Roundabout Field Trip

Gwen’s preschool had a field trip today to a place called Ferry Beach. We were surprisingly kind of organized for an outing scheduled at nine o’clock in the morning. I’d packed up the beach toys, towels, a change of clothes for each girl, bug spray, sunblock, yadda yadda… it was all good, except that the woman who can drive around Manhattan with no real issues – the same woman who figured out that crazy maze of streets in downtown Boston, couldn’t find her way to a state park in southern Maine. In case you wondered, I’m talking about me.

In my defense, Mapquest told me where to go “at the second roundabout.” Well, the second roundabout never materialized and, thanks to the fact that Grandma and I were yapping away in the front seat, we missed the road that we were supposed to turn onto at the roundabout that doesn’t exist. Fast forward 20 minutes and we rolled into some town I’d never heard of. We were nowhere near a beach though, we did happen to pass a sign for Lake Bunganut which resulted in a thoroughly immature series of fictitiously named lakes such as, Lake Bunghole…home of Camp Dingleberry, etc.

We turned around and made our way back toward that invisible roundabout but since we were now thirty minutes late for the state park and not really feeling it anymore, I came up with another plan. The morning’s thick fog was still burning off and Kate was passed out in her car seat after a few minutes of intense finger sucking. I looked in the rearview mirror and watched my little Gwennie’s sullen face. It was clear that I’d disappointed her with my failure to find the roundabout. I saw that she was trying to maintain a strong front, but her little mouth always reveals her true emotion. Her lips had settled into a straight line, erasing that happy upward curve that they normally wear. She met my gaze and, for my benefit, feigned a smile that didn’t reach her eyes. Suddenly, I was the world’s worst mother.

Hey Cookie, why don’t we have a special day out?

Like what?

Why don’t we go take a ride on that train you’ve been looking at in the mall?

Personally, I don’t get the attraction but she’s been begging for weeks.

OKAY!

On our way back toward the Maine Mall, we spotted a place I’ve been wanting to explore. It’s full of architectural salvage and, frankly, resembles a glorified junkyard. Grandma and I were intrigued. Gwen was intrigued. We banged a Uie and hit that glorified junkyard hard. Have you ever watched American Pickers? It was kind of like that. We picked and rummaged and explored and Gwen was into it. Really. She found a giant life-sized Bugs Bunny, a decapitated mannequin head, two vintage gumball machines, a fantastic chair and a soapstone sink.

Right about now you’re probably thinking, what a terrible mother! She missed the field trip and brought the kid to a junk yard? Yeah. I did.

I also drove her to Snip-It’s, the Disney World of children’s hair salons  (in case you didn’t know), where three inches were trimmed from her long hair as she watched cartoons, blew bubbles and snarfed down copious amounts of Dum-Dum Pops.

Then we went for a ride around the mall on a motorized choo-choo train. That’s right. I drove to the Maine Mall and hunted down a parking space for the sole purpose of walking inside to pay $6 for a ride down the main corridor of the mall. Like a giant goofball I stuffed myself into a bright yellow train car and was pulled around the mall with Gwen and her beaming smile. Teenage girls laughed at me but I didn’t care. Cookie sat on the seat across from me and, with our our knees touching, she held my hand. She told me that I was the best mommy in the world and, with that declaration, she bought herself a pre-lunch Boston Cream donut followed by an afternoon in the sprinkler. Because that’s where the invisible roundabout took us.

Tune in Tokyo!

I know, you’re asking yourself, now why in the world is she posting a lame clip from a truly lame 80’s movie? Well, because today, in an effort to fill the day with fun activities, I jumped into a deep jacuzzi tub with the girls. Or shall I say, my two daughters and I jumped into the tub and Kate discovered my girls?

This toddler seems to show a lot more interest in human anatomy than the other two did. I spent the better part of bath-time being felt up, tweaked, twisted and pinched by a grabby two-year old. As she performed a dual boobie twist, I was reminded of the line, “Tune in Tokyo.”

It all started when I turned the jets on and the bubbles accumulated. Suddenly, Kate became enthralled with a new game called Find the Nipples.

To begin with, I’m not all that modest. I don’t feel the need to cover my girl parts when the kids come crashing into the bathroom. In my past, I had no problems with topless beaches when visiting another country. However, I draw the line at letting a kid use my boobs as another disposable play thing.

A few months ago, I left the television in the kitchen on for background noise. Normally, as soon as The View comes on, I run to turn the channel. I can’t stand the cackling noises that come from that group of women as they vehemently argue about things like Charlie Sheen’s parenting skills or Chris Brown’s violent behavior. Yet, about twice a year, I find myself sucked in to their weird conversations, like the time Elizabeth Hasselbeck described peeing in a diaper while stuck in traffic.

On one particular show this winter, that bunch of cackling hens clucked about bath time with their children. Barbara piped in and explained how, when her daughter was little, they “bonded” during their communal baths. I thought, huh…I do that, but I never looked at it as a bonding opportunity. More like, I’d love to take a Jacuzzi tub but the minute I run the water, the kids come running as if candy is dripping from the faucet. I say if you can’t beat them, let them hop in.

Gwen never showed any real fascination with my boobs beyond complimenting me on their size. Apparently, in Gwen’s mind, my boobs are GINORMOUS, which is funny because I can buy training bras in the kid’s section at Target or, in the alternative, skip the bra altogether. Gwen never grabbed a boob.

Kate digs boobs. Kate likes to play Radio Operator with my boobs. She’ll stop at nothing to locate boobs. Nothing can dissuade her from her bizarre infatuation and, wearing a look of intense determination; she forages through the bubbles until she finds them, and then squeals with delight, as if she has uncovered the lost ark of the Covenant.

So on this lovely Thursday morning, I endured precisely 15 minutes of Tune in Tokyo before I finally called it quits. I left Kate and Gwen to enjoy what was to have been my warm, relaxing bubble-filled Jacuzzi tub. Within minutes, I heard Gwen yell, “Kate! Stop pinching my boobies!”

I couldn’t help but wonder how Barbara Walters handled getting felt up by her daughter.

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