For a long time, I have been wanting to take the kids to REI because I heard they have a play area. But every time, I have been flying solo and have chickened out. Good thing. Our play time would have amounted to five minutes of me sweating and swearing under my breath before a dramatic exit, the wails of Manny's disappointment making a pathway through the streams of short people underfoot.
But with Sam along, it was doable. Barely. Before we went to REI, we fortified ourselves with a perfect cup of espresso at Espresso Vivace. Glory threw every piece of food we gave her on the floor because we have just discovered that Glory and Elena have hand, foot and mouth disease, which sounds a whole lot worse than it is. And if you are over the age of 10, your chances of getting it are very slim. There's nothing you can do to treat it, except to self-medicate as your children cry the majority of the day. Maybe it's called hand, foot, and mouth disease because you are tempted to punch the wall, kick the furniture, and pour lots and lots of chocolate into your mouth to make it through the agony of long, uncomfortable days.
At Espresso Vivace, Elena ate a lot of the biscuits I brought along in a ziploc baggie. When we got to the impressive treehouse play structure at REI, I took off Elena's jacket and a hundred chunks of biscuit flew out of her sleeves. They were everywhere and I was scrambling around on the floor, trying to look responsible and responsive while Sam darted left and right, up and down, trying to protect the kids.
About a half hour in, Manny got that look and we knew it was potty time. There was no time to waste, so I hoisted Manny over my shoulder and ran for the bathroom. Neither of us had shoes on and that really amused me once we were in the stall. I think it amused me because I am too aware of what other people think of me and always have been. But when I'm with my kids, if there's a need, I don't care at all what other people think. I just act. And I LIKE it. It feels invigorating. Like discovering a whole new me. A more intense me. Who needs extreme sports when you can take care of small children?
Sam got a slack line at REI. He set it up in our living room. It's like a tight rope, but not tight. Manny thinks it's great. I think it might spell head injury for me. I plan to stick to my dorky step aerobics and watch from the dining room. I think Sam is going to acquire abs of steel much faster than me, but then again, he had a big head start.