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Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a workout for my children???

 

Bounce-Climb

So, it was Saturday and my arms, especially my triceps, had that familiar sore feeling that you get from a recent workout.  I did have a workout, I just didn’t know it was coming.

I was tired of keeping my children captive in the house all winter, and confident that flu season was nearly over, so I summoned up my bravery to take them to our local bounce place.  You know the place, a primary colored wonderland, filled with giant inflatables for jumping and sliding.

If you’re asking yourself why I needed bravery, I’ll tell you.  Twin toddlers are like a big bag of marbles.  Take them somewhere without the stroller, let ‘em go and they scatter like marbles.  Containment is laughable, and it brings out in me a woman with whom I am intimately familiar—the crazy twin mom.  The crazy twin mom is the overwhelmed version of a mom who gets look that range from admiration to pity from bystanders who make comments like, “you’ve got your hands full,”  “double trouble,” and a whole litany of other words that really don’t help.

Needless to say, I wasn’t interested in being the crazy twin mom at the bounce place.  In truth, I never am.  If I can bring a relative or friend for reinforcement, I will.  But this time, if I wanted to go, I had to go it alone.

I created a buzz with the kids in the early morning.  I kept asking “who wants to go to a fun place?”  In true toddler fashion, I was met by a chorus of “me” “me” all morning.  I was eager too, taking the kids to new places and watching them have fun is awesome for me too.

I was confident we could have a great day when we entered the lobby and the kids were already excited.  They climbed on and checked things out while I hurriedly signed the waivers.  (Note to self—Next time, download, fill out and actually read the waivers from the bounce place to avoid chaos in the lobby.)

As we walked into bounce room 1, I could hear the buzzing motors of the giant inflatables, and apparently so could my children, because they clung to me with fear.  We took off our shoes and proceeded toward the bounce houses.  With a near 40 pound child on each hip, I tried to encourage the children to loosen their grips from me and have some of that fun that I was chirping on about all morning.  They weren’t having it.

I put each reluctant child into the first bounce house, assuring them I was not far behind.  The review was a solid NO.  I took them to the second bounce house and I even jumped around to show them what it was all about, but this one was just as much a dud as the first.

Then I saw what would be the bounce place salvation and my source of exhaustion—a slide.  When I asked, both kids animatedly agreed to go on the slide.  Massive air filled bounce houses may be foreign, but slides, they know.  As a newbie to all things bounce, it totally freaked me out to see how high my kids and I were going to have to climb to get to the top of the slide.  I kept my anxiety to myself.

I hoisted my son up the wall, remembering his lighter times.  On my tippy toes, I wasn’t tall enough to get him to the top and on our first effort, I had to bring him down, regroup and start over.  My second try got him to the last foot peg, and he was able to pull himself up from there.  Charlie fearfully sat atop the climb wall and waited for his sister and mom.  Giuliana, (see also the crib ninja) was a bit more skilled and assisted me in getting to the top by putting her feet on the pegs and climbing a little.  I still wrangled and stretched to help her to the top.

Then it was my turn.  Not a big climber, I made it to the top with a moderate effort, praying the entire time that the combination of my socks and the slippery surface did not send me sliding down the wall to land on someone else’s child.  The ways I see it, it is inevitable that children injure other children in the course of play, but a grown adult falling on a child—that’s a whole different batch of shame.

I make it to the top, and the three of us joyfully slid down.  I was elated that Charlie and Giuliana felt confident and safe enough to go down the slide independently.  The unexpected consequences of this new found autonomy was that I got caught in a cycle of hoisting children to the top of the climb wall.  This was where the crazy twin mom emerged.  Naively I tried several times to climb down and take pictures of my giggling children, like the singleton parents seemed to be doing with ease.  But, every time I stepped off the 2 foot step to the wall, one of my children was rounding the corner shouting “again, again” and it was time for me to get on my tippy toes and deliver them to the slide.

I kept this pace up for about a half an hour, constantly lifting my children to their perch atop the climb wall, my only break came when another child chose the slide.  It was a slow day at the bounce place, so resting periods were rare.  After a bit, we headed into the second room with a slide and obstacle course and at the end, I was one sweaty, disheveled and well worked out mom.  And thus, my well earned sore triceps three days later.  And yes, I can’t wait ‘til we go back!

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P.S.  Here are my best pictures!

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The Battle of Crayola

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A few weeks ago, I decided to take my children to the Crayola Experience as an afternoon activity.  I thought it was the Crayola Factory, but Experience was probably more accurate, because I’m pretty sure they’re not making the crayons at this location.  And, for me, it was definitely an experience.

We were a party of four, one adult to each child and my aunt and I took advantage of the opportunity to leave the stroller in the car.  Typically my life is two against one, and the stroller is a must.  But with two adults, man to man defense is possible, most times.

It was a great afternoon, super cute crayons and markers were made.   We learned about the Crayola version of Play Doh, “a superior product,” according to the staff person, and much fun was had.  The children behaved like rock stars, going from room to room without so much as a peep of resistance.  They even seemed to take the news of our visit’s end in stride.

Then, in a super generous gesture to convert my daily passes into season passes, my aunt, the other grown up, needed to have her hands free to pay and could not continue to carry my son.

Charlie bolted like a boy with a plan.  Like lightening, his two year old little feet hit the polished concrete floor running.  He jetted straight under the roped dividers.  And no, he didn’t run parallel inside the ropes, like civilized people at Disney.  He cut his own path, straight under the dividers, missing the ropes by inches.  I trailed a few feet behind him, doing what must have looked like a drunken limbo as I tried to keep up.

In the course of pursuing Charlie, I had to set Giuliana down.  Now, both of my children were darting around the room.  From the ticket line through the coat room and to the water fountains my little lovelies were running laps and laughing their little heads off as I pursued them.

To exacerbate my shame, Charlie let out a cough that sounded directly out of a TB ward.  The last lingering symptom from a cold he had weeks before, it was a cough that he typically had once a day.  And I guess this was the moment.  So, as I ran around like a woman on the edge, I added the task of uttering “he’s not sick,” to everyone and no one in particular.

At some point, I was able to grab one child, and then eventually the other.  It was a blur who surrendered first.  I staggered to the register, a thirty pound child on each hip.  I had won the battle, but I was defeated.  I was a mortified, sweaty, exhausted mess, whose hair was more all over the place than usual.

I stood at the counter, hoping that the staff person had satisfied her information gathering needs and and I could be released from this embarrassing experience.  I had given birthdates, addresses and more. I know it is not true, but it felt like forever.  I wanted it to be over.  I wanted the clerk to take pity, hurry up and let us get out of there.

As I stood with burning biceps, holding my two wiggling children, the clerk twisted the knife.  “Okay,” she said, “look right over here and smile, Jill.  I’m going to take your picture.”

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Naive Mother of Twins, Part 1

After spending an enjoyable morning at the mall, my kids and I ventured to the card store to choose a birthday card for their grandmother.  Moods were even, tummies were full.  I had no reason to think we would have anything but a peaceful retail experience.

I wheeled the stroller, which seats one child in front of the other, up the aisle of the card store and zeroed in on the Birthday section.  Then it began.  It was as if my kids were responding to some anti-parent starter’s gun that only toddlers can hear.  They both began grabbing cards from the racks.  And in what I can only describe as a planned tactical measure to make my plight to return the cards impossible, they both grabbed from different sides of the aisle.

Congratulations on your Baby Girl and Happy Birthday Dad cards were flying into the stroller and all over the floor.  It was like a kaleidoscope of golf tees and baby carriages.   My two hands were no match for their very determined four.  I must have resembled Lucille Ball in the I Love Lucy episode where she works at the chocolate factory and is furiously trying to keep up with the conveyor belt of chocolates.

Flanked on both ends of the aisle, by other card shoppers, I could not even whisk the kids out of the aisle and stop the greeting card bleeding.  It felt like one of those war movies where the bullets fly in slow motion, hitting the target who is slowly jolted from the impact and someone yells out a deep, distorted “Nooooooooooooooooooooo!” before he eventually hits the ground.

Somehow, I managed to liberate the cards from my kids and seek pity from a trio of twenty-something women shopping for baby cards who moved so I could be free from the aisle.

Now it was time to pay the piper.  Well, she was more of a saleswoman than a piper, but you know what I mean.

I was the only person in line when I approached the counter and handed the woman the pile of twenty plus cards that my children had collected.  She had a perplexed look on her face when I explained that I would be only too happy to put them away, however, the minute I entered the aisle, I would no doubt return with twenty more.

I singled out the one card, Congratulations on your Baby Girl with the pink baby carriage on the front and told her that I needed to purchase this particular card, because one of the kids had ripped the envelope. (FYI–I know exactly who did it, I just change the names to protect the not so innocent)

When the saleswoman went to put the card into a bag, I told her that she could keep it.  Confused, she looked at me.  I told her that I was only buying the card because my child had ripped the envelope.

“Don’t worry about it,” she replied.  And that’s where I was confused, and went on to explain to her that I needed to pay for the envelope, and did not think it was okay for us to come into her store and damage her merchandise.

“It’s an envelope,” she replied, which puzzled me more, because I was pretty sure that particular detail was never up for debate.  And with that, she reached under the counter and showed me a battered cardboard box, filled with at least 100 envelopes of all sizes and colors.

“It’s just an envelope,” she repeated.  I thanked her, and I let it go.

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