On our trip to my parents' house over Christmas break, we went to The Indianapolis Children's Museum compliments of my sister. That was an awesome Christmas gift! The Children's Museum has five floors of hands on fun with some education thrown in. In the science room, there was an exhibit that showed underground animals and their habitat. You could crawl through two different tunnels with a slide to go down at the end.
I, of course, had to go through.
Parenting has its positives and negatives. One negative might be that you endure the Children's Museum during the busiest week of the year. Which means, you can't pivot in place without bumping into someone or knocking some poor kid over. There are long lines and wall to wall whining and crying all around you. That's just the parents, some of the kids cried as well. The positive is that kids give you an excuse to act like a kid. It is socially acceptable.
So, I wanted to go through the tunnels and down the slides. The first one was easy. When Bruiser got in line, I simply got in line behind him and followed him. Simple and easy. I got to see the spiders, moles, and random kids hiding from their parents. Then down the slide and, viola, childhood revisited.
The second one was easy also. Sweet Pea jumped in line and I followed her on in. There was a ladder to climb at the very beginning and I was so proud. About four kids fit on that ladder at a time so it was slow going. Sweet Pea just went up like a pro, being patient and waiting her turn. We got to the top and rounded the corner.
That is when it happened. When Sweet Pea lost her nerve.
It was then that I turned into psycho dad who was determined to press on. After all, there were six kids in very tight quarters on the ladder behind us. I am slightly wider than the average adult and a heck of a lot wider than the average six year old, so I can't turn around. It was like I was in some one's GI track. There was only one way to go and if I went the other way it was going to be messy.
My boys are different. If they get into a scary situation, I can tell them it is O.K. They just trust me. They might be nervous, but they know that I won't let them die. Sweet Pea is pretty sure that being pushed to do something she does not want to do is worse than death.
Sweet Pea turned and indicated that she wanted to stay and look at that window displaying some underground critter back there. Translation: I ain't going any further.
I said no, we have to keep going.
That is when it happened.
The first blood curling scream.
No big deal. I hear that scream daily when one of her big brothers does something to annoy her. We are in a tunnel and there is a lot of noise out there, so we will just forge on and nobody will notice. So we keep going. Then another scream and panicked attempt to squeeze past me the other way.
First of all, ain't nothing getting past me. I had the space maxed out. So I just picked her up and held her awkwardly in front of me while crawling on one arm and two knees. Now, we get to the slide and there is no way for me to turn around to go feet first with her secure in my lap. I have to go head first. She is screaming bloody murder.
And, I mean screaming. I am about to die, who is this strange man who is accosting me inside this tunnel kind of screams.
I start my descent and realize I have Sweat Pea going head first as well. So, I do the open scissors move with my legs and turn Sweat Pea around. She is still screaming. It is echoing and getting amplified by the tunnel. Kids behind me are trying to go down the slide and piling up behind me and kicking me so I go down. They might have been trying to save Sweet Pea from the kidnapper or they might have been enacting some playground justice for backing up the tunnel. Either way, it didn't hurt. Those punks are going to have to learn either how or where to kick if they are going to get me going down that slide any faster.
We finally get situated and slid down. By this time there is a crowd of mothers with fight or flight looking in horror as I emerge from the tunneled slide. Sweet Pea runs to Mrs. Nurse Boy who is laughing hysterically, while I am head first and on my back flopping around like a fish out of water trying to get off the slide. The mothers looked very angry. I am surprised I did not get hit by a couple of diaper bags or fanny packs. Once I got to my feet, I did not make eye contact with anyone and did my best to blend in.
Which was tough because my face was a deep shade of red.Any nominations for father of the year?
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