Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting out with the kiddlez

Now that spring is here I've been getting out on my own a lot more.  And by "on my own," I mean with various cohorts of my offspring, of course.  There are several ways to group our kids - the bigs and the littles, the "brackets" and the middles, the evens and the odds (or the Teej-models and the Woog-models since Zeb is relatively Eli-ish and Opal is definitely Wolf-like), and of course the boys and the baby girl.  There are also various reasons for breaking them up and taking them out in the aforementioned groups - bigs are easiest for one parent to take into public for medium-length errands (like going to stores other than the grocery store when you pretty much know what you need or doing something big-centric like haircuts or shoe shopping); middles are the best to send off somewhere when we want to/need to do something without kids interrupting;  any group not including Zeb is the easiest in the car.  Of course I've taken just the baby out plenty by myself, at first mostly just to the doctor or whatever, but lately I've been taking her to the grocery store and out to get food as well.  As long as you maintain eye contact at least half the time, she's cool.

Before this week I hadn't done much with just the littles, though, beyond driving home from dropping off Wolfie at school in the morning.  But seeing as how it's going to be just me and the littles at home for most of the day during the week for a good long while since Zeb is still a long way off from preschool, I know I've got to start learning how to get out and get stuff done with the two of them.  I mean, I know I can do it.  I used to go out with Eli and Wolfie all the time when Wolfie was a baby, and Wolfie and Zeb when Zeb was a baby, too.  But Zeb is only two years and one month older than Opal, so it's a little harder than it was with three years apart Wolfie and baby Zeb.  And while Eli and Wolfie were only two and a half years apart, I didn't start going out by myself with the two of them until Wolfie was close to six months old and Eli was three since before that we were living in Florida where not only did Nic work way close to home so he was home every day at quarter after four and ate lunch at the apartment with me, we didn't even have a second car so I had to wait for Nic to be home to go anywhere, and then you might as well go together. 

Anyway, point is this time it's a little harder and taking me a little longer.  But Monday I took Zeb and Opal out on an errand by myself for the first time.  We went to Target, mostly because we needed beans and they're the only ones that carry black beans in the organic BPA-free paranoia brand that I like, but also because it's fun to wander around and I don't think it's possible to not get a bunch of stuff you weren't planning on getting whenever you go there.  I got a small bunch of clothes for Opal and Zeb despite saying I'd go through everybody's drawers and weed out the outgrown crap so I'd know what everyone needed before doing that.  Opal definitely needs stuff since for some reason even though she's right around the 50th% for size, the month-based sizing in baby clothes is notoriously not grounded in reality.  Both littles were surprisingly good.  Other than Zeb getting his finger tied into his twirling knot at the back of his head again, it was a great success.

The next day I took the littles on a walk by myself.  I'd done this once before, with Zeb in the crust-Maclaren and Opal strapped to my chest in the Bjorn, and that was quite an aerobics session.  It was unseasonaby warm and gorgeous earlier this week (way to go straight from winter to summer again, Philadelphia region), so this time instead of breaking my back with the Bjorn, I decided to take the Bugaboo plus skateboard on a solo mission.  I was worried about Zeb trying to make a break for it, but he held on the whole time.  Maybe it was just too hot to run away. 

A few days before that, last Sunday actually, I took the bigs shoe shopping since their shoes are all shot.  I'm not a fan of the predominately white/gray boy sneaker with lots of complicated piping ugliness that you find at most stores.  We favor bold crazy shoes (gosh I wish they still sold those jellybean Vans we got twice a few years ago) or traditional brand man shoes (like Timberlands or Sperry Topsiders) for boys, both categories found at Journeyz Kidz. 

One of my all-time favorite Wolfie pics, featuring the jellybean shoes
The salesman was a young guy, very "The Situation"esque but without that weird weathered Robert DeNiro thing The Sitch has going on.  He was impressed with our willingness to walk on the wild side, or at least acted that way, which was nice.  I remember when we bought Wolfie's rainbow leopard vans last year, the salesgirl seemed hesitant to let me buy them.  But this guy got it, he actually read my mind from before and said it was like Redfoo style from LMFAO.  Not that I'm trying to have my kids emulate that, but it's just an example of ridiculous male rainbow peacockery being stylish.  So take that, salesgirl from last year whose opinion I'm only guessing.  Anyway, Eli got some crazy colorful skate shoes (thankfully the styles are deflating again after a few years of most of the stock looking like pumped up clown shoes) and Wolfie got blue zebra vans, which I'm semi-regretting since they tend to get beat-up looking fast, but they don't fall apart that fast and anyway it's almost summer and he'll get new shoes in the fall.
On the way home, we were treated to a rare and always hilarious site - a clown in full costume and makeup driving the car next to us at a stoplight.  Actually, I was able to deduce the clown's identity based on her vanity plate, which I thought sounded familiar, and I looked her up online.  It's Judy Tudy, the "Mommy Clown!"  Whatever the hell that means.

My suspicions were right - she's been around since I was a kid.  Stuff like "Mommy Clowns" and other incredibly dorky toddler-centric stuff is exactly the kind of thing that made me laugh with derision as a kid, so I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that the bigs love to teasingly laugh at Zeb's toddlerhood so much.  Poor Zeb, I'm glad at least he's a pleasant-natured gigantor.

Today it's back to being cold and drizzly, appropriate for mid-April.  I kept Woog home from preschool for no reason since it had been quite a while since I'd done that, and he and Zeb have been keeping each other busy.  Wolfie has rediscovered the Waldo books he loved during last summer's travels, and they both watched The Little Mermaid while I used the time during Opal's longest non-Mommy-attached nap ever to write this and start writing the long-procrastinated birth story for Miss Four Months Old Today. 


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