Sullen and Surly and the Battle of the Buffets

We were at Hershey Park yesterday and Boy9 got sullen and surly.  As I stood there reprimanding him for his sullen surliness I had that deflating realization you get when you realize that your child is Just Like You.  Or at least, is Just Like You when you were at that age.  I have a number of photographs of myself as a kid with the exact same look on my face that he had on his.  In each of the photographs, we’re on vacation somewhere.

I’ve been pondering all last night and today what to do for this child.  The good news is that I can clearly remember what it was like to feel sullen and surly.  Don’t ask Darling Husband, because he’ll give you faulty information, but I’m pretty sure that for the most part my sullen, surly days are over.  But I can remember it pretty clearly, so maybe I can figure out how to help my sullen, surly boy when he gets that way.

Most of the time, I was well aware that I was being sullen and surly and needed some alone time to get over it.  But, when we were on vacation, there was no alone time.  You were crammed in a car, crammed in a hotel room, crammed waiting in line, crammed at a restaurant table.  There was no space.

So…leading up from yesterday to today’s picture of the day.

These are the books I got at the library today:

I went alone, and stayed there for over an hour wandering up and down all three aisles.  It’s been about 2 days since I had a good book in hand and I was understandably getting pretty desperate.  It was while at the library, reveling in the quiet, that I realized that Boy9 needs more alone time.   Because once Darling Husband and Boy7 wandered off to ride some water slides, and I let Boy9 play by himself on the water spray-ee things, and then rode on the lazy river with him in silence, he was fine.  He just needed some space to get over his sullen surliness.

It seems that Boy9 and I are the same on the introvert/extrovert scale; smack in the middle.  When I’m at an event with people, I love it.  But when I’m alone by myself, I love it.  I just don’t love either one too much.

There was a bit of time when the kids were very young, and I was stuck in the house alone with children for years on end.  That was the worst of both worlds.  On one hand, I was achingly alone; there was absolutely no intellectual stimulation.  But, at the same time, I was never alone.  Every minute of the day, I was unrelentingly needed.  Need, need, need, give, give, give…all day long.

So next year, I’m thinking our vacation will include Darling Husband taking Boy7 to the local pool for the day, while Boy9 and I stay at home reading books.  Then we’ll all go out to dinner with some friends at Li’s Buffet.  That sounds like a little bit of heaven.

Speaking of Li’s Buffet, we have a bigger problem than I thought.  Darling Husband made the startling declaration that he likes JJ Habachi Buffet better than Li’s!  But I like Li’s Buffet better than JJ Habachi Buffet.

I believe that this may be the first time in our 20 years of marriage that we utterly disagree on a critical issue.  I’m really not sure how we’ll resolve it, as we’ve never had to deal with such gut-wrenching conflict before.  This is Democrat marrying Republican, Atheist marrying Evangelical territory.  It’s not Chocolate marrying Peanut Butter.  That would be good.  This is not good.  This is bad.  This means that whenever we go to Li’s, we’ll simply have to go to JJ’s the next day.  And if we go to JJ’s, then we’ll have to go to Li’s.

I think it’s only fair, don’t you?


4 thoughts on “Sullen and Surly and the Battle of the Buffets

  1. Hey, wait a minute. I didn’t say I like JJ’s better (well maybe I did. In the applicable words of Oliver North, “I have no recollection of those events ever occurring”). I probably said that I really like the grill. You know me. Offer to take me out to dinner and I’m not picky. Ask my opinion and I like the grill….

    • Well, since I can’t let a sleeping dog lie and must beat the dead horse, I’m pretty sure you said you like JJ’s better. The Moffatts were witness–they can confirm or deny.

      But it’s good to know that this sticky wicket of a problem is now solved: you’ll be happy to go wherever I want to go. What a great perk to marrying you.

  2. One week Li’s, the next week JJ’s, if you could keep it to once a week. That wouldn’t work because y’all are spur of the moment people.
    You could flip a coin.
    you could ask the boys which place they liked the fries the best. If they were as torn over which, like you are, the decision is easy.
    Divorce. Each gets a boy. You get the house and dh has to live in the van.
    Or you could flip a coin.

    • The fries are the same at both places. They ran out of them at JJ’s and headed over to Li’s to get a bag for us. But Boy7 likes the roast beast at JJs, so that could be the tie-breaker.

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