Three Kid Circus : An Exercise in Frustration

Thursday, September 02, 2004

An Exercise in Frustration

I'm back again from another jaunt to the school and back. It's a mile each way, just a eensy-weensie mile, unless you are taking three kids, a backpack, 100 plastic dinosaurs, and one stroller along on the walk.

My oldest, once the three year old who would run and dance alongside me as I did my 5 mile fitness walk, IN TAP SHOES (and I have it on video to prove it, hah!) now whines every other block. "Mooooooooooom. I'm Tie-i-i-erd. I wanna ride in the stroller." She drags her feet. She huffs and pouts. Then, for no reason at all, she'll start whirling and skipping, delighted to be ALIVE and on the STREET and going to BIG GIRL SCHOOL! Tra-la-la!

We have one of those bike trailer/jogging strollers that we use exclusively as a stroller right now. It sits two kids side by side, and has plenty of cargo room in the back for all the dinos and other, relevant baggage. Problem is, when you get two kids side by side, they are touching each other. And that can get ugly.

My son, although the apple of my eye et cetera, is a royal pain in the butt right now. He has no concept of personal space. He loves to rub faces and touch hair and hold hands and sit in laps. He's adorable, but I wouldn't want to be strapped in a double stroller with him. My youngest loves the peekaboo and love pats initially, but about 1/2 mile in, she's letting off earsplitting shrieks at regular intervals.

Also, we have a tantrum at least once in the walk, because along our route is a home that has major mystery and kid appeal. These people have a succulant plant near their mailbox, right by the sidewalk. It's one of those spiky ones, no thorns, but the leaf tips are sharp. For some reason, these people have impaled a raw egg on the tips of most of the leaves. As the weeks go by, some of the eggs fall to the ground, and there are fewer and fewer eggshells bobbing on the tips of this plant. Then, mysteriously, one day there will be a fresh crop of eggs. It's weird. And my kids want to touch it, every day.

I think I have them convinced that spiders have taken up residence in the empty shells, so they aren't so eager to touch anymore. But I totally want to know what the deal is. I know it's a young Asian couple that live there, and one of their mothers, because I see Grandma Eggshell sitting on the porch, sullen, in an old lady floral print nightie with a cigarette and a mug of tea every morning. She doesn't respond to greetings, so the mystery remains.

Oh! Also, to get out of the yard, we have to endure the rage of Donna the dog, who feels that all outings with the stroller should include her. She barks and charges the gate, and then howls until she can't hear us anymore. Then when we return, she barks and kisses and leaps at me. Yesterday, she actually forced my ganglion hand backwards, and as of this morning, appears to have semi-cured me. Thank you, Donna, for the Bible-style smackdown.

So let's review.

"Buh-bye Donna."
"I wanna bring ALL the dinos."
"Tiiiiiiired."
"I wanna touch the eggs! Waaaah!"
"Tra-la-la!"
"Peekaboo!"
"Shriek!"
"Shh, kids, some people are still asleep at this time."
"Eggs!"
"Shriek!"
"I wanna ride the stroller!"
"Have a good day at school!"

And then we repeat all the way home. And then back again in the afternoon.

It's like I've always said about trying to exercise with kids: It's an exercise all right... an exercise in FRUSTRATION.