It's official. We are moving to a hotel. If you need to reach us, we'll be staying at the Holiday Inn Express, i.e. Heaven.
We took a road trip this weekend to celebrate Will's Uncle Arthur's 50th birthday. At first, the thought of packing all the gear we would need to go away for the weekend with two kids was enough to make me want to stay home. But then, the thought of actually staying in our house for one more day after being so cooped up was enough to send me packing. Besides, Arthur is one of our favorite people in the world, and we wouldn't miss his 50th birthday party if we had ten kids to pack up. So we went, and I'm so glad we did. The party was fabulous. Arthur was fabulous. The dinner... the toasts...the company...the cake -- all fabulous. But nothing—nothing—could compare to taking our kids to a hotel.
Hotels are, apparently, a place for magical transformationsÂ a place where our daughter—the non-napper who equates bedtime with a trip to the gallows—jumped -- no, leaped up onto one of the double beds, squirreled herself under the blankets and said: "Turn off the lights, mama, so I can go to sleep!" It was 4 in the afternoon.
At home, when we tell Julia that it's time for a bath, she hears: "Julia, it's time for your root canal!" You'd think we were pouring acid over her head the way she screams bloody murder if so much as a single drop of water dares to come near an eyeball. But at a hotelÂ at a hotel, this same girl wants to get in the shower, so a steady stream of water can rain down onto her head, and so that she can then turn her face up into the steady stream of water and whirl around with her arms outstretched, shouting "Wheee!" since she is, of course,Liesl from The Sound of Music, caught in the rain storm with Rolfe. This same girl, who thinks her swimming lessons at the Y are some form of child abuse, happily kicks her legs around a hotel pool like one of those tub toy fishies that you wind up and then let skitter over the surface of the water. Part of me was waiting for her to bust out of her floatie and break into a 100m butterfly.
Charlie, too, was transformed by the hotel. He decided that it would be the perfect place to start -- get this -- sleeping. He woke up for a quick nip in the middle of the night, then settled back down and let me sleep in until (drum roll please) 9 a.m. I thought that maybe I had fumbled around with the clock in the middle of the night and knocked it upside down. But no, sure enough, there it was, plain as day: a 9, not a 6.
At a hotel, everything is a marvel. The coffee maker, the microwave, the minifridge. There was even a connecting doorway that allowed our little angel to wander into her uncle and auntie's room to bug them for a while, leaving her parents to enjoy a few moments of quiet, blissful peace.
I too, am apparently a different person at a hotel. When Julia emerged from her shower all drippy wet and wanted to climb into bed, I thought: "Hey, knock yourself out! Who cares if the bed gets soaked? And, would you like some eggs and toast with some sticky red jelly, and maybe some pancakes with some gloppy wet syrup to go with your soaking wet sheets? By all means! Breakfast in bed!" Because someone else -- someone who is definitely not me will be changing the sheets and we will definitely not have to worry about sleeping in sticky wet syrupy jelly-covered sheets on Charlie's first day of kindergarten.
I can see it all now. Julia and Charlie will grow up like Eloise at the Plaza. It will be grand. Except that instead of dining on gold-encrusted china, we'll be microwaving our dinner on Chinet paper plates, and instead of having high tea at the Palm Court, we'll be fishing Fritos out of the vending machine in the hallway. We'll say things like "This coffee filter makes a very good hat!" and "Charge it, please!" and then we'll send our kids off to pester the hotel manager, skiddering their sticks along the hallway walls, while Will and I jump into bed and take a nap.
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