When I woke up on Friday morning, it appeared to be a beautiful day outside. The color of the light, the brightness of the sun, the absence of snow on the ground – all led me to conclude it might be a good day to get outside.
Since the professor didn’t have class until the afternoon, I suggested a family outing to the (stinky) zoo.
Sometimes I’ll have one bright idea which will quickly lead to another bright idea. If we were going to the zoo….perhaps we could even take a family picture and get an early start on the annual holiday card conundrum/procrastination/saga?
I carefully selected clothes for the boys because the Gort’s ‘Superman’ shirt paired with snow boots and a too-small baseball cap wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. The Hen is still, mostly, of the age where he will wear whatever I put on him. Occasionally he’ll shake his head vigorously and tell me ‘NO’ when I select a shirt for him, all while grabbing one of his brother’s three-sizes-too-big superhero shirts. (As if!) But he can usually be convinced to put the shirt back and don the appropriately-sized item in my hand.
The Gort, however, generally refuses to wear whatever I bring to him. No matter how much thought I put into it, or how hard I try to avoid the particularly ‘itchy’ items. He is unyielding in his refusal and no amount of reasoning or convincing will change his mind.
But, we still have Halloween candy lying around the house and I’m not opposed to offering a bribe in exchange for a (potentially) decent family picture.
Naturally the professor questioned the wisdom of bribing a child to wear an ordinary long-sleeved shirt; certain the kid would want candy every time he got dressed from then on. A suspicion that proved correct when the Gort came up to me this morning and said: ‘hey mom, can I get candy if I wear a long-sleeved shirt?’
But desperate times call for desperate measures. And Halloween candy doesn’t last forever.
An hour later when we were all gathered at the front door, ready to go, I beamed with pride as I glanced at my ‘five and under’ contingent. The level of cuteness was almost unbearable. The older boys were wearing stripy shirts with puffy vests. And the baby wore a prissy, baby-blue outfit – one that is suitable for photographs…and nothing else.
And then we opened the front door. My first inkling that I’d been wrong about the weather: rain drops on the screen door. My second inkling: the wind. When the boys stepped outside they were literally moved by the icy wind which was gusting at a rather unpleasant speed.
No zoo. No family picture.
Instead we went to the farmer’s market where we sat on a hard wooden bench and watched the boys jump in the bouncy castle. Which is even less preferable than taking them to the park. It is a frankly dull and slightly nerve-wracking affair – trying to keep track of one’s children inside a giant inflated castle. I spend a lot of time beseeching my spawn – telepathically – not to be ‘those’ kids who bounce into other children and knock them over. Which results in pointed looks of judgment from their parents, as if to say: ‘what kind of animals are you raising?’
We whiled away a respectable amount of time and drove home for lunch and kindergarten drop-off. And picture-taking with the two youngest boys. Because I couldn’t let their coordinating cuteness go to waste.
When I got in the car to pick up the Gort, it was 2.47pm. The time I’m supposed to be at school….picking him up. And this time I didn’t have a good excuse. ‘Sorry I’m late sweetheart…I was downloading pictures of your brothers onto the computer?!’
As I drove towards the school, fellow moms were driving the opposite way. With their children in their cars.
I ran into the school building where my poor child was waiting for me in the office; seemingly unaffected by my tardiness. I was grateful for his non-reaction, even as he scolded me for running in the school building. ‘We’re not allowed to run in the school!’
Because I felt like a louse for being late, and because I wanted a yummy snack, and because I had six pears in the fruit bowl, we went home and made pear crisp. With real whipped cream.
Which we ate on the kitchen floor.
I had to cut them off after ‘seconds’ so the professor would have something to nibble on when he got home.