On Wednesday we packed up the car and drove three hours through farm country. At a restaurant bathroom en route, they kids were loudly yelling "poopy!" despite repeated requests to stop. They giggled when I got annoyed and continued to egg each other on (3 and 5 are exactly the wrong ages for impulse control). Finally I said that there would be no stories. This usually gets William to stop. He loves his bedtime stories (Jadzia doesn't care). In this case, they both kept going.
We arrived at the Pinery in the afternoon, a provincial park that for me is the setting for many happy childhood memories. After setting up the campsite we went to the beach. We had a pleasant time in the water, then built a sand castle together with each child adding their own creative touches. I made thrones and a table for the king and queen and Jadzia put small handfuls of dirt on them saying they were the people.
William was hungry and it was nearly dinner time so we washed the sand off our bodies and prepared to leave. At this point William had a massive freak out. Not because we were leaving the beach, oh no, because I asked him to hold my hand and not crawl in the sand. William told me I was the stupidest person in the world and that he didn't like me. Finally I told him that we wouldn't be fishing after dinner like we'd planned.
After eating fire-roasted fish, Adam drove into town to get some things we'd forgotten and to avoid being tempted by S'mores. I sat the kids a safe distance from the fire and put marshmallows on very long sticks for them. Neither of them actually like roasted marshmallows (they prefer raw) but they delight in the roasting process. Especially Jadzia who got seven marshmallows to catch on fire and let them them drip into the flame. I made us some S'mores with my new S'more maker while re-mallowing sticks and frantically trying to avoid a third degree burn scenario. I told the kids the "stop, drop, and roll" rule but they just laughed and turned away. The only burn suffered was my own. I now have the imprint of my S'more maker on my inner forearm.
Far from salvaging the camping experience, the sugar got the kids riled up and I finally had to institute a walk to the washroom in order to keep from killing them. To avoid malicious pee accidents, we recently instituted a one-pair-of-underwear-a-day rule for Jadzia. She wets her underwear, she gets a diaper. Jadzia responded to this by pooing in her diaper, something she hasn't done for months. Well, when we got to the comfort station I discovered a poop in her diaper. The kids giggled and exclaimed "poopy!" "poopy!" as I wiped the excrement from my daughter's butt. I told them to stop, but I felt less like an authority figure and more like the victim of schoolyard bullies, whining "stop it!" as they taunted me.
Finally they brought me to tears, not that that's hard to do when I'm stressed. Anyway, witnessing their mother have a nervous breakdown in the campground washroom was a wake-up call for them and they finally stopped. Ha! So not! Jadzia had to walk back to the campsite bare-bummed because I hadn't brought an extra diaper with me (because she's a big girl, not an infant for Spock's sake!) William pointed and squealed "vagina!" and "naked!" the whole way back.
Adam got back at that point and he "put the kids" to bed. Without stories, there wasn't much to do besides put them in the tent, give them a lecture about treating Mommy better, and tell them to go to sleep. Surprise, they didn't. They screamed and giggled. Actually, it was more Jadzia screaming while William, in a low voice, told her what to yell. I really regretted not bringing any alcohol with me. We threatened to cancel the whole trip. They yelled "Stupid Mommy!" "Stupid Daddy!" Our plan had been to wait until the next morning to see if their behaviour had improved, but at that point the idea of getting in the tent with them was so repugnant to me that we packed up the campsite.
I went for a last washroom break as Adam put the tent on the roof. Looking in the mirror I thought "boy do I ever look tired, even my hair looks tired." I could hear the kids wailing all the way from the comfort station. I hoped this was because they were upset about the trip being cancelled (up until that point they hadn't seemed to care). Nope. They had got hold of the dog food (measured out for four days) and emptied it inside the car.
We drove three hours home and thankfully the kids fell asleep in the car, seemingly unaware of the gravity of the situation. The next morning, they were back to demanding snacks and screen time as normal. We limited the snacks (no matter how annoying they are we do have to feed them) and instituted a ban on screen time. At first it looked like they were going to have another stellar day, but by the afternoon William was being a little angel, building whimsically-engineered tanks and segways out of Lego. By dinner time, even Jadzia was behaving. So we decided to take them fishing.