A Tale of Two Mommies

…because more seems excessive…

Tag Archives: family outings

Life as Pictures

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Needs Met

I received an unexpected call from a good friend. We haven’t caught up in ages. I think it’s the mark of middle-aged friendships that there is a basic understanding you will not speak for excessive amounts of time, but the conversations begin as though no time elapsed. It was a brief call; in transit. I gave her the thumbnails of events in the last six months, and found myself apologizing for their depressing, edged nature. I like telling jokes; I don’t like complaining…I suppose with humor it can be one of the same.

But, the morning was a reprieve from the draining monotony of my dreary, racing thoughts at times. Overall my life is a good one, but I’m definitively nursing some internal wounds at the moment. The week like the last one push me to concur the healthful benefits of community. I have a collection of wonderful people in my life; I’d certainly be lost without them. This morning, however, was a different sort of reprieve that gave me respite from the diverse waves of bombarding negative thoughts.

It was a beautiful morning, simultaneously cool and warm. My husband and I took the children to a local park. Mr. Man used a regular swing for the first time. It took some prodding, but he was giddy with excitement as I pushed him as high as I could muster. Warrior Queen has a death wish rooted in daring oblivion; Little Man almost punted his sister across the wood chipped enclosure as he swooped forward. I snatched the chain, jerking my son off the seat. He clung onto the swing drifting back toward me.

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(That’s actually the expression he gave me, and it was probably wrong for me to laugh.)

Warrior Queen wandered off in her typical drunken gorilla posture to interfere in the amusing activities of another unsuspecting child.

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(How did Daily Mail get a picture of Warrior Queen noticing that I opened the pantry door?!?)

Little Man is of the age where a parent realizes he can climb up…things…tall things, yet fears the windy swoop down. Eventually he determines he will not be owned by a staticy expanse of smooth green plastic, and takes the risk. I admire his bravery in all things. For Warrior Queen’s part, she enjoyed the softer slope of her own slide, even as fatigue began to take over. On her belly and smiling, she would lay her head upstream momentarily before requesting that I boost her up once again.

My husband and I had the rare moment to sit on a bench in the enclosure; both children momentarily independent. There were no great disclosures or profound remarks, it was just peaceful and comfortably warm for my soul to sit with him and laugh about absolutely nothing worth remembering. I suppose those are the most nurturing moments after almost a decade-and-a-half commitment.

I’d like to say this simple trip to a playground on a perfect autumn day is enough to compensate for the entirety of my struggles, but fortunately I encounter enough quantity to make a dent.

Growing Relief

It’s always interesting to me that big events are buried among mundane daily experiences…easily forgotten if it weren’t for a conscious effort to immortalize them. We went to a small localish fair that included a petting zoo today. Usually such things are more appealing in theory, but this one was pretty swanky. There were oodles of chickens my son adored. Some had rather interesting head feather assortments that reminded me of my high school freshmen existence before I understood the purpose of gel and allowing thick curly hair to remain thick and curly.

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(The Mama Load clearly knew me in high school.)

There was a mighty handsome turkey looking for a hook-up…all plumage and boisterous gobbles.

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(I bet you’re hard pressed to consider any other fowl with greater sex appeal…)

There were couple meandering goats within the small pen bumping into confused roaming children…a pony, some rabbits, ducks, and a pig. Hard to deny a good time had by all, and generally I’m a profound fan of any attraction that entertains a three-year-old Mr. Man.

I was wearing Warrior Queen. Currently, she lacks the gumption to walk…rather indifferent to cruising around furniture, but she is an ambitious crawler, so there’s that. I consider this stage of babydom annoying for outings. Warrior Queen isn’t quite mobile enough to be part of outdoor gallivants and some indoor diversions, but she isn’t the portable lump of last year either.

The site of this fair included an impressive playground. Warrior Queen isn’t old or sturdy enough to enjoy anything but the swings, but at least I had a few minutes to rest my shoulders. My fierce sprite loves a swing almost as much as her brother. But, to be fair, I don’t think anyone has a passion for swings like he. Most occasions it doesn’t matter how fabulous the surroundings for this exceptionally active toddler, often he wants to be pushed for forty-five minutes before going home. Warrior Queen enjoys the wind in her hair and the thrill of the pendulum, but unless the swing includes a snuggle on my lap with her gripping my shirt, she tires of the experience within ten minutes.

Surprisingly, we remained at the fair for an hour, Little Man trotting about with me and my husband maneuvering behind him. My son enjoying a shoulder ride on Daddy while returning to the car. I wasn’t even sweaty once I buckled into the passenger seat of my car…It was perfect!

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(That amount of moisture including an impressive amount of boob sweat is hot, right Daily Mail?)

Returning home I attempted to wait on my son’s bath until after Warrior Queen was fed…no such luck. Immediately upon entering the house, Little Man made his way to the upstairs bathroom, efficiently dropping trough in his procession. My husband was planning to mow the lawn, but there is no arguing with the pre-trantrum of a little boy in desperate need to shed petting zoo funk. Mild spritzing rain outside hinted at foiling my husband’s effort at exterior maintenance anyway.

I’ve been telling anyone who asks that I plan to have Little Man go to high school in diapers. It becomes an awkward joke because I’m not entirely kidding. There have been marvelous technological advances in adult diapers of late, and the prospect of potty training terrifies me.

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(Diapersamerica.com agrees such a thing is totally reasonable and would in no way cramp my son’s emerging adulthood style.)

Generally, I see the process of potty training as a development milestone, rather than me formally and hard core teaching my children to use a toilet. So, per discussions with my children’s physician, we have a plan to include unpressured offers to use the potty periodically or enter the restroom for his required privacy while pooping. But, such actions are more about planting a potty option seed in my son’s brain than formally training him to use the toilet. And, really, there is no rush. In my state it is against the law to require children be potty trained to attend school…either private or public. The belief behind this mandate is that there is no way to determine if the continued need for diapers is due to a special need/disability. Depriving a child of their education for an inability to use restroom facilities is considered a discriminatory practice.

It, however, doesn’t matter my rationale. In increasing frequency I’ve been on the receiving end of judgment by family elders regarding my potty training approach. Apparently, if I don’t get on the stick immediately, my son will be ten-years-old, and still in diapers. But, family pressure aside, my friends with threeishish-year-olds are getting their heads in the game, which provides its own unnecessary guilt ridden head trip. Fortunately…or unfortunately…my son hasn’t had much interest in the potty…until today. Big Little Man used the potty for the first time scant hours ago. My husband following my son up the stairs for his post fair bath was asked to use the potty. For the past couple months or so my son declined when asked. Even on the rare occasion when he’s agreed to sit on our custom seated toddler throne, he’s never actually accomplished anything. But, today was the day! After his bath, my growing boy entered our multipurpose playroom beaming and telling me, “Daddy hold my peanuts.” He was so proud…apparently he hasn’t quite grasped that he needs to push down his junk when using the potty, but it seems Mommy has some new work cut out for her…decidedly before high school.

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(National Retail Federation knows how to celebrate an official first toilet use!)

Travel Log

There is one significant distinction between schlepping one kid around and the addition of another.  With one child any daily traveling was mostly uneventful.  I could go an entire outing not having to change a diaper or even stop to eat…But, I love to eat, especially out, so Mr. Man luncheons were often superfluous additions to our schedule…  Sure, there was the occasional public tantrum that amounts to a belly flop dive in the middle of a main walkway, or my son jamming something horrible in his mouth as I do a Matrix style freeze frame deciding on what level my freak-out should be.

With two, however, dumb shit happens just about every schlep; It’s pretty remarkable, actually.  It isn’t so much that things become heinous or terrible to endure, but as events unfold I’m acutely aware of how stupid and unnecessary the situation is, yet completely unavoidable.

The toy-play bonanza historically was my go-to, especially during pregnancy.  Reliably uneventful, mostly free from stupid stuff occurring.  Now, however, I carry two.  I took my little ones to a different one to vary things.  I’m still adjusting and stick to the reliable and pleasant…for me…  Things were going well.  I’m dancing around to the surprisingly good and kid friendly music with the almost six-week-old Warrior Queen snoozing away in my carrier.  I feed her without incident.  My daughter is pro spit-up, so lasting through an entire feeding without such an event occurring is remarkable in and of itself.  It was time to go, so I didn’t bother to tuck her back into the wrap.  I carried her and began my trips to and from the car that I parked just outside the door.  Little Man was last, and so far mostly oblivious to my actions; his girlfriend was working.  Warrior Queen was buckled in, and I hustle to get Mr. Man who tantrumed for a brief moment for show…all moving according to plan…until I smelled it.  No way I’m leaving my girl in the car while I take my two-year-old to the bathroom to change the noxious lump he was harboring in his diaper…car trunk it is…  The change was awkward, but easier than usual…I didn’t get kicked in the face and Little Man giggled as the wind danced across his bare bottom.  The situation wasn’t catastrophic or all that unmanageable, but stupid nonetheless.

Park and playground outings are becoming more reliable sources of entertainment as my son has started liking the outdoors.  I’m still hesitant to go to them as a mainstay occupation, as he doesn’t endure all that long and I don’t like bugs.  I will, however, take him as an auxiliary activity, especially if I can rope in a friend or two to join us.  One particular playground outing occurred in our town.  The structures are new and the area expansive, as the playground is part of a larger recreational area.  My son was running along the field and the perimeter of the woods selecting and handing me random rocks, acorns, and pine cones.  I’m not sure why; he started acknowledging that I toss them almost as soon as he hands them to me.  He doesn’t seem to care even when I’m not all that covert about the sudden nature expulsion.  I don’t know what dead animal my son eagerly grabbed, but he managed it full fisted…I calmly asked him to release the decayed bit of fur or feathers while internally running though the possible diseases leading to death my son exposed himself to…and that’s why parents carry hand sanitizer…except this parent.  I clearly need to get on the bandwagon…

I really haven’t been carting two children for more than a few weeks, this week was the first time it was my show for the duration.  How can such a short time span yield so many stories because I’m not all that interesting of a person?  Mondays we tend to go to a free library program that is pretty good and short.  This particular Monday I’m describing, though, had us leaving the house late, but I couldn’t say why this day was such a problem.  I’m pretty good about getting out of the house.  I guess it was just a lot of dumb little things like a bag of crayons getting tangled on my purse strap (They are both inanimate objects.  How did that even happen?), and the same purse getting caught on the garage door knob as I was exiting carrying the bucket car seat…I need to get a different purse.  We arrived at the library just as the program started, but it was at capacity.  I take the kids to the walled in patio because it would be safe from anything eventful, right?  Wrong.  My torrid tangle of toddler managed to dump over three pots of dirt that looked to be a children’s group planting project before I even had a moment to register the destruction before me.  I wonder if they have “Wanted” signs at libraries.

Another day later during the week, we were on the way to the bonanza.  I missed the drive thru turn, so decided it would not be a day for an iced tea…totally changed my mind after the following disaster.  Then, I was on a mission.  But, the initial pursuit was not meant to be.  The later attempt not much better, sadly yielding empty hands.  No lemon, fine, but then they tried to hand me an iced green tea.  I have a newborn.  What’s the point of that?  The cashier tells me that they were out of the regular.  I think they just messed up my order.

In between the depressing iced tea fiasco, I took my children to our less frequented indoor play spot; it was Little Man’s girlfriend’s one day off…bad sign.  Usually my son handles disappointment pretty well…for a toddler, which translates to him refraining from burning down the establishment.  But, this day it was bad enough his squeeze was absent, but he REALLY was unhappy we could not join the music class in the back room.  I get it.  The guy had a guitar, and Mr. Man will be the next frustrated musician complaining about the industry and poo-pooing the latest talentless rage while he continues to live in our basement.  For the first time ever he wanted to leave after only an hour, but it was time for my fierce girl to eat, so my son would need to wait.  Not usually a problem, c’mon, this place has toys, slides, and a bouncy castle…  But, alas, he started launching a wooden toy that might be a Jetsonesque lamp for the full size doll house.  I had to stop feeding the Warrior Queen so I could snatch my son for a time-out.  As I tended to him, my girl started exerting her hunger battle cry, which oddly is less dramatic than the poop one.  Holding my son’s leg with one hand, I plunked the bottle back in my daughter’s mouth with my other hand.  I did that twice before my son gave in and demonstrated dramatic “gentle hands” with every object he selected from the floor.  Not soon enough we are able to leave.  I tried to be quick, but my Mr. Man completely lost whatever miniscule cool he had.

Ten or so minutes from home we drive past a pretty good playground.  I had been feeling bad that on such a beautiful day I chose to take the cherubs somewhere inside.  It was still early, so we stopped.  My son doesn’t last all that long on playgrounds, but it’s always more than ten minutes.  Little Man enjoyed the swings and wanted to leave much sooner than the typical thirty minutes he usually indulges before running cattywampus on every structure he can manage.  Sounded good to me though.  I was schvitzing up a storm.  But, on my son’s lead, we enter a grocery store and proceeded to roam aimlessly like crazy people before he fell and slammed his face on some part of the cart with a car front stores started getting in solidarity with parents…kind of, have you tried maneuvering these things?  Maybe the real reason for fleets of them is so at the end of a long shift employees can watch and amuse themselves even if they have to perpetually fix displays.  Regardless, my son could sport a shiner badge of honor for his clumsiness…

Everyone buckled in the car for our journey home, the drive surprisingly quiet.  Both kids wanted to be fed almost immediately upon entering our homestead…because they always want to eat at the same time.  Some day that will be sweet, but not this day.  Little Man finishes his meal, my daughter lagging.  My son was tired exhibiting his telltale impulsiveness.  He climbed on the table winging his unfinished and half chewed food everywhere.  I ignore him and continued to feed his sister.  The only indication of my annoyance was the vein about to rupture in my forehead.  Mr. Man either realized his commotion wasn’t working or he developed a last ditch appreciation for my mental state, climbed down from the table and in a sleepy daze snuggled into me while I sat uncomfortably in a mild contortionist pose at the kitchen table.  I couldn’t resist giving him smooches.  After all, everyone is a douche when cranky…pretty sure I’m not an exception, but I’m hesitant to ask my husband.  Maybe I can’t avoid dumb shit from happening now that we are a troop of three, but at least I earn my sofa time.

Lions and Tigers and Bears…Feh…

The four of us visited the zoo today; Little Man hasn’t been to a zoo yet (Yes, I realize my daughter is not born yet, but I’m counting her in the tally…I’ve having far too much trouble breathing and sleeping for her not to hold a position on our family outings.).

I must say, even though he woke-up this morning incredibly uncharacteristically early with an exceedingly brief morning nap, the trip was a resounding success.  The zoo is a small, poorly funded city zoo, but the limited newer parts are quite nice.  We knew ahead of time almost the entirety of the children’s attractions were in the process of renovation; therefore, closed.  Why make the hour trip down chaotic streets?  Admission was half priced, which made the usually quite expensive affair worth the gamble to see if our son was old enough to appreciate the animal experience…He wasn’t, aside from the goats at the petting zoo.  But, doesn’t everyone love a goat?  I think, however, I may return alone in the near future; I’m pretty sure they charged us the kid’s rate for my admission ticket…Can we say knocked-up MILF pushing forty?

Even though nineteen-months-old proved a bit early for this type of trip, Little Man enjoyed himself thoroughly.  Sadly, the giraffe was vacationing in his winter home, which would have been thrilling for my son.  It’s the most consistent animal he points to whenever an image appears before him…He finds peacocks pretty groovy too, but I knew this zoo did not have them loitering and terrorizing visitors on the open walkways.

It’s almost December, but some of the animals were still available for the public’s view.  Mr. Man journeyed through each section saving his excitement for the random debris in the opposite direction from the exhibits.  It goes without saying that acorns cannot be found littered around our home…  A few rocks caught his attention as well…clearly rare excavations…  The stick he found became his companion for most of the day.  So integral was this playmate that I named it Montesquieu D. Stick.  Unfortunately Monty men an untimely demise after my son whacked him entirely too hard on a steel barrier outside the Condor exhibit.

My husband and I enjoyed the apes, especially the Silverback with the baby clutching his leg as he moved throughout the enclosure.  My son enjoyed the dirt in one of the potted plants.  He only perseverated on grabbing fistfuls of the soil until he noticed the drainage grating on the floor.  That, my friends, is why people go to zoos in the first place after all.  The following ten minutes were spent with my son surveying the floor in hopes of finding other coverings that have me wondering if his future profession will be in civil engineering…or Mike Rowe’s replacement for Dirty Jobs

My favorite moment of the afternoon was not watching my delighted son engross himself in their new and incredible playground structures.  I relished and absorbed every moment of him sitting on my lap for a bite to eat.  I was holding Little Man facing me on a bench outside, balancing his food container in my free hand.  My husband shared his apple with me, cutting up pieces and feeding me like the underage goddess I am.  My son pointed and was rewarded with a piece of apple that he wasted no time clutching in his small hands.  But, he didn’t want the apple for himself; he wanted to feed his Mommy who unselfishly donated her lap for the cause.  He also generously offered to feed me his food, which I graciously declined.  Midway though his meal I was rewarded with Little Man smooches on my cheek while my daughter fluttered slightly.  I ask you, is there anything better than family outings?

 

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