So I’ve decided that I need to start a category called “Things I Won’t do Again” and today’s activity will be on it.
Like any good SAHM (or at least one that wants to stay sane), I try to plan activities and outings for my kids, especially during the summer. Today was going to be a Pacific Northwest “hot” day (into the mid 80s). Having just spent the last 12 years in the desert of the Southwest, I wouldn’t call it hot, but I thought it would be a good day for an outing to a spray park someone had told me about. So I fed the kids lunch, packed up all our gear for both the water and the park, slathered sunscreen on the clan, wrangled everyone into the min van, and headed off for a fun day, so I thought.
My two youngest fell asleep in the car, which you would think would make for a pleasant 20 minute ride, however, my oldest was still awake, so it was not. When I got off the highway, I went through a drive thru for an iced tea to keep me going. At this point my oldest informs me, from the very far back, that he wants ice water. I tell him that I brought water in our thermos. Unfortunately, my oldest has become obsessed with all water needing to be iced water (a requirement I had while pregnant with my third child) and unless there is visible ice in it, it is not cold enough. I told him that I had just filled it up and put ice in it before we left so it was plenty cold. This led to my oldest son complaining, whining, and screaming that he wanted ice water. So naturally, I turned up the volume on the radio to drown out his 10 minute long triad.
Once we got to the park, I loaded up all our stuff and attempted to wake the two sleeping, cranky children who did not wish to be disturbed. I then pushed my full sit and stand stroller, with two kids in it and one in my arms, maneuvering around the many families strewn about until I found a spot to plop our stuff. The spray park itself wasn’t wonderful, but it was adequate and had a play park right next to it, so it seemed like it would do the trick and kill several hours of another long summer day in which my husband would not be home until late. My middle child began to come into consciousness and immediately noticed the lady across the way from us eating popcorn and decides that this is simply something he must have. “We don’t have pop corn. I brought other snacks.” So now, we must all sit and have a snack, even though we eat lunch just before leaving the house. Once we’ve all had some snack, I send the older two on their way as I dress the baby in his water clothes and lather him up in sunscreen. I’ve just finished getting the baby ready when the oldest returns to say he wants to go on the playground area. “Fine, go. I can see you from here.” Then the middle child wanders over, greedily eyeing the food of everyone around us. He’s still hungry, and he wants popcorn. “Oh well, have some more cheddar bunnies.” He apparently threw more of his lunch at his brothers than he had actually eaten. Then he runs off to join his brother on the playground. I try to bring the baby over to the water to show him and let him get wet because it is getting warm sitting in the sun and, well, that’s what we had come here for. He screams and runs away. Ok, then.
We go back to the blanket and the oldest is there again. He wants to get dressed, he doesn’t want to go in the water anymore. I try to tell him that he is better off staying a little wet while he plays otherwise he might get hot. No, he wants to get dressed. “Fine, but if you put your dry clothes on then there is no more going in the water. I’m not putting your bathing suit back on and you can’t get your dry clothes wet because it is the only set of dry clothes I have for you.” He still wants to change. So I change him and he returns to the playground. Then the middle child returns again still looking for popcorn. He notices that his older brother has changed out of his bathing suit and now he wants to too, even though, only moments ago, he was splashing in the water and appeared to be making friends. I go through the same thing with him, but of course, in the end, he ends up in his dry clothes. We’ve now been here for almost as long as it took us to drive here and everyone is already done with the spray pad part of the park and are now playing on the normal playground part, something we have lots of 20 minutes closer to home. Fine, whatever, they are entertained and I can look a a catalogue from a few days ago right, nope. Now my oldest comes back complaining that he’s done, he wants to leave and go home. I tell him to go play some more and we will leave in a little bit. He then proceeds to return every 2-3 minutes to whine at me that he wants to go home. Now I’m the one bargaining to stay a few more minutes at the playground, because I don’t want to have to go into clean up mode only minutes after finally settling in. Then the middle child returns, still hungry and looking for, you guessed it, popcorn.
Finally I cave, partly because I’m just done, but mostly because I now have to pee from my giant iced tea. I remember seeing a farmers market up the road and tell my middle child that we will stop there to get a snack and see if they have popcorn before heading home. I dress the baby back in his regular clothes and start to clean everything up. At that moment, my oldest comes over and declares that he wants to put his bathing suit back on because he’s going back in the water. Instead, I load all our stuff into the carriage, including three children, one who is throwing a fit, and attempt to maneuver towards the car. It is at this moment that I decide to start my list of “Things I Won’t do Again” and add this at the very top.
On the up side, the farmers market did have popcorn and a bathroom.