Our recent outing to the beach was a family highlight. It was lovely to see the boys exploring the beach but more than that, it was just an easy and relatively stress-free event. As evidenced by the photos I took. As evidenced by the fact that I could take photos at all.
All family outings are joyful on some level.
Ha ha ha ha ha. No.
Yesterday was family day at Chez M-G. The sun was shining, the weather a gorgeous 25 degrees. Not hot. Not cold. Perfect weather for family fun.
And so it was that we headed outside with the boys on their trikes. LD has just mastered the art of pedaling and thus, is always keen to hit the wide open roads to test out his mad skills. Zee is a very accomplished trike rider also although he specialises in the kind that you push along with your feet. And also, he has never been off-road before. By which I mean, on-road seeing as how he normally rides his trike inside the house.
The moment we stepped outside, LD took off at a clip, ignoring repeated requests to slow down, a little deranged clown, knees sticking out to the sides as he pedaled frantically.
Zee tried in vain to keep up but his shoes kept catching on the road making it impossible for him to really go anywhere, let alone anywhere fast. We thought about letting him ride sans shoes as he normally does at home but B and I quickly agreed that we liked his feet with skin.
At this point, B picked up the trike with Zee still on it and we hurried after the deranged clown who was by now at least a kilometre in front.
We had been outside for no more than three minutes.
As we made our way along the path that runs behind our house and heads into town, I noticed that 25 degrees was feeling less like perfect weather and more like the oppressive heat you’d expect while walking through the desert. I was dressed in head to toe black in keeping with my “I’m so fat, I need to camouflage” which meant that I was absorbing the sun like the ShamWow absorbs a spilt Coke.
We were at least seven minutes into the family fun. Family fun. Two little words. And yet one was conspicuous by its absence.
B had run ahead to catch up with the pedaling crazy and I wandered behind a toddling Zee, a plastic trike slung nonchalantly over my shoulder. It was pleasant for a minute or two until Zee decided he wanted to head off the beaten track. The thing about a beaten track though is that it’s all smooth, having been beaten or in this case, concreted, and I don’t want to sound all judgmental or anything but Zee doesn’t exactly have the smoothest walking gait. So heading off the path meant negotiating clumps of grass, stones and generally uneven ground. Suffice it to say, he fell about 117 times and yet, if I dared pick him up and set him back on the (right) path, he would veer right back off it again. I was waiting for him to fall directly into a steaming dog shit.
Meanwhile, the sun was cooking me alive. I looked up ahead and saw that B had what looked to be the relatively simple job of following behind LD as he road. With Zee on my hip and the trike over the other shoulder, I ran to catch up so that we could exchange kids. I was over mine.
We all made it to the duck pond and enjoyed a moment there. Just one moment. And then LD was riding again. And riding. And riding. I called to him to stop. B called to him to stop. Zee called out “Daaaaaaaduuuuun” which is pretty much his go-to word for any kind of calling out situation. And still LD road.
Catching up to him once again, I told him he had one more chance. That if he refused to listen one more time, we would be going home.
I gave him five minutes to blow it. He only needed three.
In that time, Zee had tried to walk into the duck pond twenty-three times and was deeply incensed each time B removed him from the edge. I tried to keep the joy out of my voice as I informed the non-listening LD that, as warned, his failure to stop when asked to do so meant that we were now going home. I explained to him about safety and what might happen if he were to become separated from us although I fear the stupid grin on my face may have diluted the seriousness of the message somewhat.
The five minute walk home took at least twenty and when we finally arrived home, I wanted to kiss the floor like a sailor kisses dry land.
Sadly, I have no photos to share. On some subconscious level, I think I sensed it would all go to shit because I looked at the camera as we headed out the door and thought to myself, “Nah.”