"Oh, maybe later, after we straighten up a little," I sighed, sitting at the kitchen table and holding both girls on my lap while looking around at the remains of breakfast on the table, the dishes in the sink, the books and toys already scattered around the family room floor.
"No, don't worry about that, leave it all," Justin insisted, "just pack up take them to the park."
Easier said than done, thought I. The baby's morning nap would come due in an hour and a half, which was, I figured, just about how long it would take us to get the girls corralled, washed, dressed, combed, sun-screened, snacks fixed and diaper bag packed with all the necessities required for a morning outing with a baby and a toddler.
"Don't worry about the nap, don't worry about cleaning them up, just go," Justin persisted.
As Justin prepared to leave baby Sienna reached for him and wailed with separation anxiety and Makaila sniffled that her tummy hurt. I figured they were already missing their mom, who'd left early that morning on a flight to Boston for a friend's wedding. It's Maria's first time away from the girls and she'll be away until late Sunday night.
"I think Makaila might be getting sick," I said, rubbing her hurting tummy for her while Tom bounced crying Sienna.
"Just go to the park," Justin said on his way out the door, "and everyone will feel better".
I looked at the child-induced chaos around us. "Let's go to the park," I said to Tom.
So we did.
And Justin was right. Out playing and running around the park in the warm, beautiful sunny morning air Sienna cheered up, Makaila's tummy ache went away and we all did, in fact, feel better.
Things I Learned From Polliwog Park:
2. Never mind linoleum, ceramic tile or hardwood. What I want under my feet in my kitchen and hallway is a floor made of ground-up tires. And it comes in such nice colors!
3. That babies are so small that they lack the necessary ballast to slide down a sliding board. The just sort of stick there until you slide them down.
4. That at the play ground, as in most collective situations, socializing trumps toys and the bottom of the slide is as good a place as any to make a new friend.
5. Abandon hope of ever leaving, all ye parents who enter the swing area with your kids.