In an effort to maintain our reputation as a free wheeling family living a crazy life in the fast lane, last Friday Nick and I spent the evening swinging the girls at the park.
The previous Friday we had decided to be really adventurous and take the family to Bar Louie. This little episode ended with me carrying two screaming kids out the door in one hand and our boxed up dinners in the other, while Nick leaned over the table ravenously chugging every last drop of his second beer.
In the car on the way home we made a vow to one another that we would never ever try something so stupid again.
Shockingly, there was only one other loser at the park. She had three boys and the youngest two were almost the same ages as Ellie and Lila.
I held Lila on my lap and we watched the other kids swing as her young son was crawling around the swing area. Her oldest son came running over from playing in the wooded area and pointed out that the little one was chewing on a stick.
To which the Mom casually replied, “Oh, it won’t hurt him,” with a wave of her hand.
I was immediately jealous of this woman’s cool prowess. Her son was eating a stick and she didn’t even flinch. Had that been one of my kids I would have been halfway to the Mayo clinic with poison control on one line and Dr. Oz on the other.
I looked over and the little boy was not only chewing on the stick, he was crawling toward me with the stick in his mouth. Not sideways, like a dog would carry a bone, but long ways, like someone would use a straw. Like the way that would impale his brain if he tipped forward.
“Errrr… he’s crawling with it – do you want me to take it out of his mouth?” My voice trembled, as I tried to make her think I was cool too.
“No, he’s fine,” she said, barely glancing my way.
She must have noticed the beads of sweat starting to form on my forehead because after a couple of minutes she walked over, took it from him and tossed it into the woods.
This woman was a freaking rock star. Was it the fact that this was her third? Was it the fact that she had boys? Was she just trying to make me look like an uptight bitch in front of Nick?
When I was a kid I was afraid to do everything. Climb trees, scale fences, ride a bike, swim… when I was eight my Mom had to resort to using the one thing that I cared about to bribe me into jumping off the side of the pool – money. She told me she would pay me $1 if I did it.
It took me all summer. And I had to put my towel right on the very edge in case I got any water in my face.
The next year she told me she would pay me $5 to jump off the diving board. That one took a couple more years.
The high dive was $10… I never made it. Though I did actually climb the ladder once and stand on the edge for 10 minutes as the kids below shouted profanities at me while waiting their turns.
Some time last week I realized that my timid nature has affected Ellie and I need to seriously lighten up when she wouldn’t even go near the slide as the other kids were climbing and sliding down like crazy.
Probably because every time in the past she had tried I made her wear a repelling harness and safety helmet.
But she was so little! The one time I let her go up the stairs by herself to the slide she slipped and split her lip. I kicked myself for days for not being more protective.
Now I think her spirit has been broken and she’s finally just given up.
I’m sure that when it comes to this third baby I’ll be throwing teething branches into its crib before I know it.
Right now I just need to work on pulling the branch out of my ass before I have to bribe Ellie to leave the house.