I’ve sort of learned by now that in motherhood, probably in all of life, it is never possible to be fully prepared for every possible situation that might arise. But apparently that doesn’t stop me from trying occasionally.
It has been a good 3 weeks since preschool ended and, with it, all of Mr. G’s social outlets. If you had asked me ‘is your child particularly social,’ I would have said ‘no’. And I would have been wrong, which is why I find it’s better not to try and pretend I really know my children. Apparently being at home with his nuclear family these past 21 days has been a fate worse than death.
So, this week I decided to be a bit more proactive and organized a couple of play dates.
I contacted a fellow preschool mom about getting our kids together. She proposed taking our five boys to a spray park. And, though I hate heat of any kind, and am 35 weeks pregnant, I agreed enthusiastically. Because I knew my boys would love nothing better than whiling away a couple of hours in a spray park.
The appointed day and hour arrived. I packed swim trunks and a towel for each child. I packed cups of water for each of us – even going so far as putting ice inside each cup. I must say I was feeling a bit like Martha Stewart as I placed a couple of lime wedges in my fake Nalgene bottle, and cut up pieces of cherry and canteloupe. And placed the morning’s leftover cookies in a little sandwich bag.
I grabbed an extra set of dry clothes for each boy, and a few more diapers for the Hen. I even refilled the wipes container, and remembered to put sunscreen on everyone before we left the house. Feeling like a grown up boy scout, I grabbed the directions I’d carefully written out, loaded the kids into the car and left the house in enough time to actually meet our friends in a semi-timely manner.
How is it that I have not received some sort of national or international award for mother of the year?
Maybe because the committee called my house and interviewed my children.
I was loading everything into the van, impatiently exhorting my 5 years and 4 month old son to hurry up and buckle himself. ‘Why are you being so crappy’, he asked. I honestly believe he meant to say ‘why are you being so crabby,’ since I use the word all the time, but I suppose either is correct when your mother is snapping at you over something inconsequential like buckling your seatbelt.
We arrived at the spray park and met up with our friends who were more timely than we, had already secured a spot in semi-shade, and brought two enormous bags of potato chips and white cheddar popcorn. Who can compete with that?
My oldest ran off with his friends, into the sprinkler fun. My youngest…refused. Bear in mind this is the same kid who now confidently walks into the kitchen, opens up one of the cabinets and retrieves all of his favorite plastic bowls and insists I put water in them.
So he can hang out on the deck and play with water.
But for some reason, today, maybe because it was a Friday, or 2 in the afternoon, or the 17th of July – whatever the reason, he decided he most certainly did not want to partake in any sprinkler fun. Which means he spent the first hour and a half of our time at the park alternately crying, climbing on and off me, and eating the lion’s share of our friends‘ snacks.
The four older boys would disappear for chunks of time, occasionally emerging for chips or popcorn or a drink. The Hen stayed glued to me, stuffing his little mouth full of salty snacks.
As prepared as we moms were, and I think having the wherewithal to reapply sunscreen to all of our limbs while at the park demonstrates just that, we apparently made a crucial omission in not bringing any TOYS to the park. Call me weird, but I thought the water was the toy; the source of fun. But apparently the must-have item of the spray park season is a cup or vessel of some sort. So one can stand in the sprinkler and fill up one’s cup; walk to the side and dump out the water. And repeat.
I’ll remember, next time.
So our four ‘deprived’ boys drained their respective drinks and used those cups as vessels. Problem solved.
Ninety minutes into our time there, having exhausted most of the popcorn and chips, the Hen suddenly ordered me to remove his shoes, and headed in the direction of the sprinklers. Where he cavorted, happy as a clam for the remainder of the time.
Two hours into our stay, Mr. G came running towards me. Crying. Bleeding from the mouth. I thought maybe he’d fallen; bitten his lip. But an interpretation of his sob-laden language, and a closer look at the diagonal wound on his lip revealed he’d had a collision with a girl’s watering can. Specifically, the tall-girl-in-the-purple-bathing-suit’s watering can. Her juvenile attempt at flirting had gone seriously awry. Judging from the way my oldest was threatening to send her to jail. (I never should have said that people who do bad things go to jail.) And vowing never to invite her to his house. (I didn’t point out that we don’t actually know her – at all.)
I had not contemplated the possibility of injury at the spray park, so I was unprepared. But my fellow, ultra-prepared mom had, and supplied us with kleenex and a band-aid. That it was a small, square band-aid that made my son look like he was sporting H-I-T-L-E-R’s mustache, was inconsequential.
At the two and a half hour mark, we mothers decided we’d been ‘fun’ enough and it was time to go home.
I looked down at the flip flops on my feet and noticed my feet looked rather ‘dark’. I’d put sunscreen everywhere BUT on my feet. And now I had two glowing thong marks on each appendage, and red streaks running from toes to ankles.