Today’s dispatch comes to you from the bathroom of our hotel room at the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki. The reason it’s coming from the bathroom and not, say, a sun-dappled balcony is because I’m waiting for Maggie to fall asleep and I’m also waiting on fresh towels. I can’t hear housekeeping with the balcony door shut, nor can Maggie see me while she’s trying to fall asleep without thinking it’s playtime and so, I have to hide. When Maggie starts tucking her baby dolls in and singing to them, it’s a pretty reliable indicator that she needs a little nap herself. It’s also pretty damn cute.
We’re here courtesy of our move to England. The movers whisked all our belongings away, except for a few things to head over on the quick boat, and so we’re here until our flight to the DC area. It’s an exceptionally sweet deal, this hotel stay. With a rather nice shaded playground, multiple pools, a saltwater lagoon, and Waikiki beach within a five-minute walk of the room, I needn’t have worried about how I was going to occupy Maggie without her collection of books. We’ve done a ton of outdoor activities and it’s not even 1:30.
Where we’ll really run into trouble is in Maryland. We’ll be evicted from the comfortable bosom of Conrad Hilton’s Hawaiian empire and put in a long-term residence hotel about fifteen minutes from the airport. We stayed at the MD hotel last year and while it has much to recommend it (decent and free breakfast buffet, free wireless internet, en suite kitchens) its only views are of other residential hotels and the Bass Pro Shop sign from the mall across the way. It’s a business hotel, not a hotel intended for families and thus a little harder to entertain a toddler, although I’m prepared to let her spend an hour unseating the tourism brochures from the rack in the lobby and putting them back if it comes to that.
So far everyone seems happy. Overseeing the move and all the dust dislodged from the inner crevices of our apartment has left Tom a bit of a nasally mess and I’m going to become horribly fat from ordering food on a per diem allowance, but we’re happy. Careful monitoring of the State of the Maggie has led me to believe that while she’s in generally decent spirits, she’s also very stressed. More kicking and more hitting, though she stops when reprimanded, and asking “Home? Go home?” which is really tough to hear.
One thing that’s new is the stress-crying. Small setbacks like “This cup is too big for you to drink out of very well, let Daddy help you hold it” will wreck her. Her frustration at not being in control was more than the situation really warranted and was atypical for her generally relaxed nature. Another time I spoke to her about kicking and she lost it completely. It took a good ten minutes of “hic-hic-hic-SOB” for her to get herself under control. It was obvious in Maggie’s eyes that she really wanted to stop, but she couldn’t–she didn’t understand herself or why she was reacting that way. These weren’t tantrum tears; these were the tears of a kid who had been trying hard to keep it together and could not any longer.
Maybe a parenting expert could tell me what I should have done differently or would tell me I’m coddling or spoiling her, but there was no consequence for kicking that time. We found a rocking chair, we had a long cuddle and a gentle talk about touching with kindness, and Mommy kissed all the tears away. Being little is hard enough and while kicking and hitting are not behaviors that are tolerated in this family, it’s occasionally in everyone’s best interest to look the other way.
Other than those few incidents, Maggie’s been a delight and we’ve been loving the family time. Without wireless internet (which is a topic for a whole other post) or reading lights on the balcony, Tom and I have taken to sitting out for two or three hours with a bottle of wine and talking between Maggie’s bedtime and ours. We get to look back and look forward without anything in the way to distract us. We’ve been together for almost six years and he still has stories that I haven’t heard yet, which is delighful. We have also started to discuss details of future plans–another child(ren?), investments, perhaps buying property–in a concrete way.
Big things are happening in 2011 for Team Ninja, and so far, so good. And now that Maggie is asleep, I’m going to kick back on that balcony.