I’ve written in the past about how we try and once in a while have a “big kid day” with ruth, our oldest daughter. we haven’t had enough of them to really establish a routine, but the last one took an alarming turn. for the expensive. it started out with us just wanting to spend a little time alone with ruth and show her a special time, and turned into a spending frenzy. before long, I felt like I was on that old show “my super sweet 16”. is that show still on? the ante kept on being raised and it turned into the traveling party that just wouldn’t stop.
we started with a trip to Kroger because joel fell asleep in the car on our way to drop him off with his grandparents and the best thing to do when that happens is just to leave him in the car and let the kid sleep as long as possible (greg stayed out with him while ruth and I ran in. no, I’m not a negligent parent. not to that extreme, anyways). well, ruth has developed this terribly annoying habit of asking for treats EVERYWHERE we go. and she’s persistent as hell, those at home thinking “just say ‘no’. what’s the big deal?” I usually try to settle on something acceptable and somewhat cheap to appease her, just to make it through the trip without a complete breakdown (which usually happens anyways). I let her pick out doughnut holes (at least partly because I had a sudden craving for some) and then, as we approached the toy/book aisle, I told her she could pick out one magazine (which she tried to change to a mermaid toy, but hey, I’m not a complete pushover. just mostly) which I soon regretted as she started eyeing the strawberry shortcake magazine. I had had my mind set on a more gender-friendly Clifford, peppa pig and curious George one and I HATE strawberry shortcake. for those without kids, she is no longer the harmless cartoon from our youth, but a brazen impish little thing with a nauseating giggle, tiny waistline and large doe eyes. barf. I ended up insisting that we get the one I desired which, you guessed it, led to such screaming, people just froze and stared in our direction, awestruck by the sheer decibel level.
after we finally dropped the brother off, we headed to our favorite greasy spoon: the senate coney island. it is a special thing for us to be able to go out to eat again when we only have ruth with us. it’s been years, people. they are the type of establishment to have a bunch of little coin vending machines in the front entryway, and OF COURSE ruth wanted some candy and a toy. even that wasn’t really enough to satiate her, but I was out of quarters. we sat down and ordered ruth a chocolate milk, in my mind, an extremely special treat (we NEVER had chocolate milk or pretty much anything but water if and when we went out to eat which was never). she took it for granted and started asking for a hot dog, which we soon ordered for her, along with our food, but she was impatient to wait and ended up downing a bunch of sugar straight from the dispenser. when her hotdog finally DID arrive, she was too full of candy and sugar to eat it (plus she had weaseled some doughnut holes out of me on the way there). she was acting crazy (on sugar) and annoying and impatient after the grocery trip, the car ride and waiting for our food and both greg and I were having a hard time keeping the scowls from our brows as we asked her a million times to act like a big kid while we were in the restaurant. she was into the usual tom-foolery, climbing on the benches and under the table, making messes with the ketchup and bursting out yelling for no apparent reason. we were able to choke down our own food quickly and avoid too much commotion when I headed with ruth for the bathroom before leaving. she was sitting on the toilet as I stood nearby, handing her paper to wipe with. that was when the shit hit the fan. or, the pee hit my face, if you wanna know what really happened. she was acting goofy and careless and had dipped the paper into the toilet water and then whipped it out again really fast so that, yes, toilet water splashed up into my face. my eyes. my mouth. I don’t think I need to tell you how enraged I became. it didn’t matter that she didn’t mean to do it, that she apologized right away or that she’s FOUR. I was so mad, I couldn’t contain myself. I marched her out to the car, buckled her in and walked away. after greg had paid and came out, I still needed a minute so I left my family out in the parking lot and went into a nearby dollar store. yes, that’s my therapy. padded by the comforting merchandize of the store, I was finally able to put the whole thing into perspective and calm the fuck down. it took a good ten minutes, though.
after we recovered from the toilet water incident, we moved on to our last stop. the movies. greg and I, probably like most people in their early twenties looking for things to do with all of the abundant time we had all to ourselves then (bitter?), spent a lot of time taking in movies. we were movie fiends at one point. but, again, it’s pretty much been years since we’ve been to the show, and with ruth being 4, nearly 5, we figure she’s old enough now to sit through an entire hour and twenty minute movie. as long as there’s popcorn involved. luckily, by the time we got there, Paddington bear was about to begin, so we bought tickets (20+ dollars??!!) and got the smallest popcorn we could (6 dollars. really? corn is like the most heavily subsidized crop on the planet!) and headed into our theater. jesus. we need to start asking for a homeschool discount (though it might only be for educational places and stuff. not like while getting an oil change or going out for dinner or anything like that, unfortunately). the movie was actually really enjoyable. for greg and I. ruth didn’t like the dark. and she didn’t like how loud it was. and, even though the movie was rated PG, the beginning starts off with his uncle dying in an earthquake (c’mon. is that really necessary??) and then the villain of the movie wants to kill Paddington and stuff him and put him in a museum. there’s all this dramatic music while the family is trying to save him that ruth could barely keep calm through. she may or may not have sustained permanent mental damage. I dunno. Paddington bear. you’d think it’d be ok.
our last stop (yes, I know I said the movies was our last stop but I lied) was mc Donald’s for ice cream. I mean, could this day have gotten any more consumerist and sugar filled? we definitely bolstered the economy around here. greg said, “we should do this every weekend.” to which I replied, “no way. we can’t afford it.”