Thursday I had world class departure with the kids. Truly award winning.
We were at the ProClub. Our routine is I work out for an hour with a trainer while the kids eat lunch and play at the day care. Then we all go swimming. We all know it and we all look forward to it.
Things went according to plan until we got to the locker room to change into our swim gear. The kids , now in their suits, started bumping and jostling each other and arguing about who gets to use my card to lock their locker. I gave them the usual reminder that being out in public requires appropriate behavior and has to be fun for everyone, including me and everyone else in the locker room.
They each sat down and ate about 3 bites of the lunch they neglected because they were too busy playing in the daycare. And then they dissolved into an all out slug-of-war over over the swimming toys. I call it a day and in my most pleasant voice announce that we're leaving.
Immediate screaming ensues. Rosie does her fire-engine loud wail accompanied by super fast feet pounding. Theo starts yelling how stupid I am. My calm request to put on shoes is met by Rosie running back and forth (still wailing) between me and the door to the pool while Theo starts throwing things at me. After a 2.5 nanosecond evaluation of the situation, I put on my shoes, and stuff all their clothes and our various other sundries into my swim bag.
Now I'm ready to go, but still have two swimsuit clad, screaming children, my purse and a heavy, overstuffed bag hanging off my shoulder. I scoop up Rosie and summon my most calm and firm voice to tell Theo, "I'm leaving now and I expect you to come with me." And suddenly we're in a hallway full of people. Rosie's still screaming, Theo's still recounting how stupid I am, and for emphasis starts punching the bag.
Luckily, someone walks by with a cart full of boxes and boxes of tennis balls. Rosie's need to understand why sucks her out of her misery. Now I'm down to two bags, one heavy (but no longer screaming) 3 year old, and the still yelling, punching 6 year old. Finally we make it to the front door, at which point, Theo's blows knock the bag off my shoulder, spilling shoes everywhere.
As I bend over to reload my bag, I look up to notice a shuttle full of people unloading at the front door, just to see both the president and the CEO of the ProClub looking in bemused wonder at my kids. Sigh.
As a last hope, I ditch the shoes and the bag at an outdoor bench, shift Rosie to the other arm, and do my best to firmly yet gently capture and elevate Theo's punching hand and march to the car. Magically by the time we get to the car both kids are calm and quietly climb into their carseats.
One last thing to do: drive around to the front door to retrieve our abandoned items. Just as I grab our things to load them into the car, a woman with a 5 year old stops me. I'm thinking, "uh-oh, here comes the 'how could you treat your kids like that' lecture" that I figure everyone else was thinking. Instead she tells me how very impressed she is with how I handled the whole misadventure and that it is moms like me that inspire her to be more for her daughter.
Like I said, world class departure. With a silver lining.