We had an adventurous day yesterday (partly by choice, partly not), because we knew Chet would be working until very late (he got home after we were all asleep). So there were hours and hours and hours (and hours) for us to fill, and on days like this, Mama does whatever it takes to fill those hours and therefore avoid going off the deep end.
The first adventure was Lorelei tumbling down the stairs (she's totally fine, so please don't freak out). We were all upstairs, and I was in Ford's room feeding him, but I could still see most of the activity going on in the other rooms. The girls like to throw things down the staircase, even though it's a big no-no, and that's what they were doing, despite me telling them through clenched teeth not to (great listening skills, little ladies!). Well, lo and behold, Mama and Daddy were right: if you play at the top of the stairs and throw things to the lower level, you're bound to fall. Once I ascertained she was perfectly fine, both girls were in trouble for not listening and confined to their room for an unspecified amount of time.
The rest of the morning and early afternoon were fairly tame, but I knew we needed to get out of the house, otherwise the late afternoon and early evening were going to be u-g-l-y. So I packed the kids up and we headed to the park. Not the close park though, because then it's too easy to escape back home. We went to the park near one of the Targets, where the girls love the equipment, and I love that the playground is totally fenced in and I don't feel like I have to have two eyes that are able to move independently of one another in order to watch both of them.
Anyway, we have to parallel park on the street in order to visit this particular park, and cross a busy road, but we got to the correct side of the street without incident and Syd took off running on the jogging trail toward the playground (this was fine). Ford, Lorelei, and I moseyed along a little more slowly, and then I noticed Sydney turning around and running back toward us. She was crying and clutching herself in a way that only means "I need to go potty NOW if I haven't already." There are no bathrooms at this park. Or trees. She went RIGHT before we left the house, so I was concerned that she needed to go #2. Nope, turns out she didn't go before we left the house -- although I told her to and she reported she did.
Me: Why didn't you go to the potty when I told you to, Syd?
Syd: Um, because I wanted to hurry to get to the park and because I didn't want to wash my hands.
Good answer (not).
So we crouched on the grass to pee, but not low enough, because it was all over the pack of her legs when she stood back up.
Me: Sydney, because you didn't potty before we left, now you have tee-tee all over your pants.
Sydney: It's okay, it'll dry.
It took some silent seething while the girls played for me to get over that. As soon as I was over it, I noticed Sydney had climbed a tall rock formation that she is able to scale, but not de-scale, so I had to help her down from that.
(Syd loves climbing too high and trying things that are above her skill level. It sends me over the edge. My rule of thumb is, "If you can't do it by yourself, don't do it." I have a hard time not getting upset at her, because I feel like all it takes is a little common sense not to do things that are above one's skill level. Then I remember she's four.)
After I rescued her from Mount Everest, I sat down on a bench near where Lorelei was playing. Then I noticed Sydney had made it halfway across the monkey bars by herself. She normally asks for help on the monkey bars, and I could tell she was going to need to let go soon (it wasn't, what I would call, a short drop to the ground), so I rushed over to her just as she was starting to get a little freaked out. I'm sure she would have been fine had she dropped to the ground, and in hindsight, I should have let her.
What's the happy medium between telling them they can't do something that's too advanced for them and letting them try? At what point do you start to squash their confidence and sense of adventure? Huh? HUH?!
The rest of the park adventure was fairly uneventful. We left when all three kids were crying: Sydney because she tripped going up the equipment stairs and bumped her knee, Lorelei because she didn't want to get off the swing, and Ford because he had pooped.
Speaking of poop, it was quite a load. It took me at least 15 minutes to get him all cleaned up and buckled into his car seat. 15 minutes is a long time when you're on your third kid, so that's proof of what I was dealing with.
After we were all strapped in, I made the rash decision to go to Georgetown Cupcake. It was 4:15 p.m. and we were about 7 miles away. Traveling between the hours of 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the DC/Northern VA area is a little hairy, but I still had hours to kill, so off we went. (Ford was in desperate need of a nap, and I knew he would sleep in the car, and the girls needed a break after the park, so it was pretty good timing otherwise.)
We made decent time, about 20 minutes, but once I was on M Street, I realized, "Huh, I'm not really sure where to park." (There's not a lot of space for vast parking lots in DC.) Also, I knew there was always a line to get into Georgetown Cupcake, but once I saw it with my own eyes, and looked in the rear view mirror at my three little admirals, I knew there was no way we were completing this adventure. So I announced THIS cupcake shop was closed, I typed "cupcake" into the Google Maps app, and turned toward Old Town Alexandria and their cupcake shop.
Old Town Alexandria might have felt like too big of an adventure on my own with three kids, but compared to the Georgetown area it was downright tame.
I couldn't figure out how to pay for parking, so I decided to just risk and move as fast as possible. I plopped Lorelei in the stroller, carried Ford, and Syd walked. People leaped out of our way. We got our cupcakes and made it back to the car within the half hour, and thankfully did not have a ticket on our windshield.
Nothing screamed "drive through McDonald's cheeseburgers for dinner" like yesterday, so that's what we had...but only after the girls played with the kids next door while I had an actual adult conversation with my neighbors. Lorelei ate an entire container of orange Tic Tacs while I chatted.
We went to bed with all of our limbs and wits (mostly) in tact, so I deem yesterday a success. Here's to Friday (and hoping that Chet makes it home before 10 p.m.)!