Sunday, May 18, 2008

It's a Zoo Here

This Saturday was a bit crazy - at least as far as Jake's schedule was concerned. I mostly chauffered. I know -you seasoned moms are thinking, "she hasn't even started that yet..." True enough.

Jake was invited to two birthday parties in one day. And, we blindly agreed to let him attend both. I shouldn't say blindly. We were completely aware of what the after-effects would be. He would be exhausted and cranky at day's end. We knew this from past experience with Maddie. So we didn't head into it blindly - we just headed into it knowing we would regret this decision.

Birthday party #1 was in Chaska from 11:30am to 1:30pm. At 2:30 our schedule had us attending birthday #2 at the MN Zoo (Apple Valley). Maddie and I picked him up at 1:30 on the dot and proceeded to travel across the southern 'burbs to see their cousins, the monkeys.
All went great through these first hours. Jake loaded up on sugar and energy at birthday #1 and there seemed to be no crash in site. We managed to make it to birthday #2 with 15 minutes to spare. Jake was dropped off, I wished the parents good luck (knowing they'd need it...) and Maddie linked her arm in mine, pulled and said, "Great. Let's go have some girl time." How could I not love that moment? She and I headed on the farm trail to be there by 3pm. We made it in time to watch Dixie the cow being milked. We both agreed that while very informative, it definitely had an interesting smell. I have to be honest though, when I watched the poor cow get hooked up to the sucking machine - I cringed. Memories of attempted breast-feeding my new-born children flew through my mind. Nightmares actually. However, I almost hated her after we watched her for 5 minutes as she pumped out around 4 GALLONS of milk. Less than 5 minutes! In former years it was a momentous experience if I managed to get 4 OUNCES in 30 minutes of my own little pumping machine. So, after this 10 minute exhibition we left and I sneered at the cow and mumbled, "show off" as we walked out.

Maddie and I perused the rest of the farm and power-walked back toward Jake. We stopped at the tiger exhibit. Really, this was the only animal I found interesting. And that was slight. Here is Maddie "with" the tiger.

We got to the birthday crew and the mom was basically shaking her head saying how she was going to have to send me some pictures - insinuating that something had gone on with Jake, but not giving any clues. Knowing that the little girl whose birthday it was is also the same girl Jake has a small crush on flashed through my mind and I looked at my Casinova and said, " weren't putting the moves on anyone, right?" The mom howled and nodded. In Jake's defense the other mom said they find notes around their house written, "I love Jacob". So, after what these lovebirds called hug #350 (literally - that was Jake's words), we left. Maddie and I were ready to head for the car and we really made a good effort. But, two parties and being in a zoo were not going to stop Jake from meltdown #1. He hadn't seen any animals - I offered up the Como at some point during the summer. Not good enough and meltdown commenced. I did see his point - so I said we'd go see the tigers and then leave.

Jake pouted all the way to the tiger lair. Jake's "pout" literally consists of this gigantic pout/grimace accompanied by his arms folded across his chest and small foot stomps. Fun stuff. We got to the tigers and he saw them for 5 seconds and started to walk away to read all the museum stuff. (Right now my dad is grinning ear to ear with pride reading this). Unfortunately that meant Jake missed the tiger walking close-up and also the two tigers getting in a small tussle. Maddie and I were yelling Jake's name to not miss this and he was getting madder because we were interrupting his perusing.

Finally we got him to see the statues of the tigers. He wanted his picture taken with them, but not together with Maddie. This is "happy Jake" getting his way.

Not to be outdone, Maddie climbed on top of the tigers too and posed with her loveliest smile...however, she DID want a picture with Jake.

Tantrum #2. Jake only wanted to take a picture with Maddie if he could sit in front. She, however, was already up there and not moving. In comes my part. I'd already given in to actually seeing the tigers - there was no way I could let him get his way AGAIN just because he resorted to pouting/crying/whining/foot stomping/arms crossed. After 2 minutes of back and forth and me reassuring him repeatedly that despite what he wants, he does not always get his way....he climbed on the rear.

See arms crossed? These so-called smiles are forced, can you tell? I threatened to not take the picture at all if I didn't see some happiness.

Finally we were able to leave - Jake mumbling the whole time about how unfair this whole thing was. I finally got down to his level and said, "Are you kidding me? You've been to two parties, had two pieces of cake, two ice creams, two pops. You've played games and gotten to run around. DROP IT." So, he stopped mumbling, but still walked arms crossed, foot stomps.

Then I heard the plop and the scrape and looked down and Jake had tripped. Not today of all days! He was already at his wits end with patience and fatigue. In comes blood. So, I got him to stand up and assured through his wailing that we'd get it wiped off and I in fact had band-aids with, all would be well again. He literally limped his way to the bathroom and screamed as I wiped off the dirt and applied the bandage. We then headed to the car. The entire time he's crying, gulping air stammering, "I...just...don't...think...I can...get...there." I looked at him and he had his hands on his SHORTS pulling them up to where I could practically see his underwear; all so that his band-aid covered scratch (below his knee) would not get hurt more. We had about 50 feet to go to get to the car and I had all I could do not to scream myself!
We managed to get through the rest of the evening. I think I kissed Jake goodnight at about 7:58. Mike was in there less than 5 minutes later and said Jake was out cold.
That quiet reminded me of this quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson that I have in my scrapbooking stash:
"There never was a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him asleep."


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