Wednesday, July 27, 2011

New Thing #21: A walk, a splash, a frantic search

Today was an improvise-on-the-fly kind of day. I had a few ideas of things I wanted to do with the LP but I've come to the conclusion that there are certain activities that are easier managed with two adults, rather than just one. Sometimes you just need that second set of hands to help corral children, carry things or help keep your sanity. I now have a short list of things we can do next time someone says "hey, what are you and the LP up to today? Want to get together?" Sure! Sucker. Can you carry a double stroller? Let's find out.

After giving the matter some thought, I decided to hit the waterfront trail with the LP, followed by a visit to a splashpad. There is an area that stretches from Hamilton into Burlington known as "the Beachstrip". With a major highway on one side and Lake Ontario on the other, it is a popular place in the summer. It was sunny and hot (but not scorching) this morning, so I decided to pack up the LP and check it out with them.

Ah, ye olde beach trail. Back in the day when I used to run for fitness and not just in response to "SUPPER TIME!" like I do now, I used to love running along this trail with Auntie K.

We were going on a walk to see what we could see. And there was much to be seen today. Lots of people walking, running, rollerblading and biking. Don't these people have jobs? How were there so many people out and about on a Wednesday morning? As per usual in Hamilton, we also saw lots of unusual characters...a lady pushing a stroller with a dog leashed to the side of it, running alongside. You may think this sounds perfectly normal until I tell you that the stroller was FOR THE DOG. There was no child in it. There were no children anywhere near that lady. Just some dog treats and a cushion in the stroller. Why is your dog running beside the stroller? I don't get it. Further continuing the theme of weird dog-walking, we also saw a man riding a bike, pulling one of those bike chariot things behind it. You know, the kind of wheeled contraption that usually has children sitting in it and looks, in my opinion, highly dangerous? Well, this guy had his basset hound strapped into it. And the basset hound was howling the entire time. At full volume. The LP were fascinated by this. So was I. We looked around at the scenery, we spied on people's houses, we watched bugs jumping and cranes digging in the dirt. LP1 scared a runner who was passing us by yelling "HEY LADY! STOP RUNNING!" Ah, that kid never fails to make me laugh. It was almost as funny as the time Auntie K and I were running along a different waterfront trail and she screamed because a snake was going across the path and it scared a guy on rollerblades, causing him to trip and go flying through the air. Four years later and I'm still laughing as I type this. Yes, I laugh when bad things happen. It is part of my many charms.

This would make a great spot to have a picnic. If you were the kind of person who thought ahead and packed a lunch, rather than stuffing some chopped-up fruit and a few packs of baby cookies into your bag.

When it became obvious that the LP were tiring of this walk (seriously, how can they get tired? Are they the ones pushing the stroller? No. No they are not.), I appeased them with snacks and we retraced our steps back to where we had started, at the Lakeland Centre. There is a splashpad right in front of it and a pool off to one side. Daddy had noticed the splashpad awhile back and he suggested it as a possibility for one of our adventures. Since it wasn't far from home, I thought this was a great idea.

The splashpad looks inviting as you are passing it on the road. When you are up close and personal, it is a bit of a different story. I think there must be a large goose population in the area, as the grass surrounding the splash area was full of goose poop. Charming. There's nothing more fun than running over goose poop with a stroller! Oh, wait. Yes there is...finding goose poop in random spots all over a splashpad designed for children to play on. Along with litter, random debris and leaves clogging the drain so that eventually it becomes a small wading pool. The LP were clearly excited to play in the area so I figured that as long as they kept their shoes on and didn't roll around on the ground, it would be okay. Judging by the number of children and adults running barefoot, apparently I'm the one with the issue. Everyone else seemed fine with it. Yeech. It was fine to try it out today, but I don't think I would go back there again. It just felt dirty and gross.

Water shoots out from the anchor and the whale's tale and a few strategically-placed fountains. Notice the smudges on the pavement? That's where poop shoots out of a goose.

I set the stroller off to one side, got the LP changed into their Little Swimmers and bathing suits and we set off. I noticed the grass was a bit wet but I really should have paid further attention to this. As in, looked around and did some critical thinking. Instead, I was trying to keep pace with LP1 while holding LP2.

The good news is that the LP really, really enjoyed the splashpad. LP1 was shrieking and running from one jet of water to the next and getting thoroughly soaked. At one point she joined up with a group of older kids and was running around with them, clearly having a great time. LP2 was also digging it, but this is no surprise, as he's our little water baby. I alternated between holding his hands so he could stand up and be sprayed to holding him in my arms and letting him play with the water.  He was laughing with delight the entire time. Both kids got soaked and I think it was a welcome relief, as it was starting to get really hot.

The bad news is that wet grass I had noticed earlier? Was wet because when one of the strategically-placed fountains erupted at random times, it sprayed water everywhere. All over the stroller. And all the things inside it. Sigh. At least it was water and not a fountain of Sharpie marker. THAT would have been very irritating.

I had to play the role of Mean Mom once again and make the LP leave. I was starting to get concerned about sun exposure. I also try to leave before meltdowns happen and I knew LP1 in particular was due for a nap. With extreme regret, they allowed me to load them back into the stroller so we could head back to the car to get changed. The awesome thing about driving an environment-destroying SUV is that you have what amounts to a huge change table in the back. A change table that is remarkably free of goose excrement, I might add.

The problem started when I muttered to myself, "where is Hello Kitty?" as I was finishing changing LP1 back into dry clothes. I don't believe we've ever discussed Hello Kitty. Basically, Hello Kitty & Mariah (a Cabbage Patch Kid) are two of LP1's favourite toys and they often accompany us the stroller, the car, the backyard, camping, or all over the house. I guess Mariah was in LP1's bad books today because only Hello Kitty came along. Unfortunately, LP1 heard me and immediately started to wail. I quickly looked in the backseat but didn't see her. This sent LP1 into Air Raid Siren wailing levels. There was a man parked beside us, eating his lunch and watching the lake. He stopped what he was doing to watch how our little drama would play out. I really felt like asking him to stop staring and start helping look for Kitty if he was so interested, but I had more pressing things to deal with. Like calming LP1 down. At this point she was screaming "HELLO KITTY IS GONE! SHE IS LOST!" I put both kids back in the stroller and went back to the splash area. No Hello Kitty. More crying. I asked two ladies if they had seen her. They said they saw LP1 holding her as we left. Crying became screaming. As we crossed back over the parking lot, I began to panic. The place was teeming with children. What if someone picked up Hello Kitty and claimed it as their own? What if I couldn't find her? Could I find a replacement? LP1 isn't the kind of kid you can easily distract when she's focused on something. If I tried my usual "HEY! Check out that bird!" trick, she would probably only cry harder because the bird did not have Hello Kitty, either. She would be inconsolable. She LOVES Hello Kitty. One time Kitty fell out of the stroller and I accidentally ran her over, causing to to look more like Hello Blackface. LP1 kept saying "Hello Kitty is dirty" and was generally displeased with the state of her friend until one day I finally rubbed some stain remover onto her and threw her in the wash. When LP1 and Kitty were reunited it was like a scene out of a movie. "HELLO KITTY IS ALL CLEAN! MOMMY, YOU SAVED HER!" I felt like a hero.

When we got back to the car, Nosy Man Not Eating His Lunch was still watching us. I'm sure it was hard not to, as LP1 was nearly in hysterics. I took one last desperate look into the backseat...and there was Hello Kitty, jammed up against the carseat! OH THANK GOD. I grabbed her and handed Hello Kitty to LP1, who immediately calmed down and said "MOMMY! YOU FOUND HER! SHE IS SAFE!" Once again, I felt like a hero. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Nosy Man had a huge grin and had returned to his lunch. Everyone likes a happy ending.


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  2. If that fountain did squirt sharpie everywhere, perhaps "Fallen Rollerblade Man" would have had been there to laugh at you. Come on, admit it. If you saw someon'e stroller being sprayed with Sharpie ink (Or even water) you would have laughed hysterically like I just did as I read this post!!
    PS-Hello Blackface= genius.