Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's the little things

As with anything else, being a parent has its ups and downs.  But just as the downs can come out of nowhere -- a tantrum mysteriously erupting with no apparent cause, a sudden scream because a corner was taken too tightly and somebody hit some body part on some immovable object, like a wall or a table -- the ups can take you by surprise as well.

Yesterday afternoon was a perfectly average day.  I picked Zeke up from school at about 5:05 in the afternoon.  He was outside on the playground, but when he saw me walk into his classroom to pick up his lunchbox, he sprinted toward me with a huge grin on his face and gave me a hug.  I handed him a water bottle, because he was hot from playing, and he grabbed my hand with his free hand as we made our way down the hall and out to the car.  

The trek down the hallway is often a lengthy ordeal, because there are a million distractions for an almost 2-year-old.  
  • Windows that look into other classrooms with fish tanks right on the other side of the window, so Zeke has to stop and a) observe that there are fish there ("fish!  FISH!!"); b) describe the fish ("orange!" - or more accurately, as Zeke pronounces it "arzhh!"); c) say hello to the fish ("Hi, fish!"), including waving at the fish; and then d) say goodbye to the fish, again with a wave ("Bye, fish!") 
  • indoor play areas with little slides that must be jumped off of at least 3 times, soft structures that must be climbed in and out of multiple times, baskets of toy farm animals that must each be individually named along with an explanation of the sound they make ("cow!  cow!  Mooooo!")
  • windows that look into the infant rooms, so Zeke has to stop and a) observe that there are babies ("beebees!"); b) say "hi" and "bye" to the babies, and c) count the babies ("waaaaan, choooooo, eight!")
  • Every adult we pass must be identified as either a "man" or a "lady," and then he either says "hi" to them, or just says "wow!" (which is actually pretty freaking funny)
And all of these things are adorable and cute in their own right.  I know that he's not trying to stall or annoy me -- it's just that the world is so damned interesting to him, and he wants to tell me about it, which is awesome.  But some days I'm tired and the daycare only validates my parking in the garage downstairs for a certain amount of time and I'm all "come on, sweetie, mommy's on the clock downstairs" and he just won't move it along and so I end up having to pick him up and he gets mad and starts to fuss and then we're both grumpy for a little while.

At least until I let him push the buttons on the elevator.

But yesterday, he held onto my hand and walked, saying hello to the fish and the babies without stopping for long, saying hello to everyone without turning around and following them, and we made it to the elevator in record time.  He pushed the button and giggled, jumped up and down in the elevator and giggled, got into his car seat without a fuss and proceeded to settle in to read a board book.  


We then had the greatest trip to the grocery store in the history of trips to the grocery store.

Because for the first time, we used one of these:

It seems like such a simple concept, such a little thing, but really, the car-cart is a work of genius.  I want to thank whomever thought of it.  I want to thank Safeway for stocking them.  

Because Zeke climbed in, a HUGE smile on his face, and then sat there for 25 minutes saying "vroom vroom" and turning the steering wheel as I shopped.  When I stopped from time to time to take things from the shelves and put them in the cart, he would look out the window back at me, grin and laugh, and then sit down again to resume "driving."  I never had to rush, I never had to admonish him to sit down.  We just went through the store, chatting and smiling, and clearly enjoying ourselves so much that everyone we encountered smiled at us.

It was nothing but a run-of-the-mill trip to the store, but it made for a lovely, lovely afternoon.


  1. That cart looks like fun. Personally, I'd be delighted to be in the cab of the car while Nick drove the shopping cart.

    Also, I love the "mommy's on the clock downstairs." It's true but just sounds so funny.

  2. It is funny, particularly because he would have no way of knowing what it means, so why is it that I choose *that* particular phrase to try to persuade him to get a move on?

  3. We have spaceships at the publix in atlanta...and a truck! It keeps BOTH boys happy. pre-kids, i used to think they were huge, unwieldy carts. now i appreciate them for the piece of brilliance that they are!!

  4. They are surprisingly unwieldy -- I was a bit of a menace trying to navigate my way around the store, but everyone was very understanding and nice about it.

  5. No joke, it is one of the prime reasons I had a baby. I've been longing to drive one. (really I want to ride in one, but I'm a few years too late) love it.