Monday, April 26, 2010

Canvassing the Park

When you're a stay at home mother of small children, a sunny day can be an obligation. Especially in the spring, when you can't rationalize staying indoors with health conscious reasons like avoiding UV rays and scorching heat. Nope, today there were just enough harmful UV rays to warrant extensive sunscreen usage but not enough to get me out of packing a picnic and loading up the twins for a park adventure. And it's not that I don't want to be outside on a beautiful day, I do. I want to be stretched out under a big oak tree reading one of the fabulous new novels I picked up at the library and then maybe take a little siesta. Instead, I supervised collegiate level gymnastics routines by unqualified three-year-old gymnasts, helped feed methodically stored old bread heels to overfed ducks and geese that are so gargantuan that they won't be able to fly south this winter or any other, and warded off bees that my children assume are out to murder them in some slow, agonizing, dismembering sort of way. None of my children have even been stung by a bee; they just scream in fear as if this were a certainty. Something they heard about in an unsupervised sandbox somewhere.

But the obstacles to getting to the park are even bigger than the ones they climb on once we get there. The first one being what to wear. This is where I'm noticing a big difference between boys and girls (and yes, I know of bigger ones). While my son, to this day - at six and a half, will let me pick out his clothes for any and all occasions, the girls want wardrobe autonomy. And, for the record, I'm open to the possibility that they have more fashion sense than me, most primates do, but, sometimes, mother knows best. Like I know that as beautiful as that Easter dress is, it's also dry clean only and not designed with climbing in mind. Not modest climbing, at least. So, I talked her down to a white smocked tank and a pink skirt with shorts sewn into it, a skort if you will. But I had to talk her into it in such a way that she thought it was her idea. 

After we captured the right "park- look" with our attire (more Central than trailer), I diligently applied 500 SPF sunscreen to the twins. This application came with warnings from me of don't rub it off your arms and touch your eyes. Just leave it alone. In five seconds, there was the early season ritual of one child rubbing sunscreen in their eyes and the resulting screaming and gnashing of teeth. One down, two more to go this year. Because, obviously, it makes more sense to do exactly what mommy told you not to and judge the consequences for yourself. So, once she calmed down and I said I told you so, I packed our lunch, rounded up sunglasses, switched the shoes on the feet of Miss I Couldn't Put My Shoes On The Right Feet If The Fate Of The Nation Depended On It, and then we were on our way.

We had fun once we got there though, and it's always an honor to be along with my smallest child on the campaign trail. She is such a glad-hander, introducing herself and her sister to everyone she meets and launching into political conversations like, "Are you having a picnic here today? We are. Do you like ham and cheese or peanut butter and jelly? I like ham and cheese, but my sister likes peanut butter and jelly." See what she's doing there? She's showing versatility and tolerance of other people's lifestyle choices. Non-partisanship. "Do you want to play with us?" she always asks, in effort to secure this child's vote. It's enticing for any kid that is at the park alone because she already has her own entourage with her twin sister, who usually hangs just in back of her like a bodyguard (her extra five inches and twelve pounds on the President make her look formidable as far as playground bodyguards). When it's time to leave, she says goodbye to all of her constituents and mumbles promises of getting that extra swingset put in for them. She waves over her shoulder and marches out like her motorcade is waiting. It's fun. I can't imagine where she got that ridiculous the-world-rotates-around-me personality.


  1. hilarious! more blogs about outtings with your kids!:) I had a great time guessing which twin did what.:)

  2. I just realized last week that I could comment on these or I probably would have sooner. But this is one of my favorites so far :)

  3. Hilarious, Heather!!! I laughed out loud several times, and you know that your no-nonsense brother doesn't do that very often :)

  4. Get the spray sunscreen and life will be easier this summer...