On Thursday night (Valentine’s Day, if you’ve forgotten already), we were sitting in the car at a Shell station parking lot, drinking smoothies from McDonald’s. Bart said to me, “This might be a Valentine’s Day low for us.”
It wasn’t as bad as it sounds. Last week, Bart was in Dallas working on a client for several days, and on Wednesday afternoon, after Ella and Ani woke up from naps, the three of us drove up to meet him.
We dropped our bags (one with jammies and clothing, one with books, toys, and sound machines) at the hotel and then wandered through the gorgeous shopping area and picked up some sushi for dinner.
Bart was staying in a really lovely hotel and his room was a handicapped accessible one, so it was extra-large. Of course, what I prefer in a hotel room is DOORS, so the largeness didn’t really help once we put Ella down for bed and she could see us over the top of the dresser we’d put her crib behind.
For two hours, while she kept saying, “Maaaaaaammmmmmaaaaaaaa! I don’t want to go to sleep,” I kept thinking, “At least we aren’t PAYING for the privelege of dealing with this.”
And our usually delightful and good-natured Ani decided this was the evening to go on a thirty-minute crying/screaming spree that nothing seemed to cure.
She finally conked out around nine thirty (which is when Ella finally gave up the fight and fell asleep as well).
Blissful peace and quiet and a king-size bed until 5:20, when Ella decided the night-time portion of this “vacation” was over. I brought her back to bed with me and spent the next two hours alternating between drifting to sleep and thinking very unloving thoughts about my toddler.
Around 7:30 we all got up, and after Bart departed for work, the girls and I found a charming little cafe to have breakfast at. And Ella was so cute and sweet that I forgave her for the lousy night. (A chocolate croissant didn’t hurt either).
We came back to the hotel and I set up Ella’s crib in the bathroom so I could close the door and let her know that there WOULD be napping. She went right to sleep, and Ani and I snuggled in the big bed and also enjoyed a delightful nap.
On our way to meet Bart for lunch, we discovered that the hotel was providing free cupcakes in honor of Valentine’s Day and Ella was beside herself with excitement when the staff offered her one.
Between a soda and the cupcake, Ella pretty much thought it was the best lunch of all time. (Soda? Definitely Ella’s love language. Tragically, she’s been born to a family that doesn’t really drink soda ever).
After lunch, we went to the local library which was such a darling little library and had almost no one there. We stayed two and a half hours and Ella still wasn’t all that thrilled about leaving. She was in puppet theater/train table/puzzle/board book/new book heaven.
Back at the hotel, I packed up our stuff, got both girls into jammies, and checked out of the hotel (when you check out at 6:30 in the evening, you get some odd looks from the front desk), and drove to. . . IKEA, because I had twenty minutes to burn before Bart was done and also, I can never pass up a chance to check out the as-is section (because, you know, IKEA isn’t cheap enough for me already). Sadly, there was nothing to be found worth taking home, and after a fruitless swing through the food section to search for samples (Ella knows her IKEA routine well), we picked up Bart and headed for Austin.
We’d opted to stay late so that we’d miss traffic and it worked like a charm. What DIDN’T work like a charm was our plan for Ella to fall instantly asleep and snooze all the way to our front door. She was quiet, but not interested in sleeping for over an hour, until she finally got her smoothie at McDonald’s (and a bag of chips, because we love healthy eating in our family. Chocolate croissant for breakfast, cupcake and soda for lunch, smoothie and chips for dinner. Yes, clearly I am a superior mother. Probably going to be writing a best-selling parenting memoir later this year).
Five minutes after we pulled back onto the freeway, Ella conked out and Ani went immediately back to sleep. Bart and I reveled in the chance to talk uninterrupted for the remainder of the drive. We arrived home, tossed both girls into their beds, unpacked, and went to bed ourselves.
And then I vowed never to leave the house again.
(We made up for our McDonald’s parking lot dinner with a lovely dinner out on Friday night, with not a child in sight, thanks to our neighbors who must promise to never ever move. We had dinner at Jack Allen’s (amazing food and a gorgeous location) and followed it up with dessert at BJ’s because although we support local, interesting restaurants, Bart and I both think that sometimes a chain restaurant just knows how to do dessert right).