Saturday, January 8, 2011

Divide and Conquer Strategy

Jacob and Lucy were perfecting their "divide and conquer" strategy the past three days on our business trip to New Jersey. The strategy comes in two varieties: either they separate mommy and daddy and try to wear us down individually or they take turns taking shots at us. Both methods were used in the past four days.

They started off in the hotel's swimming pool. Now you may have seen the (entirely accurate) reports of snow storms on Friday and Saturday. Clearly, our hotel had an indoor pool with a hot tub on the side. Jacob loved the pool. His favorite game was Cliff Hanger, where he'd hang on to the edge and make a circuit all the way around the pool. The pool was a fairly cold on Wednesday and Thursday and was tolerable on Friday and Saturday. I suspect they heat it on the weekends when there's more patrons to take advantage of it. At any rate, Jacob didn't seem to mind the cold so much, but mommy and daddy did. So did Lucy. All she wanted to do was sit in the hot tub and play with the bubbles and foam that the jets created. Neither child should have spent a lot of time exclusively in either pool, so we had to do a lot of switching. The switching was rather unwelcome to the children, so they went back to their favorite quickly. Of course, Lucy attached herself to me and Jacob to Angie, so we parents also had to switch from pretty cold to pretty warm water and back and forth quite regularly. Eventually we had to get out and go back to the room, which was more unpopular than switching pools. Yikes!

Then we had to eat out a lot which was a big challenge. Jacob has lost all his "sit quietly and wait for the meal" skills. To be fair to him, he was sitting and waiting two or three times a day, so his reserves must have been depleted by overuse. One night we went to a Chinese restaurant. Luckily we were the only patrons, because Jacob became a wanderer. He'd go to the window to see the traffic. He'd go to the plant to see how it was doing. He'd go to the fish tank and count the fish. We should have had him count the pebbles in the bottom of the tank, maybe that would have kept him occupied. Anyway, by the time the food came, he was not interested in sitting or eating. Eventually, I had to give him a time out to get him to settle down. He never really ate until we got back to the hotel and had snack time before bed. Our best night was when we got frozen dinners (pasta & meatballs and mac & cheese) and ate them in hotel's breakfast area. Double yikes!

The coup de grace came at night. Jacob would cry out in his sleep for ten or fifteen minutes with us trying to shush him. By the time he settled down, Lucy started her shift of moaning, crying, and standing in the crib demanding attention. Usually a bottle would settle her, but one evening I had her in my lap for twenty minutes before she let me put her down. Angie and I increased our sleep deficit on this trip, because the children still woke up at their usual 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. times. Triple yikes!

We came back on Saturday, through more snow. Hopefully we can recover on Sunday before heading into another week of the usual life. No more pools for the foreseeable future. Meals will be mostly at home. I'll probably take the children out for snacks once or twice a week to build up their "sit and eat" skills. And having them back in their own separate bedrooms is quite a blessing. I hope we get plenty of sleep tonight. We need it!

Lucy makes a break for it! Jacob heads the other way off camera.

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