Wednesday, July 20, 2011
What Could Be Better Than This?
Ayla rides the firetruck
I was feeling really brave on Friday night and took the girls to Longmont's Downtown Artwalk.
There really are no words for how proud I was of myself or how absolutely smug I was about it. I guess there is a tragic phenomena out there of dads who won't take care of their own damn kids by their lonesome for more than thirty minutes. Their wives go months without a coffee date or a good long six hour internet browsing sesh. Truly, no one should be deprived of these things. No woman should be forced to go more than a week without relaxing into a good old fashioned "Jensen Ackles" google image search. I judge these men harshly even though I shouldn't because I am one of them. In our house, it's the mister who takes the kids on all the outings--to Elitch's, to the pool, to see Tangled or Rio or whatever, and down to the Fidelity Fiduciary to visit Mr. Banks. (Feed the birds, baby.)
So on Friday night, when Mr. V had to go to work, I nearly called it off in favor of my go-to parenting strategy, which is called "Mommies need wine and children need Rugrats or whatever the hell else they click on on Netflix and no that isn't for kids,honey, most of manga is animated porn."
But I didn't.
And boy, was I glad I didn't, once I got there. We headed for gelato first because in this house we have our priorities straight. I handed Ayla the camera and told her to take pictures of whatever she liked. She was thrilled. She snapped some pictures of the gelato that were rather good, and also a picture of me eating the gelato which will never see the light of day. The camera adds a second head growing out of your belly, right?
picture by Ayla
picture by Ayla
There was a booth for god knows what, a chiropractor or mad scientist, or something, and they had a model of bones out on display. Predictably, Ayla wanted to see the bones. The mad scientists were tickled by the skinny mini photog all enamored of anatomy, and delightedly--and then bemusedly--and then with forced and terse politeness--held the model up while Ayla took twenty minutes to set up her shot.
I couldn't take any pictures of Ayla taking the pictures, but I wish I could have because she looked so great. A skinny-shouldered, long-legged six year old with dirt under her nails and smudged across her pale cheek. On her back is the blue backpack she insisted bringing, slung around her neck is the red canvas Trader Joe's bag that I swore ten times I wouldn't carry for her and ended up carrying the rest of the night. Later I would find in it: a long length of twine, a ziploc baggy full of bottlecaps, a pair of scissors, a Mead notebook and one of my pens, a model horse, a woven bracelet, a stuffed teddy bear, a bag of chips, and a framed picture of her cousin Eisley.She is slight and maybe awkward but has forgotten herself in her fierce concentration. Her green eyes are focused, she cocks one stork leg, she carries her tension around her mouth like her mother.
After the bones booth we hit the art booths for the kids, and Ayla entered a state of bliss. She lost herself stamping and inking, pasting and painting. Indy played along for a while but we were only about one booth in when she started demanding balloon animals. Other kids had been spotted with them. Ayla had gone nearly ecstatic and could not be lured away from creating, even from the booth where they gave the kids a bunch of mark-down dollar store stickers and told them to put them on paper and call it a book mark. Ayla shredded the stickers and played with patterns.
Indy began to yell, "Now can get get my STUPIT balloon!" (That's how she pronounces it.)
"Ayla wants to see the art galleries."
"I want to get a STUPIT balloon!"
"Hey, Indy, let's take a ride on the firetruck!"
"I SAID, I want my STUPIT--ok."
We rode a firetruck. We waited in line for forty minutes for a balloon that I was calling a lot worse than "stupid" in my head. Indy asked for a flower. Ayla requested the alien. It had a funny alien face and came with a clear balloon for a space helmet. The girls were joyous. Giddy. "Are you glad we got your stupit balloon?" I asked Indy.
"Mom," she scolded. "It's not stupit!"
Not five minutes later, Ayla, who will by then be in the state known as 'bouncing off the walls' and not listening to me, will brush the alien's space helmet against the brick exterior of the library, pop the helmet, and burst into bitter tears. In her grief, she will excoriate both the day and the balloon as 'the dumbest ever'. She will ask the age old questions: why, why now, why her balloon and not Indy's. She will feel the terrible regret of 'if only'.
But for those four minutes, after art and gelato, after firetrucks and balloon aliens, before the bursting--man, was I one smug mother.
And don't worry, Ayla recovered. We put on Narnia and she climbed across the couch to reach me. She kissed me on the lips. "That was really fun," she said quietly.
"Funner than watching me browse the internet?"
Ayla makes her alien face
Indy makes her alien face. Just kidding, Indy.