Ava finding her eggs in our neighborhood park
Preston in his Easter Sunday best
Elsa showing off her walking skills
Well, fast forward a year and some change and we have indeed been able to make our first trip – short but very sweet. It was not without drama so I shall be kind and rewind a bit.
As I mentioned briefly before our departure, all the kids fell very ill on the Saturday before the trip which gave me horrible anxiety to the future of Hawaii and whether it would happen afterall. The day before we left Elsa got a diaper rash that was so bad it was hard to even look at. Her little bottom looked like it had third degree burns from the terrible antibiotics she was on that was giving her diarhhea and then the searing diaper rash. We tried every cream out there – A&D, Butt Paste, antibiotic cream that I had leftover from their time in the NICU, Desitin, Desitin Overnight — it was fruitless. Elsa was on antibiotics until Thursday night and so we would all just have to hope that the diarhhea would stop shortly thereafter (by the way, in the past two weeks I have had to spell the word diarhhea so many times and I still can’t figure out if there are two “r’s” or two “h’s”. The word is plagueing me kind of like Kindergarten does).
We left on the plane at 6:50am on Thursday morning. Elsa’s diaper rash persisted through Thursday and by Friday she had a strange and mysterious rash the covered most of her body and apparently new spots could virtually be seen appearing. By Friday night Dick and Sherri came down with a wicked bad stomach flu that lasted until Monday morning complete with vomit and that lame “D” word that I am forced to write too often. The Supernanny’s were called in for extra hours while the Domestics barfed and moaned in our bedroom most of the day.
When relayed the news of the persisting diaper rash, the emerging all over skin rash and the in-laws expelling bodily fluids out of a few different orifaces while I was in our beautiful hotel room overlooking our beautiful pool that overlooked the spectacular ocean, I was faced with two options: sheer panic leading to potentially ruining my vacation mode; or calm, realizing that Elsa’s skin will heal and I am sure Dick and Sherri will recover from the stomach flu and be able to take care of my three babies mode. I chose calm mode and took it in in stride knowing that Elsa was in good hands and Dick and Sherri were covered by my wonderful nanny’s until they felt better. So, I put down the phone, grabbed my book in one arm and sunscreen in the other, found myself a delightful lounge chair in the sun and ordered myself a $14 Mai Tai which was $14 because it was actually the upgraded version of a Mai Tai with upgraded rum called the Tai Chi. I said a silent toast to Dick, Sherri, Kathy and Laura for stepping in and making my vacation worry-free and peaceful despite its ups and downs.
By Monday everyone was looking up at home and my vacation was almost coming to a close. I cannot tell you how wonderful it was to leave my house and the normalcy of life to escape even briefly to paradise with Chris, Ava, Angela, Kendall and Lauren. The fact that I was so very excited to go on vacation with Ava and considered that a peaceful and relaxing proposition tells me two things: one, that my perspective in life has changed; two, that Ava has changed. Whereas not long ago a vacation would’ve been sans Ava, now just having Ava is a huge break for me. This is also the first trip with Ava that I have felt confident that I could count on pretty decent behavior from her on the airplane, in restaurants, shopping or wherever our vacation led us. At 4 1/2, I feel like I have finally made it to a good place with Ava. She was so great on the airplane and very impressive in the restaurants. Ava’s good behavior in restaurants was especially impressive considering that she has limited experience in restaurants since I banned her from going with us out to eat following a number of bad experiences and ending with a complete bail out of a restaurant booth onto the floor resulting in a major meltdown.
One night the Hyatt was having a hula dancing night which began with a Hawaiian band. We settled ourselves in the giant outside lobby area and ordered some drinks and food. While the band was up on stage playing, Ava, Kendall and Lauren decided that they would go up in front of everyone and show off their hula skills. It was the cutest thing I think I have ever seen. What really impressed me was these little girls’ ability to get up in front of all those people without being shy and put on their best Hawaiian moves. It was so good that the man from Texas at the next table who told us people think he looks like Jimmy Buffet, came up to us and commended us on our hula dancing daughters. Later that night, obviously impressed by Ava’s talent as a hula dancer, 5 1/2 year old Finley chased Ava around the lobby and then later proclaimed “I have a crush on you”. Ava said “I don’t know what that means.” She proceeded to ignore his advances for the rest of our time at the Hyatt.
Ava, Kendall and Lauren were like three sisters the whole trip, playing nonstop, laughing, swimming, resting together. It warmed my heart. Angela and Chris and I had rooms right next to each other so the girls ran back and forth from room to room all day sharing stories, showing off island wear and eating peanut butter off of spoons.
Our days were mostly spent at the beach or by the pool watching the girls go down the water slide a bazillion times. One day we took a trip up to Princeville to a favorite spot of ours called Queens Bath where we hiked in the mud down to some lava rock and hopped rocks to a perfect little swimming hole called Queen’s Bath. I learned something very interesting about Ava that day; Ava does not like mud. Chris insisted that Ava where her crocs on the walk and since we were hiking in rain there was a lot of mud. When the mud got through the holes in the Croc sandals and on Ava’s feet she freaked out. No amount of “it’s just dirt”, or “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt” would calm her down. Her reality was that she doesn’t like dirt and mud on her body and now her feet were covered in it and she was actually having to walk on her own muddy feet. We finally got her calmed down and enjoying our walk through paradise when the unfortunate happened. I was holding Ava’s hand to help her down a slippery muddy place when I slipped and instead of me falling in the mud I took Ava down. Well, this was a complete nightmare to my mudophrenic-inflicted child. She now had mud all over her feet and her hands and parts of her leg. She lifted her hands up in horror to show me and it looked like she was going to take part in a really fun craft project that involved brown paint and hand stamping. She freaked. I laughed. I couldn’t help it, it was just so darn funny.
We got down to Queen’s Bath, ducking under a few rocks to try and avoid the downpours, and the girls and Chris and I enjoyed a little swim in the bath. It was so nice and there were great fish in there. In fact, there was one man swimming casually looking at fish through his goggles when the girls decided to throw some coco puffs in for the fish and the coco puff landed right in front of this mans goggles and boy did he get a show. That made me laugh really hard too. Ahhh kids.
By day we relaxed and by night we got prettied up and went out to a nice restaurant for dinner. Our trip to Kauai was truly a wonderful one and thank you Angela for inviting us and thank you Dick and Sherri for making it happen for us.