Refresher tramp

The day started badly.

5:43  “Mommy, Mommy!  Me wake!”

It’s not unheard-of for a two year old to wake up early, even on a weekend  (especially on a weekend).  I know that.  It’s just that at 5:43 I’m not in my most rational state.  “How inconsiderate!” I think. “The nerve of that kid!  It’s the weekend! She’ll wake up Milo!”

I vault out of bed and gallop to her room.  “Naomi!” I whisper fiercely.  “It’s still night time.  Turn over and go back to sleep!”

“Huggie!” she demands.  I touch her head lightly in what I hope is a “not worth calling for me again hug,” then wait for a couple seconds shivering in the dark.  It seems to have worked.

Just as I was drifting off again Milo intruded with a whine.  “Mom, I’m hungry.”  I didn’t answer.  I’m chasing that elusive dream, and besides, it’s futile.  I told him he was going to be hungry in the morning because he didn’t eat his dinner last night.  And I told him not to come to me begging for oats when I was still in bed.  No matter what I tell him now, the squawking has started, the peace is shattered.

“Milo, close the door!” Jeremiah growls.  He’s not pleased.

“But I’m hungry!”

“Get a banana and close the door!” The growl becomes a bark.

“But I want oats!”  He’s persistent, I’ll give him that.

“Milo, CLOSE THE DOOR!”  Jeremiah overestimates the power of his voice commands.  Milo doesn’t care.  He’s hungry.  He wants oats.  He is unconcerned about how we feel.

The dual continues at intervals for the next hour. I overheard Milo instructing Naomi to go ask us for oats, but she’s smart.  She peers into our dark room, makes hesitant noises, then decides it’s not in her best interest to disturb us.

Finally Jeremiah abandoned the bed.  I hear the bathroom door creak and the shower run for a long time.  I stay under the warm covers.  I haven’t slept for the past two hours, but the house is frigid and nothing pleasant awaits me if I emerge.  Milo will win from sheer bullying.  I always loose.  I’m pissed.  I don’t want to see him or talk to him.

Jeremiah returned to the bedroom to get dressed.  “I give up,” I announce in despair.  “We should just move back to the States.  We need parenting help.  We need to move next door to some grandparents.”  I had never envisioned parenting being so difficult.  I had thought that if you set firm boundaries, kids would respect them.  I had thought that only lazy parents had horrible kids.  Perhaps I’m a bad, lazy parent.  Oh my God….I’m failing at parenting.

“That’s just you.  You always give up,” Jeremiah stated.  He went out to do his parenting bit, a stern talking-to for Milo regarding his morning’s inconsiderate behavior.  I’m pretty sure the reprimand fell on deaf ears.

When I finally emerge the heat pump wasn’t working and I could see my breath.  I made Milo his oats, refusing to engage him in conversation.  I stare at him, stonily, and tell him I’m frustrated and I don’t know what do to with him.  He eats his bowl of oatmeal, then a banana with peanut butter, then a second bowl of oats.  Belly full, he’s sunny again.  He won.  I lost.  I can’t regain my equilibrium, and at the moment I despise him.

“Well, I guess we had better mobilize,” I say to Jeremiah after we’ve both had a hot drink and he’s fiddled with the heat pump.  Good thing we packed most of the stuff for our tramping trip the night before.

It was just out of Christchurch when Milo’s head tilted back in his car seat and he began to snooze.  Naomi sang Happy Birthday for another half hour (she’s so much more cheerful than Milo) before she, too, nodded off.  We listened to a podcast on aviation, pausing at intervals to converse.  We started to feel better.

At the Mt Somers car park Milo awoke. Rosy-cheeked, he stomped on a frozen puddle. “What’s this? Why is it so hard?” I laugh. “It’s ice, Milo. We don’t have much of that in Christchurch, do we?”

At the Mt Somers car park Milo awoke. Rosy-cheeked, he stomped on a frozen puddle. “What’s this? Why is it so hard?” I laugh. “It’s ice, Milo. We don’t have much of that in Christchurch, do we?”

We tromped along the trail, Naomi cosy on my back through the beech forest. We stopped to admire the thick hoar frost. I tasted the tiny candied droplets handing off hair-like strands on beech tree trunks. “Mommy ate bug poo!” Jeremiah exclaims. “Poo candy!” I say. “Gummy bear poo!” Milo chimes in.

We tromped along the trail, Naomi cosy on my back through the beech forest. We stopped to admire the thick hoar frost. I tasted the tiny candied droplets handing off hair-like strands on beech tree trunks. “Mommy ate bug poo!” Jeremiah exclaims. “Poo candy!” I say. “Gummy bear poo!” Milo chimes in.

The sky is a deep, saturated winter blue. The air is fresh and still. Milo walks along like a trooper, fuelled by gummy bears. We’re having a quality family time. It’s a miracle.

The sky is a deep, saturated winter blue. The air is fresh and still. Milo walks along like a trooper, fuelled by gummy bears. We’re having a quality family time. It’s a miracle.

We reach the fresh snow line, and still Milo trucks along. Up hill. Through snow. With a good attitude. I keep turning around and snapping his picture, a little bright blue boy walking gamely in front of his daddy. I can hardly believe this is my child. His boots get wet and we steal Naomi’s dry socks to put on his cold feet. We spot the hut, dispense a few more gummy bears, and speculate on the probability of scoring a bunk.

We reach the fresh snow line, and still Milo trucks along. Up hill. Through snow. With a good attitude. I keep turning around and snapping his picture, a little bright blue boy walking gamely in front of his daddy. I can hardly believe this is my child. His boots get wet and we steal Naomi’s dry socks to put on his cold feet. We spot the hut, dispense a few more gummy bears, and speculate on the probability of scoring a bunk.

A young boy opens the door when we arrive. “Any beds left?” Jeremiah enquires. “A couple,” he concedes. Hurray! Relief makes my smile bigger. The hut is full of with families with young kids, and ours take about 30 seconds to join the swarm. We put two mattresses together, lay out our sleeping bags, and dress the kids to go play in the snow.

A young boy opens the door when we arrive. “Any beds left?” Jeremiah enquires. “A couple,” he concedes. Hurray! Relief makes my smile bigger. The hut is full of with families with young kids, and ours take about 30 seconds to join the swarm. We put two mattresses together, lay out our sleeping bags, and dress the kids to go play in the snow.

“Hey, do you mind if I take a walk?  I just need a few minutes to myself,” I ask Jeremiah as Milo charges up the sledding hill.  “Sure, go ahead,” he says.  Naomi protests loudly.

I splashed across the creek, climbed up the track, then turned off to follow the bunny tracks through the snowy tussocks.  I can’t hear Naomi wailing anymore.  I stop to admire frost at hole in the snow, wondering who lives beneath.  I climb to a shoulder where I can look over to the pass.  The sun is warm, and the snow is clean.  I feel that maybe I can do this mother thing a bit longer.

I hardly saw my kids that first afternoon. I got a little taste of how it must be to raise kids in a small village. Our kids joined the herd. Parents kept an eye on the situation, putting a word in as needed.

I hardly saw my kids that first afternoon. I got a little taste of how it must be to raise kids in a small village. Our kids joined the herd. Other parents kept an eye on the situation, putting a word in as needed.

Milo stayed up late playing flashlights with the other kids. He lost the batteries out of his head lamp, and an older boy helped him find them among the jumble of mattresses and sleeping bags. "Is there anything else we can find?" he asked. I decide older kids are fantastic.

Milo stayed up late playing flashlights with the other kids. He lost the batteries out of his head lamp, and an older boy helped him find them among the jumble of mattresses and sleeping bags. “Is there anything else we can find?” he asked. I decided that older kids are fantastic.

Family mug shot. Bottle the smiles, they're not always there.

Family mug shot. Bottle the smiles, they’re not always there.

I remember doing what the kids are doing here--leaving careful footprints, sometimes on top of the crust but mostly punching through to the softer snow beneath.

I remember doing what the kids are doing here–leaving careful footprints, sometimes on top of the crust but mostly punching through to the softer snow beneath.

Poop success! Naomi didn't like the look of the long drop toilets and wouldn't sit on them long enough to poop. But poop has a way of becoming urgent eventually, and the urgency hit while we were stopped for lunch on our walk out. Poop in a hole with a view, now that's success! Now we can go anywhere.

Poop success! Naomi didn’t like the look of the long drop toilets and wouldn’t sit on them long enough to poop. But poop has a way of becoming urgent eventually, and the urgency hit while we were stopped for lunch on our walk out. Poop in a hole with a view, now that’s success! Now we can go anywhere.

There's a classic New Zealand South Island landscape for you--snow topped tussock mountains, and a kid in shorts and stripy tights.

There’s a classic New Zealand South Island landscape for you–snow topped tussock mountains, and a kid in shorts and stripy tights.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first snow trip of the winter.

I thoroughly enjoyed this first snow trip of the winter.

Bravo Milo, you walked all the way to Woolshed creek hut and back.

Bravo Milo, you walked all the way to Woolshed creek hut and back.

 

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One thought on “Refresher tramp

  1. I am thoroughly enjoying parenting vicariously through you & Jeremiah! 😉 (p.s. – The Shaws have arrived in Sterling and are getting settled.)

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