A Winter Road Trip

“Shut your mouth mommy.” It was 6 a.m. this morning when my 2 year old daughter said those exact words not once, but twice. The first time, I wasn’t sure if I heard her. I had not had my coffee yet after all. I just took her to the fitness room in the hotel where I filled up our water bottles for our road trip back home, and we were walking into the hotel breakfast dining area to join my husband and son.

We spent the night in Roanoke because my son had a doctor’s appointment to see a specialist that’s 2 hours from our home. Since it was an early appointment on Monday morning, we decided to drive up on Sunday and explore the area to make the trip more enjoyable.

But the second time she said it, it was louder and more distinct, and it was in front of the whole lobby and breakfast atrium, full of sleepy travelers and perky hotel staff. I was mortified.

Where did she learn to say that? Does she even know what she is saying? She’s only 2 years old after all. She repeats everything. But she said it with a tone of sass, disrespect and humor. How should I react?

I have absolutely no moral platitudes or expert advice to offer, but just to say that being a parent is tough sometimes, and how to react is even tougher. I really don’t think she knew what she was saying, but rather repeating something she heard. Maybe at home, maybe on tv, maybe at play school, the gym daycare. Though it’s not the first time, I doubt it will be the last time or the worst thing she’s ever said. I wish I could take back my angsty words as a teenager to my mom.
It’s crazy how your children can make you cry tears of joy and shame all in the same week. A few days ago, she came up behind me and wrapped her arms around my back while I was cleaning up a spill and says “I love you mommy. You’re my best friend.” So sweet, tender and out of nowhere.

I really didn’t have much of a reaction this morning since I was so tired and embarrassed to say or do anything. I just quietly told her not to say that ever again and that it’s not nice to tell people to shut their mouths.

We were relieved to find out that my son’s plagiocephaly was mild according to the neurosurgeon – and it shouldn’t affect brain development long term – yay, no helmet needed!

It was neat to see the area, the Roanoke Star light up at night and the beautiful view of the city, skating and scootering down the Huckleberry Trail, downtown Blacksburg, visiting the campuses of Radford and Virginia Tech, and eating at two great restaurants, Local Roots in Roanoke and Graze on Main in Wytheville. Our kids amazed me at their dining abilities. I was pretty nervous about taking them into nice restaurants, but it’s amazing how they can surprise you at times.

My 7 month old did not cry until the very end, and my 2 year old used the dining utensils, tried new things and sat quietly without needing the iPad. The only issues we had were going into the restaurant and 2 minutes before leaving – going in, my daughter swung her body out in traffic while I was holding her hand causing every car to stop on a busy road. I held her hand tight so she couldn’t get away, but it startled everyone. And then my son started choking on the mashed butternut squash and NC trout at the end of our meal. This is the third time we’ve had to do the Heimlich Maneuver. No matter how mashed up his food gets, he seems to choke on it.

We’re getting an extra large box of wine from the grocery store tonight.

It would be fun to come back in the summer to enjoy the area when the weather is warmer and when we have more time. Now I’m staring down loads of laundry and bags to unpack from our short one night trip – how simple it was to pack before kids! Now, it’s everything but the kitchen sink – or whatever fits!

I am grateful for it all.

Now, about that wine.



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