Friday, May 2, 2008

The outing

Why, oh why, do I never learn? Today we decided to skip the schoolwork and piano lessons and do something different and spontaneous and fun. Here was my first problem. I got excited.

We ended up at "Nickelodeon Universe", the former Camp Snoopy, at the Mall of America. They were so excited to go on rides. So I go purchase a ticket that they will share. Surely $20 worth of rides is plenty for a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old. Sam wanted to go on the roller coaster - the big one. Not tall enough. We're walking around, and it's like a maze, I'm just thrilled when I come to the entrance to any ride. First one: Splat-O-Sphere! They both met the height requirement - they're both approximately 42", which was the minimum. Both were determined to get on that ride. Description: "This family thrill ride launches you straight up to almost 60 feet, then sends you catapulting down to the ground." Sounds great! Sam was beside himself with excitement. Have you all gone potty? Okay, Caleb, are you sure? Caleb is the more cautious of the two and has not ever enjoyed rides, although he always insists on riding them. Yep, it's a go. I surrender my children. They get all strapped in and barred down. I think, wow, if only I had a few chairs like that at home. Thankfully, there was a mom sitting next to them who helped talk them through the initial apprehension. By the way, Noah is sitting in his stroller with his lips in his trademark "oh" shape, looking up, up, up. The ride starts. Sam, who loves anything wild, has a very fearful look on his face that only increases as the ride goes on. Caleb has a tolerant look and an occasional half-smile. I think the smile was because everytime the ride would bounce, the mom next to them would whoo-hoo really loud. I guess she was having a lot of fun.
First ride down, what now? Sam is begging for a roller coaster, so we go in search of the kiddie coaster that is currently called Back at the Barnyard Hayride. They board. This one's a hit. They both have grins plastered on their faces the entire time. The ride stops. The bar is lifted. They both sit there, grins still in place. Let's go again! I'm frantically waving them off from my spot by the exit gate. They see me and get out, but then they're just standing there by the thing. I'm trying to direct them to the gate, but they're standing there, casually looking around. Caleb walks into someone passing by and trips and falls right onto the track. He's sitting halfway propped up by the stopped coaster car and his feet are in the air. A mom standing nearby (I love moms) helps him to his feet. He's startled but not hurt. Then they try to both climb over the gates rather than come around to the exit. Somehow, they make it out. Of course, the trauma of Caleb's fall and not being able to find the exit has greatly subdued the fun of the ride. And to top it all off, we used our last points. That's right, two rides - kiddie rides at that - have cost a total of $20. My second mistake: "It won't cost that much. Definitely cheaper than going to a rip-off carnival!

And I'm actually thinking, "The poor things! They only got to go on 2 rides. I should get another ticket.

Well, they actually took the news pretty calmly that we were leaving, and I herded them - or tried to herd them - past lego land with no success. "Mom, look, legos! Can we play here?" Don't they look vaguely familiar to them in the least? They left a HUGE pile of legos on the kitchen table this morning! Had to keep them away from Noah.
So I say, "No! We're not stopping here, I'm going to look in a store really quick and then we need to get home for lunch." Yes, I am crazy.

"Are we going to eat lunch here?" Caleb asks. Well, not that crazy. We had a talk about being thankful for going on the rides.

We made our way to New York and Co. I'm looking for a jacket. Well, looking specifically for a jacket, but also perfectly happy to look at anything else interesting I see. The boys are starting to escalate. This means they're in their own happy land where everything is so hilarious and the more I threaten and punish, the funnier things are to them. The store has a crooked yellow line running through it, past the jeans, the skimpy sundresses, the low-rise sweats, ending at the underwear and bras. Woo-hoo! Let's follow the line, Caleb. Look, I'm skipping. Look, I'm galloping! Look....Caleb crashes into the underwear racks. I say sternly "No running!" I then head further into the store. That's right. I actually pick things out to try on in a real dressing room! The attendant takes a look at me and brings out her special key to unlock the handicapped room. "Can you lock me in too?" I say. I'll just yell when I'm done. There's a small bench in the room. I plant Sam in the corner of the bench. They're both giggling uncontrollably. I put Caleb on the floor. Soon, he's under the bench. I tell Sam to put his head down on his lap. He laughs harder. I rush to try on my 3 items. The thought of buying anything at this point about makes me want to throw up, so I don't know why I bother. The boys are making up new words to the retro music playing in the background and repeating them over and over and over...
Meanwhile, Noah is sitting calmly in his stroller. I look at him. He looks up at me and smiles sweetly.

I emerge from the dressing room, decide to purchase 2 of the items because they're on clearance, and head to the counter to pay. There the necklaces hang. I am an expert at sliding those little cardboard holes onto the hooks. I remind the boys to stay off the floor and STAND UP! Don't push your brother! All right, that's it! Fold your hands. Caleb immediately begins to pray, "Dear Jesus..." Sam is in a laughing fit. Stop roaring at Noah! Fine, no more talking till we get to the car! I pay. Then I discover that if I push the stroller fast enough and they need to race to keep up with me, they have no time to act obnoxious on the way out. I'm sure people were thinking I was trying to abandon my children.

The car ride home is subdued. I guess they wore themselves out...


Jennifer Mulvihill said...

Ok, I admit that I just spent a looooong time reading most of your blog! I think that being a mother to boys is so exciting! Jay keeps my hands very do you do it with three! I'm glad we can connect via our blogs! I'll add you to my blog list! :)

Anonymous said...

As I wipe the tears away from laughing hysterically, I marvel at how Blessed you are!!! God has blessed YOU with a wonderful spirit of adventure, courage and the ability to see the humor in situations that would bring a weaker woman to wits end!
I WAS sorry I couldn't join you all today... Now I think I had a better time reading about it!!!