There's five of 'em.
Not like that's a lot, really. When you're home. Or when you're talking about a box of crayons.
While I was in New York, Conan took all five to the zoo. And to the fountains. They had lots of fun, says he.
So here we go....
"Mom...can we got to the fountains?"
"Dad took us."
Throwing everything I've ever learned and promised myself to never do again out the big ole' window of ambition, or ignorance, or ignorant ambition, I hear it come out of my mouth. "Okay. Let's go."
4 days later I get up the courage to go to the fountains.
We start off with breakfast and the rules.
Only go where you can see me. No fighting. No picking your noses. No eating other people's food.
"What do you do if someone tries to take you somewhere?"
"Yell 'You're Not My Mom'!"
Good answer, Dani.
"Kick, scream, and I can even hit 'em in the privates."
Way to go, Jake.
"I would tell them, oh hey, can my mom come?"
"How many eyes do I have?"
"How many of you are there?"
"That's why I need your help. How many eyes do we have all together?"
"Oh, mom, that'th a twick quethtion, becauthe we don't weally know fo thuh (sure) how many eyeth awe on the back of yo head."
Smart, smart Andy.
50 minutes later, with swim diapers in place and only two meltdowns, I let myself off the time out chair, eat a brownie, and we're in the car. I even packed a cooler of drinks and snacks, because I saw Rita do it once, and I'm so a cool mom.
A prayer before we leave. Please, help us.
NPR is playing a really ominous orchestra dooms-day kind of piece to accompany my drive into Mordor, and I seriously contemplate my fate.
Then the annoying confidence boosting angel of life is schmoozy says, "Stop worrying. You've got to do this. You can't punish your kids because you're afraid. What's the worst that could happen........"
Dumb shoulder angel.
Sitting there on the bench, watching my crayola box laughing and liking eachother, I scold myself. Ambition can be pleasant. Anticipation of adversity doesn't necessarily come from the inevitable awkward social situations (like peeing in the bushes), it comes from all those bad places my mind takes me when I lay awake at night answering my own question. The worst that could happen. So I try not to go to those places. Right now. They're just fountains.
Even when the big yellow bus pulls up and spews adolescence, I remain calm, but alert. Sometimes I can only see two kids, and sometimes only one through the thick mist of water coming from the twenty something fountains shooting water out of the ground my kids are standing on with twenty something scantily clothed tweens; and instead of freaking out, I just watch.
The spouts come down, and they're still having fun.
So instead of wrestling Kacie's face out of the hole in the ground to prevent water up her nose, I let her look. And the spouts come up. And she gets water up her nose. And she's still having fun.
This teaches me.
I need to keep my finger on the worst that can happen, but I don't have to go there.
They need to play in the fountains.
90 minutes later, one headed for the grassy knoll to Potty, one started drinking from the puddles, and another got his head stuck in the bench. Time to go.
High fives all around.
And a prayer before we leave. Thank you.
Turns out Conan isn't crazy. He's a pioneer.
We're going to add color to the mountains tomorrow.