We’re sitting on the beach, discussing where to go for dinner when Big Brother screams. He’s suddenly in tears. ”The Princess stepped on my air plane and kicked it!” She spontaneously hugs and kisses her brother, apologizing, to avoid a time out. When order is restored, she starts dancing on the beach with 12 imaginary princesses. “I just LOVE this beach, Mama!” The Princess is spinning in the sand as she speaks. “Mostly because there are no COPS, Mommy.”
Meanwhile, Milk Man walks back to the Family Fun Zone on the board walk. He plays two hours of arcade games to win 225 tickets. “It’s not like I was having fun,” he later claims, as he opens the packages of toys. That’s exactly how many tickets are required to get two balsa wood air planes as prizes. For some reason, I don’t believe him. He continues his argument. “I had to play against myself in the water gun game to win enough tickets. I looked insane.” I laugh. Milk Man is a good dad.
Trying to create some bonding time with the Princess, I take her to tea at the Emlen Physick Estate Cottage in the middle of a thunder shower. Rain and lightning won’t stop us from having the tea party mommy promised. We pick out old fashioned hats, and eat delicate sandwiches while the wind rattles the windows. “Oh…This is a LOVELY tea party, Mama! I actually love WEEDS, Mommy,” the princess exclaims, the peacock feather on her “lady hat” bobbing up and down as she holds up the lettuce she pulled out of her sandwich.
Of course we have to change hats between courses. The Princess finds a reason every ten minutes, because there are so many interesting choices hanging on the wall. “This one is just too scratchy!” She chooses a blue hat from the wall. “I see the Queen Mum has arrived,” laughs our waitress as she places tea pots on the table. Little sister tilts her head, thinking, then declares, “No, just a beautiful princess, that’s me.” She sips her tea like she’s done this before.
All goes smoothly until dessert is ending. The Princess attempts to get up and change her hat for a final time. The table cloth gets caught in her flip flop, and I steady the table by reflex. Her chair topples over sideways, and she and her grand hat are on the ground. Tears are welling up in her eyes as I help her up, and dust her off. Placing her big “lady hat” back on her head I hug her. “Don’t worry Princess, every lady falls on her face once in a while.”
I’m thinking of this as I’m trying not to trip down the deck stairs, carrying all of the stuff to our car on the last day in Cape May. Milk Man has taken the kids back to the beach so I can clean and pack up. When he returns, the car is packed and I’m ready to leave. All he has to do is shut a window for me that I was not strong enough to close, and grab the kid’s pillows. He gets in the car without the pillows and I ask where they are. “Oh no, I left them in the house. I already locked the keys in there. Should I call the landlord?” Sweaty and tired, I feel like fighting. “No, forget it; they’re just pillows. I try to hold back and not say it, but I can’t help myself. “I packed the car and the pillows were your only responsibility.” Then I just sit back and wait.
After stewing over my comment for a minute, Milk Man snaps, “Well, why don’t you put it in your blog!” I glare at him, getting ready to shoot a response, when the princess puts the kabash on our Summer Vacation Fight. She pipes up from her booster seat. “Don’t worry Daddy, every lady falls on her face once in a while. Can we go get Hell Hound out of jail now?”