We were still holding it together just fine, but things were starting to slide downhill on September 20, and sliding fast.
We got up in the morning with the intent to Skype with family members back in New Jersey. Francis’ great-grandmother had been waiting for a long time to see her newest great-grandson. This was going to be the first time that we brought out the tablet. After seeing Francis with Gregg’s phone, the digital camera, and the video camera, we knew we had a little technology nut on our hands. We had wanted the tablet to be our Ace in the hole for the plane ride back home, the super-cool new thing to keep him occupied. Well, Skyping back home was the death of that idea. Francis was fascinated with entertaining everyone back home (he recognized everyone we were Skyping with and wasn’t all that shy) and showed off to the best of his ability. After Skyping, he was all about the tablet and discovering the games that we had loaded onto it especially for him. He had an unnerving ability to understand the technology, and an even more unnerving unwillingness to give it up, no matter what we said or did or what other distractions we provided.
Later that day, I took Francis to the pool along with Lola and Lolo. Gregg stayed back at the hotel due to a nasty, painful sunburn he had picked up the last time we visited the pool. We had the whole pool to ourselves – it was wonderful. We brought balls and boats to play with and were set to have a grand old time. Francis and I were having fun dunking under the water and splashing around, and he was in his element swimming between Lola and Lolo and having Lolo toss him in the air.
Like any little boy, though, he wanted to do some things his way. He wanted to run around the pool. He wanted to dive into three feet of water. In general, he wanted to – and did – do some things that he just shouldn’t have done for his own safety. I told him not to do these things. I told him several times not to do them, and he tuned right out. The gentleman responsible for the upkeep of the pool jumped in and repeated what I said to Francis in his local dialect, Bicol. I believe he also threatened that the police would come if he didn’t behave. Francis behaved after that. Of course Francis didn’t listen to me – I was the fun babysitter at the time. He didn’t recognize me as the final authority figure yet.
When we went back to the room, Gregg and I tried to do some quiet activities, like coloring, with him. He wanted no such thing. He wanted games on the tablet. He had a meltdown like I had never seen before. I sat and I held him as he thrashed and cried, and cried, and cried. We got through it. I was a mess when it was all over, but he was done – just done. He picked up his coloring book and colored until dinner. The ride of a lifetime had just kicked into high gear.
To Be Continued…