Sleeping cold in Minnesota

Eldest child woke up to tell me that she was warm as toast all night long. Then she went back to sleep. Braggart. I was cold. Cold enough to wake up multiple times and have to burrow into the blanket to breathe a hot air cave so I can go back to sleep cold.

Wench.

All of our sleeping bags and the big heavy blanket from Tay are at the dry cleaners. Apparently here in Duluth it takes seven days to clean blankets. We don’t get any of our bedding back until the night before we leave. This is gonna be cold.

It’s supposed to rain approximately every other day we are here. That’s strangely fun for the drought stricken Californians. We spend a lot of time dancing in the rain.

Today we are on our own entirely. I’m strangely ok with that. We will eat through some of our perishable food and that makes me happy. I’m more than a little weird about food.

I stopped there to yank the kids out of bed and throw them in the van. We were almost late to our oil change appointment. Whoops. We made it.

We went to the park. We went on a cruise around Lake Superior and learned a lot of the history of this area. That was fun. We mailed three boxes home to Noah full of books. The passenger seat is still entirely buried in books I’ve bought on this trip. Oh boy. Guess we’ll never pick up a hitch hiker.

We found out that youngest is too young for the Boys and Girls Club so I don’t get baby sitting services in Duluth. Lots of crying over that disappointment.

Big sister was so awesome. “If they won’t let you stay, I’m not staying! It’s the Gibbs Girls against the world! Uhm I mean the Gibbs Kids.”

It was… hilarious and wonderful.

We are having a hard time transitioning with pronouns. Because youngest keeps slipping and going back and forth with self-references. Today I said, “Kid I’ll call you whatever you want but you have to pick something.”

The boy name seems to be fading. Oh goodness. Says the name Calli is too awesome to ditch. But still insisting on boy pronouns.

I asked, when we were walking into the Boys and Girls Club what the kiddo wanted me to say if the folks asked about gender. I said, “Do you want me to say you are a boy or do you want me to keep my mouth shut.” Kid said, “Keep your mouth shut. If they want to know they can ask me.”

I love you.

Then I saw the 6 year old requirement and it all went to crap. Oh well.

Both kids said, “You let us lie about age for the horse ride! Why not this?!”

My response: I was there the whole time on the ride. If there was a problem I would be able to handle it. Dropping you off somewhere that you have to take care of yourself is different. They want you to be older for lots of reasons.

I feel a little bad about lying for the horseback ride. But it went fine so not that bad.

Over the next few days we will be going on a train ride around the area, to the Children’s Museum, the Aquarium, swimming in Lake Superior, and we will try several local-only restaurants. We’ve played at one of the biggest parks in the area and know of three more we should try.

Oh, we had a thing at the park. A little boy had a hard time negotiating. He was much smaller than youngest kid, so I assume he was only three. I don’t know exactly how things got started but eventually the boy was throwing the rubber tire bits at my kids and yelling that my kids were the meanest, nastiest kids EVER.

Eldest child came to get me. She said, “Is it ok if you come stand over where we are playing? We are having a problem with the kid and his mom is kinda helping but I think it would be a good idea for you to be close by.”

leaped up from my bench. Sure! Yes! That’s why I’m here!

The little boy followed us to the swings, sat next to us and proceeded to start haranguing us about how my kids were the NASTIEST, MEANEST, STUPIDEST KIDS EVER.

I turned to him and said, “If you have a problem with us, walk away and stop yelling at us. You do not need to stand there and be nasty.”

He looked a little shocked. Soon his mom walked over and was apologetic. She was very directive. She told him to stay away from us if he couldn’t play nice. She pulled him away to chat.

He came back a little while later to apologize for throwing things. His mom looked kind of horrified and tense at first. I told her that my kids weren’t angels and my kids were probably antagonizing him too. She looked relieved that I wasn’t angry. She said, “No kids are angels. They all need help.” I agreed emphatically and we both laughed.

Then the boy was still a bit aggressive again and I prompted my youngest to say, “If you throw things at me I won’t want to play with you. If you want to play with me you have to ask nicely.” Kid said it, the boy agreed, and happy play went on.

Learning to negotiate is hard. It’s complicated. I know kids are going to fuck up and they need to be forgiven. I know that.

But that apology made all the difference.

If his mother had been defensive or snotty or aggressive… I would have stomped off with many nasty things to say. But that’s not what happened. The mom didn’t say “It’s all your fault”. (Not even to my kid.) She said, “Oh man I’m sorry this happened.”

I can respect that. Little kids will do shit you don’t like. Accept it, apologize, try to move on.

I feel very ok about how it worked out.

I’m looking forward to not hanging with my friend tonight. I may end up sitting in the van by myself for a while. Just to be alone.

I like my friend! I’m super glad to be here! I’ve been on the road for 36 days. I’m tired. I finally started bleeding today. 37 days between cycles this time. That’s too long. It means my extra fun crazy period of time before bleeding stretches on longer and longer.

Oh, on the cruise today there was a whole group of people from a 50th high school reunion. One of them asked eldest child my name. Kid said my name. Everyone nearby said, “What?! Your mom is crazy?!”

I laughed and said, yes I am crazy. But she said my name is Krissy. I got some weird looks.

I’m having fun. I’m glad we are doing this. Going home will be so nice. I miss the pictures on the wall. I feel like I’m forgetting.

But you know what is super rad? My friends are coming through. I’m getting comments, SMSs, emails, letters, cards, phone calls…

I wanted to pull the threads taut and see which held. I’m seeing. I feel so very grateful for the friends I have and the life I lead. I do not deserve any of you. Thank you for being my friend.

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