Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't Be A Hero

Today was the day. I was in charge of watching my two nieces (ages 6 & 4) and my nephew (8 months) at the same time. All 3 of them. At once. I was terrified! The two older ones - no problem at all. They can completely function independently - and tell me what the issue is, if one is to come up. That nephew on the other hand - - well, factoring him in made me nervous. Not because of him - he is awesome, and quite possibly the best baby I've ever met. Seriously. That isn't just my partiality speaking. But I'm uncomfortable with babies. I like them when they hit about 2 years old, and can speak. =)

So I showed up for duty this morning, got the low-down on what to feed them, etc. The sun was shining, so as soon as the boy woke up, we headed to the park. It was maybe like 1/2 mile away. The ladies rode their hot-wheels (I was told not to let them ride their bikes by their mom. I didn't ask why, I just decided to trust this tip and bank bikes.), and it went much better than the last time I took some kids to the park on their self-motorized transportation of choice. Rewind a few years (honestly no idea how many, somewhere between 5-10 is my best guess) to me watching my cousins S & J. J may have still been in diapers, and S is a few years older. S grabs his scooter and J hops on his bike with training wheels, and we're off. We get to the park, we're playing for a while when all of the sudden J looks at me and says "I have poop in my pants". I'm like...OK - this is not ideal. I didn't bring a clean diaper/underwear, and there was no bathroom in site. While I was working through that, J proceeded to inform me "...and I'm NOT riding my bike!". Perfect. So I got to carry his bike home, and then S's scooter the last half of the way. So you see - I have experience with tricky kid vs. park situations.

So back to today - - I load the nephew, the diaper bag, a bottle of water, cheerios, my phone, sweatshirts, jelly know...all of the essentials...into the stroller. I tell the 4 year old I will not be pulling them in the wagon - if she wants to go to the park, she has to pedal herself there. I go over the rules (basically just the one rule: Stop at every corner and wait for me) with the ladies, they confirm that they understand, and we're off. The trip to the park is almost incident-free. One small hiccup - the 4 year old stopping in the middle of the street to ask which park we're going to, when a car was coming - but other than that, perfect trip.

We get to the park, and there is much merriment. Climbing the rock wall, hide-and-seek, swinging (underdogs were requested, but I refused. I think we all know that would go one of two ways. 1. I fall flat on my face while trying to "run" under them or 2. I don't push them high enough, and their entire swing-encased body hits me in the head, knocking them to the ground. I agree to "push them really high" - so we it all works out). I got to push both ladies, and a friend of the 6 year old who showed up, on the circle swing. I can push really fast, so I am awesome.

Then comes the tricky point of the day. The "fireman's pole". The ladies are scared. I hold their legs the first couple of times down, but then tell them they have to do it themselves if they want to keep doing it. Why did I do that? I don't know. I will never do it again. The 4 year old (who is an attorney in the making) pipes right up and tells me I should show them how to do it. Shit. So I have a choice to make. I can tell them I can't - and lose all credibility when it comes to the ease of playing, or I can buck up and do it. Please keep in mind - I am 36. A good (at least) twenty years removed from my last playground experience. I am also severely too large for these new-fangled jungle-gyms (is that even what they're called these days?). But I knew I had to do it. How can I expect them to try new things, if I'm unwilling to try them?

So I find the steps up. The second my foot hit the first step, I knew I shouldn't do it - but I pressed on. I pushed my FUPA through the smallish openings in the frame to get from landing to landing. Finally I was up where they were, and looked down. HOLY CRAP you guys! IT'S HIGH! No wonder they're terrified! Of course the opening to get out to the pole is one of the more narrow areas, so I turn sideways, and wedge my fat ass through it. I hold onto the pole with both hands, put one leg out around the pole, and go for it.

blisters will form immediately
Mistake. For a split-second I thought everything would be fine. "I got this" were the exact words that ran through my brain. But no more did I have "this" through my noggin', then I remembered one major thing - I do not have nearly enough arm strength to hold myself up. SHHHHIIIIITTTTTTT!!!! That's what I was thinking for the .07 seconds it took for gravity to drag me down to earth. It was only once I landed, praying no one else was around to see my demonstration, that I realized that my right hand was ON FIRE! In my attempt to keep myself from breaking a leg with the sheer force with which I met the earth, I had given myself like a heat blister on two fingers of my right hand. I'm not going to lie - it hurt like hell! And I instantly had a huge blister on my middle finger. In my attempts to be a hero, and show them all of the fun that can be had at the park - I looked like a jackass, felt like a jackass and gave myself an injury. Who knew I could get into such shenanigans with young kids!?!?

But injury aside - it was an entertaining day. And I got a little exercise. And I got to soak in some vitamin D. And in this tundra we call Minnesota - we're never sure how many of those we have left. But I think next time I'll leave the playground demonstrations to their more fit aunts and uncles. I'll just remain the muscle on the ground.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend, and have an even better week.

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