly for it this weekend. Even with an adult to child ratio of 1:1, chaos reigned supreme.

When we stopped to eat dinner along the way to my aunt's house, Bryce had a... bowel situation that I feel he described well enough not to require any extra details from me: "That poop shot out of my bottom like a meteor!" Unfortunately, this... bowel situation required more resources than we had at our disposal, so my mom called my aunt to evaluate the base camp supplies: "Do you have any Desitin? Can you get some? Kristen says to get the 'creamy' kind." The rest of our dinner included Quinn's unnaturally loud and involuntary burps and Bryce's seemingly delirious (and still unexplained) blurting of the phrase, "It's 9:00, Sid!" in random and unpredictable intervals. If that level of humiliation isn't indicative of a weekend that will live in infamy, I don't know what is. And yet, I was cluelessly optimistic, even as I walked out with my burping, limping, apparently hallucinating children and refused to make eye contact with the civilized IHOP customers undoubtedly wondering what mental institution we'd all recently escaped from.

The cousins were thrilled to see each other. Unfortunately, after minutes and minutes of the children hugging and blinking doe-eyed at each other's loveliness, we victims adults were all left wondering, what do we do with them now? As the weekend was ending and my mom and I were running down the list of Lessons Learned (thank you, corporate america, for one of my favorite ironic phrases), she pointed out that with kids aged three to five years, "a little bit goes a long way." What she meant by this, in her kind and happy way was, "we should have kept those monsters away from each other for a little longer." For every peaceful, cooperative moment involving no major catastrophes, interruptions, screaming, stampeding, or injury, there were 10 involving at least one of those. And as is always the case with small children and family gatherings, there was one toy that was the envy of the children, one toy that required constant monitoring, timing, and hiding to prevent an all-out war: The Spinning Thing, one of those battery-operated plastic contraptions with plastic and gel arms that light up when you press the trigger and whirl around at speeds unimaginable to three-, four-, and five-year-olds. I hate the god-forsaken Spinning Thing. The Spinning Thing must die. The Spinning Thing is the spawn of Satan. DAMN YOU, Spinning Thing! DAMN! YOU! Every major fight was over The Spinning Thing. The adults' entire weekend was spent discussing The Spinning Thing in tense, tight voices: Whose turn is it for the Spinning Thing? Did he really hit her with The Spinning Thing? Why are they always running when they have The Spinning Thing? Why doesn't The Spinning Thing have a real name? When are those batteries going to give out anyway? Oh my holy god in heaven who invented the damned Spinning Thing?! I HATE IT, GIVE IT TO ME NOW I'M GOING TO DESTROY IT IN FRONT OF ALL OF YOU, DIE SPINNING THING, DDDDIIIIIEEEEEEE!!!!

Okay, so maybe that was just me. Anyway, it was horrifying. And still, there is more.

The Spinning Thing isn't even what is going down in the Hall of Horror and Shame. Remember the tube of Desitin we sent my aunt to buy for us on that fated night as we approached her house with the other two elements still needed to create the perfect storm for Labor Day 2006? The tube I left on my aunt's dresser, next to her bed, where I put Quinn for a nap and left him unsupervised in my stupid belief that he would sleep because I have some crazy assumption that as a human three-year-old, at some point he'll have to sleep? Did he:

a.) get up 50 times and walk into the hallway until someone noticed him and put him back in bed
b.) scream and laugh like a lunatic and refuse to sleep despite his obvious delirium
c.) quietly smear the full tube of Desitin Creamy onto my aunt's brand new, recently installed bedroom carpet
d.) all of the above

Did I:

a.) not know about this until Quinn woke from his nap hours after maturely and responsibly cleaning up the mess
b.) find him and breathe a sigh of relief just before any greasy staining material touched the new carpet
c.) catch him mid-Desitin smear, remain calm, and clean up before anyone was aware of the near-disaster
d.) none of the above; rather, walk in, scream in horror, make everyone in the house think I'd found Quinn dead, then watch them all proceed not to care about the carpet in their intense relief over his well-being and lack of bloody stumps in the room

For those of you who are new around here, the answer was D in both cases. I'll be billed for the carpet cleaning AND the hospital bills for the multiple heart attacks I caused.

They're deceptively cute when they're plotting. It's 9:00, Sid!

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