Often I think that my life would be so much richer if it were underscored by some Academy Award winning composer. My lows were be more nuanced and my highs would be more jubliant and when something bad was about to happen, I would know well in advance because of the violins.
Yesterday, the girls got up from their morning nap early and Manny was playing target practice already, shrieking with delight every time he nailed one of them. I knew I had to go somewhere, but where? So many places are tricky now that the girls want to play too. For months, I went to the playground and held both girls while Manny played. It was perfect. I could follow him anywhere, the girls were visually stimulated by all the other kids playing and I got a great bicep workout, not to mention lots of adulation from other parents who only had one or two kids playing independently. I felt....above average.
Then the girls began to sit in the sand pit while Manny played and that worked well too. If necessary, I could square off, so to speak - Manny at first base, Glory at second, Elena on third and me, home plate. 1,2,3. 1,2,3. 1,2,3. But then the girls decided to push the boundaries and crawl out. Now I feel stuck. All these beautiful playgrounds mere blocks away, but we can't go.
So I loaded them into the car to go to University Village where they have a small fenced play structure, the whole while thinking, "What am I doing?" It's not a long drive, but it's not a short one and it's a whole lot of effort to load up, drive, unload into the stroller, on and on and on- I don't even want to type all the steps because it's tiring just to do that.
The play area was bustling with moms and kids and it was HOT. I let Manny loose and then tried to hold Elena in the stroller with my foot while I unbuckled Glory so that I could buffer both of their initial burst of energy at the same time. The girls are fearless. They were all over that play structure and seemed to be nonverbaly planning their strategy. "You go wobble at the top of the slide and I'll stand at the three foot drop-off and kick my legs out like I'm going to jump. Okay, break!" I kept my knees soft and even bounced up and down a little, ready to pounce like a mama cat. Back and forth, over and under - I, too, was all over that play structure. After 30 minutes, I was done with my cardio and a little miffed that no one had told me how amazing I was, so we went in search of a cold drink and our mini-van.
Manny successfully avoided sleep at naptime again so he got up and we kneaded our first round of pizza dough. I found it to be a great receptacle for pent-up stress and he found it to be something fun to hit and slap that doesn't cry. It was great. When the girls got up, the pizza dough was rising and we needed to get to the grocery store and the farmer's market quick because it was getting late. Both the girls wouldn't stop crying (I think they were hot) so we swooped out of the house and I let Manny hop into the stoller in his Thursday Lion Underwear with nothing else.
Once we were out of the house, I felt a little embarrassed for him, like no one loved him enough to offer him a pair of shorts. I don't think I will do that again. It was an even funnier visual when he fell asleep with his hand petting the lions and his chin slumped again his chest. I thought about laying my reusable grocery bag over him like a blanket, but the bag was visibly dirty and that seemed worse.
When we got to the market, the place was alive with colors and smells and alluring, expensive ice cream trucks. There was also this beautiful blues/American roots musician singing and strumming his guitar whose presence was both enveloping and humble. At last, my soundtrack. I made my rounds a little slower than usual, trying to soak up the notes. And I stood in line for a long time at the outrageously expensive ice cream truck because I had promised Manny I would. And even though he was sleeping, he remembers things now and I didn't want him to ask, "Where'd the ice cream go?" and have nothing to say but a sheepish, "I didn't feel like waiting." Manny doesn't feel like waiting all the time, but he does, so I guess it was the least I could do in return.
The pizza turned out beautifully despite the meager amount of cheese I sprinkled on top. Sometimes it's hard to know when to be lavish and when to hold back, but I find if there's a soundtrack, it's much easier to go big. I am about to do some cleaning. Maybe I should turn on some music and the toliets will sparkle that much brighter.