It's brought many a stronger mom than me to her knees.
Coming off a vacation is hard enough, but when a four-year-old kid has to return to structure and rules after six solid days of anything-goes fun-in-the-sun, it's especially hard.
In this house, there are no brand-new firetrucks (with water squirting action!) just because it's Tuesday. There's no sleep 'til whenever and then watch a movie every morning. There is no buy a chocolate cake for dessert just because it looked yummy.
And my loving hubby, home from his business trip? Not exactly helping. He somehow snagged leftover Easter Bunny chocolate for pennies on the dollar as the souvenir of his trip. (To be fair, I got some too!) But I'm the one doling it out, one lousy piece at a time.
In other words, I am now the Wicked Witch of the East. I drag his little butt out of bed, make him go potty, and issue threats until all the cars are picked up. He's gone a whole five days - five days! - without a new toy. If his loving Mimi hadn't snagged him a Bigfoot Monster Truck the last day there, he'd hardly have any fun at all!
I don't mean to make my mom sound like she let him have ice cream for breakfast or anything. She had a ready supply of carrots and ranch dressing on hand and wasn't shy about handing them out. In fact, the one time I finally got the kid to talk to me on the phone, he whined about something, and Mom said, "Can you say that without whining?" before I could get the exact same words out. She was doing her best to keep the little rugrat in line. And all in all, it worked. We've managed to keep the screaming (on both sides of the toys) to a minimum around here.
It'll be short-lived. I am frantically trying to fix books and get shoes broken in and business cards printed before Mom and I leave for the Romance Writers of America National Conference in just about two and a half weeks. My agent and I have been figuring out what's good, what's not, and how to pitch it.
And what will my menfolk be doing in my absence? My hubby will be working 15 hour days. This is his insane time of year. And since he has no car and can't drive, that leaves the kid . . . with his other set of grandparents down on the family farm. Fields, tractors, and toys dating back to the '60s. (My wonderful mother-in-law never threw anything away. NEVER!) A whole new round of spoiling, just as we were getting back into our normal routine.
Still, this is what summer was made for. He's four now, and getting out and exploring the wide world with people who love you and keep you safe is a pretty big deal.
Especially if those people aren't Mom and Dad.