One day recently we didn’t have child care, so I took the day off to spend with my little bundles of joy.
At one point I had two kids in the bathroom while Rand ran off through Burger King yelling for his shoes. That spectacle ended with one of them peeing all over their pants and underwear.
I spend a fairly significant amount of time providing childcare and I like to think I’m usually a pretty good Dad who is on top of things and able to go with the flow. But this whole adventure made me remember an event this summer when I took the threesome to the park.
It was an adventure in how not to take your kids to the park. Learn from my mistakes, people!
Overpromise To Beings Who Tend To View Life As One Long Car Advertisment: THE BIGGEST DEAL EVER
First off, I had my expectations way, way too high. That probably rubbed off on my little ones. It’s a lesson I should know: Underpromise, over deliver.
My second mistake was ramping up the excitement right before dropping us into rush hour traffic. You think Congress is gridlocked? It took me like 20 minutes to go a mile, after promising yummy food and play.
The kids were helpfully pointing out that we could “go” because the light was green; which it was. Good recognition, kids. But the kids aren’t so great, even now, at understanding that “green means go” is limited by “car in front of you.”
Forget That Time Stands Still For Three Year Olds While Alternately Going Very Fast
I figured that I would distract from our current stationary situation. We were headed to a beloved playground they had been to earlier in the day with Miss Marnie - our childcare. That would surely distract them until I could nudge forward another half-car length.
But instead they started freaking out.
“SLIDES ARE HOT” Daddy.
And of course they probably were. Temps that day hit something like 90 degrees. Do you know what happens to unshaded plastic slides when temps his 90 degrees? They get hot. Very, very hot. And in 90 degree weather kids wear shorts, exposing precious tender skin to what amounts to a skillet.
Cue crying, because no one enjoys having their calves and thighs burned by superheated plastic.
But its not 90 degrees any longer, its closer to 80 now, with the sun fully in descent and behind trees. But of course, the kids don’t know that. All they know is BURN!
So I walk them out through this. Shade; cooler; no burning; Daddy promises.
“SLIDES ARE HOT, Daddy; Miss Marnie said.”
Sigh. The slides aren’t hot anymore.
“GREEN! GO DADDY!”
“Well, I can’t go, I’d hit the car in front of me.”
“SLIDES TOO HOT”
“LIGHT GREEN. GO.”
Finally, blessedly, the light goes green AND the cars in front of me move. We are moving right along. We get to Burger King, move right through the drive-through line, we order and we are back out on the road. Look at us go.
We get to the park. Along the way from Burger King to the park we’ve had some inquiries about the hotness of the curvy slides. I’m guessing this is related to the temperature and not some infatuation with slide anatomy.
In any case, we are there!
I get out of the truck and take a deep breath of air full of freedom from the confines of a vehicle packed full of kids and the promise of stress-free play. I promptly open the passenger door and drop your small fries head-first onto parking lot pavement.
Thankfully, this was literally Burger King small fries, and not a child. I excuse you from thinking otherwise. It had certainly been that type of day.
To quote one of my son’s favorite characters: Good grief!
Lose Sight Of Your Kids
To this point, my kids always hung nearby. Sure, they’d run off and play on a different part of the playground, but they would never run off.