to the fountains, and other scary places

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.

Show off.

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.


Natalie said...

Oh wow, Cally! I hope you do send that in for the contest. It was amazing. I cracked up and it was insightful...just amazing. I took five kids to Target today. You get used to the looks from other people counting how many kids you have, right? :) It went pretty well. And I learned that guilt trips don't work on my Cally when I want her to take a sibling to the bathroom. ("Why do I always have to do it? I didn't ask to be the oldest!") Lovely.

ShEiLa said...

I think you would enjoy it so much more at the fountains in Moapa. Of course you might just end up the only ones there... or a few others from the community. I am so glad that your trip was successful.
toodles, Sheila

Mama Cher, Ok, fine, it's Sharon said...

This is great! So proud of you for doing it! My hubby did the same thing to me when I went on a trip. He was such a show off. I don't know how you do it, but you do, and it's worth it.

mer said...

Well written Cally. You should win for sure. And what a priceless shot you got of all of them. That was worth all the trouble just for that. I applaud you. I currently dread going to Walmart and I only have one.

Scribbit said...

Sounds so fun--I would love some warm weather and trips to the fountains right about now.

Natalie said...

i just checked out your playlist. I don't know anyone else that has even heard of Nickel Creek! Yeah! I've loved them for a very long time. And I loved, loved Juno and August Rush! The Rufus song stays in your head aaaaallll ddaayy lloonngggggg...

Lori said...

For the piece and the feat.

wendy said...

You conquered fear and overcame fountains - way to go.

Unknown said...

Cally, this is great...i meann really great. It says it all.

I love the "we don't know how many eyes are on the back of your head" and

"becuase I saw rita do it once" You will have to go over and tell her that she hit calico fame:)

I hope you win.

I think I will not even go and see what the wriing contest is all about....I haven't caught up on scribbit for about 2 weeks now.

I don't need to check..i think you are going to win! Thanks for writing so well...one writing contest if off my to-do list.

Maybe I can win next time.

Oh, and just for a few more laughs....at these SAME EXACT fountains, a few years back...we looked over to see our friend's daughter pooping in the grass...I guess this mom missed her "time to go" que :)

Rita said...

Cally, Cally, Cally -- this story is FANTASTIC! What a great writer you are! I need to visit your blog more often! :)

And thanks for the shout out -- I am honored to be a part of your story.

I am in awe of you -- five kids and off you go. I struggle every time I step out the door and I only have THREE! Each time I leave the house on an adventure with them (even if it's just the grocery store!) I can feel the knots making their way into my stomach and the praying begins very early on. I often come home completely mentally exhausted -- but it is all part of it and I absolutely love my children and the time I spend with them -- even with the craziness!

You are my hero! :)

Amy Niebuhr said...

You have got to be one of the funniest people ever!! I love this story. I don't know how you do it with 5 kids! If I had that many I would stay home all the time and let them watch tv all day! Ali has told me about these fountains and they look like so much fun. Way to be brave and let your kids have some fun in the sun.