1. a triumph - 18-month pediatric checkup with NO SHOTS. This is especially good for me - he cries for 5 minutes, but having to hold him down is an emotional minefield for me and I'm messed up for the rest of the day.
plus lunch at the Japanese buffet - that's always good.
2. a serious miscalculation - I packed The World's Cutest in the car, and on our way to the hardware store, I stopped for a moment at the municipal pool. I wanted to check the hours and the prices and get a general idea of how things might go if, on some 100 degree day (they're coming, mark my words) I decided to take my toddler swimming.
The lifeguard behind the counter was polite and informative, and Ian and I peeked through the fence at the pool. "See?" I said to Ian. "That's a SWIMMING POOL. One day we'll come and play in the water. Okay, let's go to the hardware store."
And that, apparently, was the signal to unleash hell.
Ian, who has never in his life seen a pool (or a garden hose or even a particularly full bathtub) made up his tiny mind that he must not be separated from the pool. The pool is his destiny, his one true home. His Brigadoon. His Shangri-la. He completely, utterly flipped, and cried in a way that I have never heard him cry in his life. I was afraid he would injure himself - I wasn't sure how, but it just seemed immanent.
Okay, so change in plans - no hardware store. ("But you LOVE the hardware store!" I pleaded over my shoulder. Fresh wails. Okay, fine.) Drivethrough, followed by the lake, where we could eat and play on the playground and watch the DOG and DUCK SHOW.
2. The playground was an enormous success; his dinner less so, consisting as it did of 3 waffle fries, one nugget, a juice box and about half of my milkshake. (Yeah, call child protective services, I know.) He played decently with the other kids; he didn't hurt himself at all; he went down the big slide.
We witnessed a great deal of playground drama, mostly centered on a 10-year-old boy who smarted off to someone else's mom, who then detailed over the cell phone how she was going to call the police. "And WHERE is his MAMA???" she shouted from the top of the climber, where she sat with the 3 exhilerated, giggling daughters. There was also the requisite "I can't play with you/Ew she touched me" action, which made me tense even though none was directed at Ian. Yet.
3. DOGS were plentiful, varied and friendly (and Ian remembered How to Approach a Dog, I was thrilled.) DUCKS were scarce, though we were chased by several enormous farm geese, apparently setting a good example for the enormous fluffy gosling with them.
Not 'chased' exactly. (I am, as I have mentioned, from the country, and so I've been chased by a goose before. Plus I'm nuts, as I many have mentioned.) We walked toward the water, they saw us and approached us in a casual way. I picked up Ian and tried to act calm. Then I started to back away, you know, casually. Like, 'No, don't be silly, I'm not running away, I just see something kind of interesting OVER HERE BYE." I did drop our bag of leftover fries, which I thought would distract them but did not spark the smallest bit of interest. The fries were cold, I guess, while the backs of our thighs were warm and tender.
The geese evidently nest, or at least hang out, near the boathouse, which is pretty inconvenient.
4. Far from the boathouse (therefore safe from the geese...Good Lord, it's not enough that I have to do the Snake Check every time I step out of the house, now I have to monitor waterfowl as well? Sheesh) is the bandshell, where a band called Oracle was playing to a small crowd. They were pretty good and very weird; a couple of old rock guys in hawaiian shirts, two beautiful women in batik tank tops, flinging their long black hair in gypsy-ish ways, a young Latin guitarist, an excellent fiddler. They were skilled musicians; and clearly they prided themselves on their range. During the time that Ian and I were listening, they played:
A hooked-on-classics sort of instrumental
Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
a celtic ballad
and a country number with the lyric "She thinks my tractor's sexy."
And they were all pretty good! I mean, nothing was embarrassing or half-assed. Everyone on the front line sang lead, credibly; the fiddler and the acoustic guitarist were terrific. I think their identity problem is really working for them.
Gape in amazement at theirsong list.
Ian was totally digging it, dancing all around. And, in fact, I was curious to see what on earth was next on that set list, but it was already past his bedtime.
When we arrived home, 3 of the 5 little boys from 2 doors down - Isaiah, Kaleel and some other OT Prophet - came barrelling out the door because they had caught a glimpse of Ian, and thought he might like to play again - they had played for nearly an hour this afternoon already. So they all ran in circles screaming for several minutes before collapsing. I slung Ian over my shoulder and took him up to bed.
So I think we've proven that Laurel has plenty of entertainment for an 18-month-old. Who in turn, is rather entertaining himself.