Steak Dinner for Two

  The plan was for D and I to have dinner at the Ruth's Chris Steak House in Waikiki.  To make that happen with two small children, we made the reservation for 9pm and were going to walk the kids around town until they fell asleep and then go eat.  Of course, that's not what happened.
  Shortly after we got back to the hotel from Kailua, Sky and I left again to go see a movie.  There weren't any G movies showing so we went to see Rise of the Guardians, which is PG.  I had seen a trailer for the movie and had some reservations about taking Sky to it, but there was nothing else to take her to.  I knew even at the time that I should have come up with something else for us to do but there's not a lot of little-kid things to do in Waikiki so a movie seemed like the best option.  I told her to cover her eyes if she ever got scared and that we could leave whenever she wanted, and I offered to leave several times during the movie but she always wanted to stay, and overall, she did really well in the movie.
  After the movie, I took her to a diner-style restaurant for dinner- cue explosions.  A tense day, in an unfamiliar car, without enough time to run around, followed by a slightly scary movie, meant that the first real downtime of the day was the best time to go nuclear.  The first time I told her no (for playing under the table), she went off, kid-style, kicking walls, yelling, and pulling my hair.  I could see it developing and got ahold of our waitress to ask her to get our order to go.  As soon as the waitress heard, "My daughter can't do this right now", she got everything into to-go containers and brought the check.  Sky was reaching epic tantrum proportions while I was trying to sign the check and pretty much everyone in the restaurant was watching by then.  I managed to get us into a taxi and back to the hotel but as soon as we got back to our room, I gave her to D and said, "I can't do this" and went to the bathroom to have my own meltdown.
  I was so frustrated, not with Sky but at myself.  I felt so powerless, like such an incompetent parent, because I didn't know how to help Sky when she needed it most.  D sent me out to the restaurant to have some dinner to regroup while he got the kids ready for bed and when I got back, he headed out for his dinner.
  We made it through most of the next day, our last in Hawaii, pretty well until just before dinner.  I was taking Sky to the bathroom and she didn't want to go so she went for my hair again.  I got us into the family restroom and started crying in front of her.  She had really gotten her hands into my hair (her go-to when she really wants to strike out at me) and I was crushed emotionally, tired of having to climb this mountain again, and just tired period.  I showed her how she was hurting Mommy and asked her why she wanted to make Mommy cry.  I had been trying to get out of her what was wrong since the night before but my crying finally got her past her angry to her hurt:  "".  Sky was still upset because of how things had gone the day before in the car.
  D and I have a really solid relationship and never really fight.  We do have disagreements but Sky sees us solve them.  There's almost never real tension in our house like there was when we were lost in Kailua, and Sky didn't know how to deal with it.  She had had to listen to us have a disagreement when she couldn't see us and then had never seen the resolution.  And it happened on a day without enough play in it, when she was trapped in an unfamiliar car seat and was followed up by a movie with anger in it.  In an instant, everything made sense.  I was able to talk to her about it, we practiced better way to say that we're mad and we practiced how to let go of our mad.  She let me give her big hugs and asked for more.
  This is hard.  Everyone will tell you that but until you're in the trenches, you really have no idea how hard it can be.  And just when I think I've got it, everything gets turned around.  I thought that it was enough to prepare Sky ahead of time, to say the travel mantra and to talk up the trip and that would be enough, but for Sky, it wasn't.  Just talking about something ahead of time didn't help Sky deal with all the upheaval of being on vacation. I keep thinking of ways that I could have handled everything differently, better, but since we can only live forward, I'll just have to hope that I remember them for the inevitable next time.


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