When will she learn and by she, I mean ME, aka Good Enough Mother?

The night before we left on our Orlando adventure, I was scrambling like a crazy woman to pack. The root canal, the summer swim party, the Battle Royale, all conspired to steal the time, which meant by 10:17 pm, I still had nothing in a suitcase. I didn’t even know where the suitcases were!

By midnight I was still up scrambling, which meant I could not ride herd on the posse and Lord knows what sort of malfeasance they were getting into! I finally crawled into bed at 12:30, only to awake 4 hours later (we had a 6:32 am flight!).

Casey, knowing what kind of morning we were facing, went to bed at a decent hour. Cole, who reasons much the way I do, figured, “hey I can sleep on the plane” and tried to pull an all-nighter. He managed to stay up until about 2 am, which meant I practically needed an air horn to get him up and ready.

Things progressed rather quickly once we got going and while waiting to board, Cole, with birthday money burning a hole in his pocket, decided he wanted to buy something to eat on the plane.

That something was a brownie and a Snickers bar. It was his money and we were on vacation. (I did make him eat a bagel with cream cheese first). So before plane even took off, he was unwrapping the brownie. It was 6:12 am. I-am-a-Good-Enough-Mother.

Of course, wheels up and moments later, this was the scene

Leaving early meant we arrived early, tanks to JetBlue, who got us to Orlando 30 minutes ahead of schedule.  The kids were thrilled, as you can see.

We picked up the car (BTW, want a cheap car for the week? Try U-save It’s an off property lot, the cars are about a year old but in good condition and I saved about 40%!) then headed toward the resort. We made the obligatory stops at Wal-Mart, the Dollar Store and the palace of fat and dough, also known as Cici’s pizza, where 3 people stuffed themselves for 17 bucks!

The kids and I got to the resort and tried to check in. While I waited in line, they terrorized patrons and one another with the water weenies we got at the dollar store. “STOP IT!” I hissed on more than one occasion. Yes, I hiss a lot and it’s mostly through clenched teeth.

We couldn’t check in, but we were welcome to use the pool until the room was ready. That’s all Casey and Cole needed to hear and in a flash, they were out the door. Just as we were about to climb into the car, the internal temperature now registering somewhere between 98 and surface-of-the-sun, a woman, ran after me, calling out.

“Excuse me, excuse me? Is your name Rene Syler?” It’s funny how I always get recognized when I look my absolute worst. In this case, not a stitch of make-up, with big black sunglasses on and two kids raising hell in the lobby of a nice resort.

“Yes, yes I am.” How on EARTH did she recognize me?

“I knew that was you because I recognized your son.” This nice lady, Mrs. Price, with a handsome husband and two beautifully behaved girls, had read Good Enough Mother last year as part of her summer reading.  I did not have the heart or strength to ask whether she knew he was my son based on his looks or demeanor, which she was no doubt familiar with.

From there, an afternoon of fun.

But the kids tired quickly, thanks to the early flight, sugar, dough and fat and the sun now beating down on us.  “Hey mom, is the room ready?” They must have asked 23 times. To my chagrin, it was not, thanks to a mechanical issue that kept it off limits until 5:15pm! We dragged the bags to the room on the fifth floor and unpacked. I ran out to get food for the week and discovered upon returning that the elevator was broken. Kaput! And there I stood, in the sweltering evening heat of Orlando, with 12 bags of groceries, a crate of water and 72 steps staring me in the face.  Sigh.

Some nice resort people helped me and after a meal of Chinese take out, we hunkered down for the night. I don’t think anyone took their clothes off or brushed their teeth and when I went and peeked in on the kids, Casey, fatigued and sunburned was struggling to stay awake and Cole was asleep, half of his body on the bed and the other half on a chair.

All in all, a very good Day 1!

Sound familiar? What vacation horror stories have you experienced? And what tricks do you have for traveling with children?