Thursday, July 28, 2011

She's Crossed the Line

The tables have turned. Six months ago I never imagined my 8-year-old son with premature pre-teen angst would be "the pleasant one," but it's true. My divalicious 4-year-old has crossed the line from sassy-cute to sassy-bratty.

Declarations that have recently crossed her lips:

When asked why she was acting so bratty: I don't like ANYthing ANYone is saying.

While riding in the car with a chattering Alex: I don't want to hear ANY sounds!

When I dare to smile at something she says: Stop laughing at me!

When told it was a "school day": I do NOT like school, so I'm NOT going (no offense, Ms. Brooke!).

When presented with a meal composed of something she did not specifically request: I do NOT like [insert random food item], so I'm not eating it. [Random food item] is gross.

I know other parents say their 4-year-olds--especially girls--are sassy, but I truly believe Lauren takes it to another level. She goes from this:

To this:
in a matter of seconds.

I told Brian I thought Lauren had been acting particularly bratty recently. He said he hadn't noticed. That's because she's a total daddy's girl. Actually, she sucks up to all the males in the family. The other day, my dad got her a cute wall hanging that says "girly girl." He had shown it to me, but not to her (because, not surprisingly, she was cranky at the time). I just went ahead and hung it on her door. The next morning, she grumbled about the sign to me, saying she didn't like it, until I told her that Pop had gotten it for her. Suddenly she loved it. Watch out, future suitors. Lauren will play you like a violin.

Despite her increasing brattiness, Lauren is still almost always willing to put on a "dance show." The bigger the audience, the better. However, she has very high expectations of her audience. She gets upset if you don't clap loudly enough. If she asks someone to introduce her from "offstage," and you are not enthusiastic enough with the introduction, you're gonna hear about it. Fortunately her, uh, interesting dance moves--that somehow demonstrate both a sense of rhythm and a scary sense of what's sexy--make her "shows" enjoyable despite her diva-like behavior.

I'm pretty sure I'm better at appropriately reprimanding and then ignoring outbursts with my second child. I'm also pretty sure this is just a phase. I still see enough sincere sweetness in my little diva to know she is not permanently headed down the "mean girl" route. Although I'm not 100% certain ...

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Not Just Any Princess

Thirty feet. Fifty AMP. Electricity/water/sewage. Modern facilities. Pets allowed. Trailer plus vehicle. Wooded site.

Another language? A secret code? Until recently, I had no idea what the terms above meant when used together (okay, I had no idea what 50 AMP meant in any context ...). But not anymore. Over the past couple months, I have tenatively embarked on a hobby that I never in a million years thought I would even consider. I am, after all, a princess. But now I'm not just any princess--I am The Camping Princess.

My little "code" above should be familiar to the campers--especially RV campers--out there. I do not know if I am ready to put myself in the category of--gulp--campers yet, but I have recently found myself scouring the Web for campgrounds where we could take--and easily entertain--the kids for a weekend. I don't think my requirements are that high--I simply require more than pretty natural surroundings, because otherwise my kids will be plugged into their various electronic devices while "enjoying" nature. We're not exactly a hiking and bird-watching family.

We had a perfect first family camping trip in the RV, which we affectionately call "Betty." Brian had taken the kids camping a couple times, but I did not join them (I had to take care of the dogs!). We joined two other families at a somewhat-local amusement park with an adjacent campground. There were plenty of other people around, there was plenty to do, the kids had playmates, the ADULTS had playmates--it was all good.

A couple weeks later, our family went to Lake Raystown, which had been highly recommended to me by avid campers. The weekend got off to a very rocky start, due to lack of cell phone service in the "wild" (damn Verizon). Brian was driving separately in the RV because of a late meeting. The kids and I arrived around 8 p.m. and anticipated Brian would arrive by 9 p.m. At about 9:45, after we had roamed around the gift shop for the umpteenth time, I was ready to get in my car and look for our RV toppled over along the side of the road. But then Brian came careening into the parking lot (as much as an RV can "careen") with the dogs yapping inside. My heart rate returned to normal.

Because we reserved a campsite relatively late in the season, our spot was awful, with a somewhat steep incline down to our fire pit. It didn't matter much where the fire pit was, though. When the kids decided they wanted s'mores, we made them in the microwave. Like I said, we're far from hard core.

There was plenty to do at Raystown, but after two nights I was DONE (well, "finished," if you want to get nit-picky about word choice). The kids' behavior was less than ideal, probably because they were stuck with each other and their parents for two days straight; it was hot; and a 35-foot RV may be large by RV standards, but not by "normal" standards. I told Brian I was finished with camping until Labor Day.

So now, two-thirds of the way through summer vacation (eek!) and with two somewhat-major camping trips under my belt, I can say I am "okay" with camping. In an RV. With electricity, running water, and lots of activities nearby. After all, The Camping Princess can spend only so much time lounging in her air-conditioned abode, eating microwaved s'mores.