Friday, July 10, 2009

I don't like that mouse!

Is Greta's driving REALLY that bad, Adam?
Adam's favorite game at Chuck E. Cheese was skeetball. Go figure.
Even big kids like playing games every now & then.

The girls gather for a group photo: Rem, AJ, Greta, Karla, Nora, me, Lisa, & Leah.

We went to Chuck E. Cheese last month to see our friend AJ, in town from New York (traveling solo with three kids under the age of five. I get tired just thinking about it!) and it was fun to catch up. She moved there two months ago for her husband's job and seems to like it so far (although she readily admits that she misses her friends). I was anxious to see how Adam would like Chuck E. Cheese. I mean, doesn’t every kid under the age of 75 enjoy like it there? The games (and tickets that get you nothing but cheap crap), the singing and dancing characters, the flashing lights, the excitement in the air?

A big group of us met there, and I’m sure it looked like a birthday party, with nine kids under the age of five and nine adults. After we sat down to a meal of some (really awful) pizza, the curtain parted on stage and HEY! There’s Chuck E. Cheese!

Adam looked nervous.

No, I take that back, he looked terrified.

When the giant robotic mouse started singing and doing those shaky back-and-forth dance movements, I thought Adam was going to jump out of his skin. He turned his head away from THAT HORRIBLE SIGHT, wrapped his arms tightly around my neck and told me in an urgent voice, “I don’t like that mouse. PUT HIM BACK NOW.”

I tried to explain that he’s a fun, silly mouse, he won’t hurt us, he’s PRETEND. Adam refused to look at the stage for the remainder of dinner. After we ate, we were able to distract him with games, but he made it VERY clear that he wanted nothing to do with “that mouse.” We tried to put him on a ride with Greta, and once he noticed good ol’ Chuck hanging out in the backseat, he lost it. (Refer to photo #1.)

Lately, though, he’s become obsessed with looking at pictures of Chuck E. Cheese online, so that is now our new nightly ritual. When he sees the photos, he announces, “That mouse is silly!” It’s like he’s reassuring himself that Mr. Cheese won’t rip his face off. I have to skip the photo of the giant mouse doing a line of coke, though. That one isn’t very family-friendly.

Jodi, Holly, me, Aaron, & Adam after finishing the 10K Bellin Run in Green Bay.
Lilly, Quinn & Adam at the Bellin Run after-party over at Holly and Kevin's. Adam was in his element.

Adam's first time kayaking (we were in Crivitz, Wis.). The deepest part of the river was waist-high, and there was hardly a current, so we felt safe taking him out on the river. He liked it, too!

We drove to Green Bay in early June and successfully finished the Bellin Run 10K race. (Six miles!) The race took place on a beautiful June morning and 16,000 participants signed up to run or walk it. I guess the Bellin is one of the largest 10K races in the world. In order to accommodate so many runners/walkers, we were grouped into one of seven waves. The first wave was competitive runners, and then you were classified by your estimated mile time, with five minutes between each wave. The sixth wave was for those walking the course, and the seventh wave—the one where we landed—was for strollers. We had to wait nearly an hour to even start the race, and then we had to weave around a never-ending sea of walkers for FOUR MILES before we were finally next to other runners. It was very draining. (Why didn’t they put those with jogging strollers ahead of the walkers? Does that make any sense at all?) But we still managed to finish in a little over an hour, and I only walked once for about 15 paces in order to drink some water without it splashing down the front of my shirt. Have you ever tried to drink water from a Dixie cup while trodding along? It takes talent that I clearly don’t have.

The after-party at Holly & Kevin’s house was a blast (mmm margaritas! ladder golf! a bouncy house for the little ones!), we had the opportunity to visit with college buddies Julie & fam, Kay & fam, and Sara & Jon (and check out the lovely little Green Bay Zoo), and we even drove up to Crivitz, Wis. one night to stay at Holly & Kev’s cabin. They took us kayaking down a river (Adam’s first time kayaking!), we drank beer by a bonfire, then we became voyeurs as some people across the lake shot a movie. (Horror? Porn? We had the binoculars out and we still couldn’t tell.) All in all, it was a really fun, adventure-packed weekend.

Adam's list of "I don't like its" = caterpillars, Chuck E. Cheese, the vacuum, bouncy houses, and firetrucks. Surprisingly, though, he wasn't scared of the loud "crackerworks."

On the way to my parents’ home in Forest Lake over the Fourth of July, Adam said (quietly) from the backseat “Stuck.” I figured his sippy cup was stuck in the holder or his shoe was coming off or something. Not quite. Aaron had folded a portion of the backseat down in order to get his muskie pole to fit in the Vue and didn’t think twice about the pole resting near Adam’s carseat. Adam, being a curious toddler, got his finger wedged in one of the fishing pole hoops. “STUCK!” he yelled this time, trying to get his little finger free. I turned around in my seat and tried to pull his finger out, and that’s when he started crying. Hard. Actually, it was more of a hysterical scream. His finger wouldn’t budge. I climbed into the backseat and picked up the pole (finger attached) and noticed that his finger was turning purple. I tried gently pulling (more screaming), I tried lubing his finger with lotion to see if it would slip free (it didn’t), I tried tilting the pole upward to get the blood flowing into his finger again, rationalizing that it was probably swollen because the circulation was restricted, so if I could just redirect the blood flow the finger wouldn’t be as puffy. During this ordeal, Adam was crying at the top of his lungs, I was trying to console him and feeling totally helpless in my efforts to make him feel better, and in the way back of my mind I was hoping we wouldn’t have to go to the ER with our son attached to a fishing pole. Just when I thought I couldn’t stand another agonizing scream, his finger popped free. I rubbed it until it returned to a normal color and kissed his tears away and hoped that he wouldn’t be scared of fishing poles because of that incident.

After a rocky start, though, the rest of the weekend was a lot of fun. Aaron and I are fortunate to have a place to go that’s like going to a really nice cabin, only without the drive. We went out on the boat, drank Bud Lite Lime (this beer tastes best on hot summer days), went to a parade, grilled chicken, burgers, and hotdogs, ate corn on the cob, pasta salad, and Special K bars, played bocce ball, went for a long walk, watched the fireworks, and had lunch at The Lakehouse. Sunday came way too fast.

Back to the parade: We were invited to join Aaron’s dad Rick, a fire marshal for the city of Lexington, in his firetruck during the Forest Lake Fourth of July parade. We weren’t sure if Adam would like it, so we told Rick to pick us up about halfway through the parade (just in case). I felt like a little kid at the circus. I’ve never been inside a firetruck OR been part of a parade! Adam, on the other hand, hated every second of it. He sat in the front seat with Aaron and clung to him like a kitten who had just been chased by a Doberman (if he had claws, they would’ve been imbedded in Aaron’s back). He cringed when Rick honked the horn and only relaxed when the ride was over. Much like the Chuck E. Cheese experience, he told Aaron in a quiet voice, “I don’t like this truck.” When the ride was over and we set him down on solid ground, the poor little guy was shaking like a leaf. His cousin Morgan, however, loved every minute of it and waved out the window during the entire parade. (I think she’s either practicing to be a pageant queen or a politician.)

In other news: Ever since we taught Adam the whole clinking-of-the-glasses “Cheers!” thing, he wants to do it ALL THE TIME. Not just when we’re eating, either. The last time we had a “cheers” moment we were brushing our teeth. When he proclaimed “Cheers!” and came at me with his tiny Elmo toothbrush, it took me a minute to realize that he wanted us to clink our toothbrushes together. Crazy kid.

One of my dear friends recently told me he’s in treatment for Oxycontin abuse and had been using for 2.5 years. I had no idea. It makes me think of this quote: “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting their own battle.” I am so grateful that a friend of his confronted him and urged him to seek treatment.

For some reason, 2009 has become the Year of Moving out of State for many of my friends. First AJ & John moved the whole family to NY (he was promoted at General Mills), my friends Christine & Pat are moving to Grant Park in Chicago in two weeks (a new job for Pat), my book club/kickball buddy Katie is moving to NYC at the beginning of August (her office moved to NY), my coworker Julie is moving to NYC mid-August (she’s 23, single, and looking for adventure), my friend Kylie is moving to Boston at the end of August (her fiancĂ©, the editor of the magazine where I work, accepted a job there), and my cousin Sara is most likely moving to California in early fall (job change/love interest). PEOPLE, STOP MOVING AWAY FROM ME!!!!

On the plus side, I now have lots of cool places to visit!

Megan, Christine, and I at Christine's wedding. Jan. 2009. (Christine is moving to Chi-town.)

My good friend Amy with my dear cousin Sara and kickball buddy Katie. Sara is moving to Cali and Katie is heading out to the Big Apple. (Fortunately, Amy isn't going anywhere!)
My friends Kylie & Andy are moving to Boston. We're sad that they're leaving but can't wait to visit them in Beantown!

A quote I like: “People are always talking about the good old days. I wonder, why don't we talk about the good now days instead?”