Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just Keep Spinning

Today was Family Fun Day.
A title SOME members of our family feel is a loose term.
The sun was shining. We were all home. We had even woken up early - And if you know us, that is no small feat.

The plan was to go shopping at the outlet malls and then stop off at Leghorn Park in Petaluma.
The greatest park ever. State of the art. Fun for all ages.
At least, I marketed it as such.

The outlets were successful for the most part.
Alena needed new shoes for running.
Not that she normally DOES a lot of running, but it's something I'm trying to encourage.
Activity for more than just her thumbs, and the like.

She, Justin, my Mom and even Tessa found shoes.
Of course, Tessa ALWAYS finds shoes. They may not be in her size and they may look like they belong on a hooker, but she finds them and parades around expressing how beautiful she is.
She had three boxes strewn out at Nike.
One was a Men's 11.

I found sunglasses to replace the ones that Tessa had stretched so far beyond recognition that they almost made a straight line when you opened them up.
The ones that fall off my head every time I bend over.

We enjoyed the sun and almost pierced Tessa's ears, until I started thinking that I really didn't want the 14 year old girl at Claire's who was manning the registers alone to do it.
She looked busy enough with her gum.

So far so good.
I had remembered snacks and water and Tessa's pull up was still dry.
Overall good.

Our day was working out. No one was screaming. Tessa and Chloe were getting along. All beginnings of meltdowns were quickly stifled with bribes of the lollipops I had in the car if the girls were good.

I know. I know.
Questionable Parenting 101.

Then we loaded up our treasures and went to the park.

And that's where it all unraveled.

Within 2 minutes of being there, Tessa was crying. She had hit her head on the way down the slide, which was no wonder, being that it was shaped like a twirly straw and very very steep.

Alena handed me the coffee my mom had just bought me from the Starbucks on the corner and I promptly spilled it down her shirt.
Mortifying for any pre teen.

As I comforted Tessa and dabbed Alena, I looked closely at Chloe who'd been super moody all day to notice that yes. I DO believe she has pink eye.
Diagnosis confirmed by oozy bright red puffy eye.
"Chloe. Don't rub it."
"I'm not." As she stood there - RUBBING IT.
"You are. You are right now, actually."
"No I'm not!"
Then she started crying.

During all of this, Alena stood quietly by. All was fairly well until she spotted the spinning cup and decided to try it out while we all had our backs turned.
After all, the child in it before her was only roughly 8 months old and THEY seemed to like it.

Hindsight is 20/20, Alena.

She got in and got it going and couldn't get it to stop.
Around and around and around she went.
I actually don't know how long she was going before I saw her there, but when I went over with my mom all we could do was laugh at her when she said,
"Mama! Help! I can't stop it." as she went around over and over again.

I dug for my camera.

SHE says I then said, "I'll help you, but I want to shoot a video first."

Something which I will neither confirm nor deny.
I did end up with a video, though.

I was laughing so hard at the whole scene that I didn't want it to stop.
Something in me wanted to spin it MORE.
I didn't, but I wanted to.

My mom and I were both crying we were laughing so hard.
My mom was doubled over.
I thought the rise in the tone in Alena's voice meant SHE was laughing, too, maybe.

I couldn't really tell.
Her face was so blurry because of all the spinning.
It makes emotion recognition hard.

When I finally did stop her, I realized she was crying and even then I could not stop laughing.
It was sort of laughing because she was crying over spinning in a baby spin cup. Then it was laughing because I was laughing.

She was so embarrassed and mad at me that she kept crying, but she wanted to hide her face so she kept going behind me to try to bury her face in the back of my neck, I guess, but I kept turning to talk to her and she kept still trying to remain behind me, so she was, in essence STILL spinning, which made me laugh again.

She was saying between sobs, "I asked you to help me and you just laughed at me."

I couldn't tell a this point if the other families at the park were staring because they thought it was funny and Alena was overreacting, too, or if they thought I was the worst mother in the world and they were contemplating calling CPS.

Probably the latter, but I'm comfortable with my decisions.
She was literally falling apart.
So angry that she wouldn't look at me.

And maybe that was a GOOD thing for her because I did NOT look good. Multiple days of rain and then a sunny windy day make a perfect allergy storm. I had already sneezed about 400 times - and that's not even an exaggeration - and my eyes now looked somewhat like the Elephant Man from all the allergies and, well, LAUGHING.

To a random onlooker, we were probably both a sight.
We probably both looked like we'd been sitting on the park bench sobbing together. Add my mom bent over trying to catch her breath and Chloe's big swollen red eye and we must have looking like we walked right out of a Normal Rockwell.

The only way I got Alena to smile again was to sit on the bench with her, and tightly bear hug her, while I did the most loud and exaggerated sneezes on her possible.
Open mouthed sneezes.
All the other kids were staring with big wide eyes.
I finally saw a smile. A very short one.

When she was calmed, I called and unsuspecting Justin over to the spin cup and told him to sit in it and try it out.
Oh man. I wish I had gotten a video of THAT one because he almost had the same reaction as Alena.
I think he even tried to kick at me once as he yelled for help.

Later, he and Alena sat on a bench together looking like they'd both throw up.

My mom and I sat on another bench trying not to let them see we were still laughing.

Maybe I AM the meanest mom in the world. But why even HAVE kids if you can't laugh at them sometimes?
There have been TONS of times I've laughed at the kids' misfortune.
I'm just not one of those moms that swoops in every single time there's the slightest issue asking, "Oh, Honey! Are you OK?!"

I think our society is already full of complainers and the overly entitled and sometimes it's just reality that things aren't always perfect.

Sometimes you can't stop spinning.
Life lessons, by Kerri Green.

Alena thinks I just laugh at her, but she's completely forgetting that I laughed at Chloe the other day as she walked right into a glass door while we were all on the other side because she was looking to her left instead of in front of her.

Or the time Phoebe threw up and Tessa stepped right in it with bare feet and came hopping to me with her foot held up because it "had yuckies."

All good for a laugh.

I tried telling Alena that you HAVE to learn to laugh at yourself.
It's CRUCIAL in life.
You have to have a sense of humor or your insides dry out.
Why else would I have posted my own personal tale of thinking the doctor's office urine cabinet was a high tech automatic hand dryer and how I waved my hands under it for a full minute thinking it was broken before I saw the "Place urine samples here" sign?

Maybe it's genetic.
My Aunt Toni is known for laughing if she sees someone get hurt.
My mom still needs to see a counselor for her emotional wounds over Aunt Toni dying laughing as my mom cut her food on some metal and bled all over the basement.
She tells the story often as she stares off into the distance.

I'm not alone, though.
It's the whole reason America's Funniest Home Videos has existed for so long.

Sometimes it's just FUNNY.
I guess I just don't get it.

Maybe I'm too far removed from my pre-teen years to remember the agony.

The same way I don't get how Chloe, upon getting home from the park, cried actual tears when she flushed the potty and the
water didn't refill all the way like it should have.

She said she was scared of it.
Upon further review, I realized she's been scared of the toilet and flushing issues ever since I read her a children's book we have about a boy who puts too much water in the bathtub and then floats through his town, with his tub as a boat. There's something about fire and a police officer, too, but I don't remember...

I assured her she was not going to set sail in toilet water and told her to stop her fit.

Maybe I am just the meanest mom in the whole world. Maybe I've damaged her for life. I'm quite positive it's something that she'll always hold on to and will bring up one day when she's 25 and in therapy for all the other things I've done to her. Isn't that how we ALL are?
I remember things from my childhood that were probably equally as life altering to me at the time.
Forever changed my course and all that.

Later, after we got home and the girls napped, My mom and I drove to Target.
We rounded the off ramp and my mom said,

"Is it still in your purse?"

I pulled out the camera and we watched it again.
Four times.
I'm sure she'll hate me forever, but MAN that is funny stuff.


  1. My favorite line ever: Questionable Parenting 101. This is my tagline for parenting in general.