Sunday, January 23, 2011

Chasing Yeti, catching Calder

It's 8.50 at night and 3B's still awake. He's been in bed for 50 minutes, but he's still awake. Recently he's been putting up huge resistance at bedtime, insisting that we leave his lights on and that someone stays in the room with him all night and so forth. We've compromised on leaving the Christmas lights on in his room and maybe going back in after 10 minutes to give him another kiss.

He's compromised by staying awake as long as he's possibly can by sitting bolt upright, talking to himself and squirming all around his bed until he collapses.

I swear that we should replace our entire diplomatic negotiation corps with four-year-olds. The U.S. would get everything it ever wanted and then some from anyone it was in talks with in under a week. Seriously, who other than a parent could withstand the relentless negotiating, pressure and compromising?

It doesn't help Mama and I that we're both working on 16 months of total sleep deprivation. Being Jewel's parents, and having her sleep--I use the term loosely--in our room, has been like working rotating shifts with a

But just because we're tired doesn't mean that the kids are. So yesterday I took 3B out to a playground. After stepping outside to check the weather, Mama came back inside, snapped the icicle off her nose, and declared that we'd be the only ones at the playground. Sure enough we were, and sure enough it was too damn cold to play, but 3B and I ended up running around for awhile, alternately chasing and being chased by Yeti.

I learned that Yeti cannot get to you if you stand on the roof of the toy boat in the playground. Who knew?

When the novelty of that wore off, we headed down the old railroad tunnel next to the playground. That sounds sketchy until you realize that it was long ago converted to a paved trail. It was fun to find ice in what 3B declared was a tomb--as he does in any underground space--and to walk along the canyon wall.

And about that canyon--having heard the word in Scooby Doo and the Monster of Mexico, 3B asked me as we were driving to the playground what one is. Simple words like that are sometimes the hardest to explain, but I went with, "A hole is round, but a canyon is a deep place, like a hole, but it goes in a straight line." That was good enough that when we came out of the far side of the tunnel, where the trail is well below ground level, 3B declared, "We're in a canyon!"

That realization made the tunnel all that much better, because now it was a tunnel and a canyon. It's the little things.

Speaking of little things, I'd like to point out to the Safeway at the end of the tunnel, that a little toilet paper and a little soap in your bathroom would mean a lot to this dad, even if it's a few days late now.

Then it was back through the tunnel, running from the Yeti, even if we were seemingly running toward the sound of the Yeti, which was the sound of planes on approach to National Airport over the Wilson Bridge. Having safely escaped the Yeti for an hour, we retired to Starbucks to reward ourselves with some treats. Well, one of us got treats, since 3B stole half of my bagel--at first to warm himself by holding it, and then to fill his belly by eating it.

Good thing he's cute.

Then we were home and it was time to play, watch a movie, take a bath, read some stories and go to bed...who knows what the kids did while I was doing that. Hope they had a good night too.

Today, we headed into the National Gallery, where we were meeting 3B's best friend from his former preschool for a program on Calder that included a story, an investigation and the supplies to make his own mobile. It was wonderful.

For those of you who aren't parents, this means that there was some fighting, acting out, whining and tantrums. But it also means that the kids were awestruck, amazed and lovely to each other, spontaneously hugging and holding hands as they walked along. So cute it makes my heart ache just writing about it.

Jewel in particular, who had never been in the East Wing of the National Gallery, with the massive Calder mobile in the atrium, was delighted by almost everything. She spent her first fifteen minutes wandering the wide open floors with her face pointed straight up, mouth wide open in a smile.

She loved the mobiles, the massive color blocks of Rothko, the splattered Jackson Pollock...until it was about half a second past lunch time and we walked past Thiebaud's Cakes, which set off a squawking, squirming meltdown that made Jewel as easy to carry as a pillowcase filled with a caterwauling cougar and a rabid pit bull.

I handed her off to Mama for a trip to the cafeteria while I escorted 3B through the last part of the program, including the making of his mobile, which is now hanging in our window.

After that, we joined Mama and Jewel for a snack, a romp around the glass pyramids by the fountains at the top of the cascade that tumbles down to the cafeteria, and a frozen walk across the tundra that is the National Mall to the car. Then we dropped off our old Exersaucer--yeah, we're doing that now--despite the fact that we have a four-year-old whose bedtimes are harder than a toddler's and a toddler who still throws tantrums like a...well, OK, like a toddler.

But, given the size of the renovated phone booth that we live in, we don't have time to keep memorabilia around--especially memorabilia that's the size of a Volkswagen. Of course, we were lucky that 3B was asleep by the time we got to Mama's colleague's house to make the drop off, because he hates to give anything away--unfortunately, I can't claim that's Mama's side of the family.

And after an eventful weekend, I was too tired to negotiate with Danny Roman.

Papa Bradstein is in...are you?

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1 comment:

  1. Amazing how they can be fighting and loving at the same time. I know what you are talking about there. I will still sit back and just watch, until someone gets hurt, and then I leave the room.