It is always such a relief to return home after a trip. Especially a trip where your children's behavior could be used as an ad for birth control. Usually they save their more unpleasant behaviors for Grandma and me - in the privacy of our homes. In public? Angels.
Except for yesterday.
Grandma's sister celebrated her 78th birthday yesterday and we went over for a little potluck lunch to celebrate. For the first time, maybe ever, my kids were sulky and sullen to the assembled great aunts and uncles. They wouldn't talk to anyone or reply when spoken to directly. Z, the most outgoing child in the world, hid her face in my armpit. Q threw a doozie of a tantrum that required that I remove him bodily from the room so as not to (further) deafen the old people.
And lunch? Oh, lunch. We ate in Aunt J's formal dining room, which is carpeted. Rice. Fruit salad with berries(!). German chocolate cake. Did I mention that Aunt J is fastidious in the extreme? I spent the whole meal one fork away from a panic attack. I think I managed to pick everything up before it got ground into the carpet, but the table cloth was a total lost cause. Sigh.
Then after lunch, my formerly lump-like children started running around like headless chickens - a pursuit made even more dangerous/annoying by the fact that Aunt J's taste in decorating leans toward fragile porcelain dolls on stands on the floor, doilies, and many, many delicate porcelain flowers.
The other great aunt in attendance kept telling me not to worry; that all of the adults there were parents, too. Good advice, but good luck following it! By the time we left, I was completely wrung out. The kids didn't want to take naps, but I certainly did!