Archive for October, 2009

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Aging Grace-lessly

October 21, 2009

I know I’m getting older.  I have accepted it.  When the kids I babysit ask if I’m a teenager, I say no without any sense of regret.  When they then ask if I’m a “grown-up,” I grudgingly admit “Technically, yes.  That’s what they tell me anyways.”  But I did not realize just how much my body was truly disintegrating until I went to that land that smells of sunscreen, awkward teenage opposite-sex interaction, and more pee than you care to consider. That’s right: the water park.

I’d been hankering to go to a water park since last summer, so when Liz suggested this summer that I come visit her in San Diego and we could go to Knott’s, I jumped at the chance.  I love water parks. They have all the fun and rush of roller coasters, but none of the brain jarring shaking, plus you stay cool and get a nice tan. You can’t lose!  Liz and I prepped with all the necessary fixings and headed out for what was sure to be an awesome day. And it was… for the most part.  We tried all the different colored body tube slides that land in the same pool, went several rounds on the funnel slide, looped through the lazy river and splashed around the wave pool.  Then we had a lunch of some delicious, fatty amusement park chicken strips and fries, finished with ice cream.  We then noticed that the line for the raft ride that begins at the top of the tallest tower in the park had a really short line.  We knew, this was our shot to get up there.

We began to make our way over to the tower, and I had my eyes on the prize. This was going to be so great, I smiled to myself. Then something disturbed me from my daydream of swirling down the slide.  Something high-pitched and shrill stabbed into my brain via my ear, like a thousand mice on crack.  I turned to the right, and I saw them.  A whole gaggle of junior-high aged girls, angling up another path that converged with ours at the base of the stairs up to the slide. There must have been 15 of them, all with approximately 3% body fat or less. I turned to Liz, who was wide-eyed with fear.  “Run!” I hissed.  “We can’t let them get ahead of us!”

We began to move as quickly as we could, but we were hindered in our efforts by the fact that some brilliant head honcho at Knott’s decided it was a good idea, in a park centered around massive amounts of water, to make all the paths out of the slickest, smoothest cement known to man.  There was also no railing on this portion of path, which left Liz and I to perform that soccer-mom-esque power walk that involves locking your elbows at a 90 degree angle and swinging your hips dramatically side-to-side to give yourself momentum without relying on any traction from the ground.  I kept glancing to the right to check on the gang of skipper dolls, and determined that we were going to beat them to the tower, but only barely.  We reached the stairs, and, clutching at the railings, flung ourselves up the steps.

By flight 3, I was feeling the burn in my thighs. Bad. “Whew! I’m feeling it!” I gasped at Liz. “Don’t stop!” She huffed. “They’ll catch up to us!”  I glanced below and winced. “And if they do they might try and eat us, since their metabolism clearly requires them to eat every five minutes,” I wheezed. “Hurry!”

As I rounded the corner on flight 5, the last of the oxygen left my body.  But we could hear them approaching below us, like the lollipop guild had turned into a lynch mob, and they were coming after us. So we gathered our strength and heaved our bodies, the size of three of the Hannah Montana clones, up towards our goal.

On flight 7 I clutched at Liz’s arm. “Chest pains!” I gasped. “Help me!”  “We’re so close!” She cried, “We can make it!”  I glanced up, seeing the red flash of the lifeguard’s suit as I heard the tinkle of approaching charm bracelets, and strains of a Jonas Brothers’ tune. The fact they had the ability to sing when I was struggling to maintain consciousness did not boost my confidence. But I used the last surge of adrenaline to reach the top.

“Two!” I exhaled with some remaining air, perhaps emitted by my deflating cardiovascular system.  The lifeguard looked at us with some alarm as we leaned on the rails.  I didn’t care. We had won. And as we stepped into our raft, I smiled, either from a sense of pride or because I was having a stroke. I may be old and decrepit, but I had enough lung power to hum the first bars of the Rocky theme, and the victory was only slightly dampened when one of the girls wrinkled her nose and asked her friend “Is that a Selena Gomez song?” to which her friend replied, “No, it sounds like an oldie. You know, like N’Sync?”  It’s alright though. I had the last laugh. At the bottom of the slide, as Liz and I slogged our way out of the pool while they came down the slide screaming at an octave not often heard outside of classical opera, I may have peed in the water they were about to land in. But it’s not my fault. I can’t help it. I’m old.

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Pride comes before a Fall

October 12, 2009

So, I have a new nanny job.  For many reasons, watching Sam was just not working out well (aside, even, from the puking and almost tipping him out of the stroller).  So when the mother of James (8), Molly (3) and Kate (10 months) lost her nanny, I jumped at the chance to switch to a schedule that gave me better hours at my other jobs, and generally made my life less hectic.  Baby Kate and I, you may recall, have a particularly close history. We’re practically blood sisters. But pee-incident aside, they are great kids, and it has been a marvelous first week.

It has been particularly good for my self-esteem.  The very first day I was watching them, while Molly held onto my leg for balance while peeing on a “big-girl” toilet, announced “I love you.”  My heart just melted.  She proceeded to remind me throughout the day, while coloring, or reading a story, or ripping a doll brush through my hair.  The effect was diminished somewhat at the park the next day, when sitting on the bench eating a snack she told me “I love you very much,” and in the same breath told me that she loved the birds.  Keep in mind that these were not cute little sparrows, these were filthy park pigeons and seagulls, rats with wings.  I told her I loved her too, but just felt neutral towards the birds.  Molly is also very generous with the compliments, telling me frequently that I have beautiful make-up, or that she likes my bra.

On Friday the day began with a tantrum of epic proportions, which Molly’s mom instructed her to scream out in her room.  The day went well from there, however, and when she woke up from a nap we looked for a game to play while baby Kate was still asleep.  Molly selected a box of wooden blocks used to make a set of ramps for marbles to run down.  We began building, and it became quickly apparent that I was way more into this building process than Molly.  Don’t get me wrong, she was enjoying herself, but I, I was on a mission.  We were going to build the greatest marble ramp contraption the world had ever known.  Molly is not quite at the phase where she understands the physics of marble ramps, and couldn’t grasp that the ramps must touch, at the same level, for the marble to continue its journey.  I would make gentle suggestions as to where to put blocks, and even let her try her ideas, chuckling in my head as they didn’t work.

I heard baby Kate stirring, so I went and brought her into the room.  Kate is now crawling, scooting around at ferocious speeds with such force that she is callousing the tops of her feet.  This mobility gives her a whole new level of access to things to touch and attempt to eat, which was really great for this activity, since nothing says “Put me in your mouth and choke on me” like a shiny, throat-sized ball of colored glass.  We kept building while I kept one eye on Kate, and construction continued without incident.

Soon I, er, we had built quite the creation, if I do say so myself.  We incorporated a zig-zag ramp, a hanging bell rung by the passing marble, and a death-defying drop through thin air.  It was impressive. I am an engineering genius, I thought, and smiled with self-satisfaction.  Oh, and Molly didn’t ruin it, I guess.  “Isn’t it amazing?!” I asked Molly.  She agreed whole-heartedly.  I suggested we leave it up so that we could show mom and dad what a great thing I, I mean we, had made.  She thought this sounded like a good plan.

Five minutes later as I gazed at my own personal Taj Mahal, Molly announced “Let’s knock it down!”  “What? No! It’s mine! I mean, don’t you want to show mom and and so they can be so proud of you?”  I urged.  Molly was not convinced that this would be more fun than destroying my architectural masterpiece.  “Well, you can knock it down if you want, but I think mom and dad would just like it so much if they got the chance to see it. It’s up to you…” I wheedled as I gazed into her big blue eyes. She smiled.

It’s funny how the sound of wooden blocks crashing into each other sounds exactly like my heart shattering into a million pieces.