Thursday, May 3, 2007

Rainy Day Adventures

Today it rained. Yesterday it rained. And on Tuesday it rained. It's been a long week for my rambunctous one. He's used to spending at least an hour - usually two or three - every day in the backyard. But, when it rains this consistently, our backyard becomes Bookworm Swamp. We need French drains back there, but we haven't gotten to that yet.

So, Tuesday we did our regular Bible study, pizza, friends-over Tuesday thing. That worked well because it was the first day of rain and the yard wasn't already saturated, so #2 and his BuddyJ spent about an hour and a half outside between morning showers and evening thunderstorms.

Wednesday, we got up to the sound of rain and spent the day at Gram's house for a change of pace and to accomplish a few errands on her side of town.

Today, when he saw the rain and the swampy puddles in his beloved backyard, #2 just about cried. I think he'd been praying for the sun to come out. I had to think of something because he just couldn't be an indoor boy for another day.

And yet, I didn't want to be a wet mommy with a wet toddler and my maternity shirt glued to my belly, so I had to think hard.

I thought of (or the Holy Spirit brought to mind) Pump it Up. I called to see if there was a pop-in-playtime this morning, and then I got us dressed and out of here in record time.

#2 had a blast - he was the largest child there - not the oldest, but the largest - and he was well-behaved and bounced to his heart's content for 90 minutes. He was kind to others, took turns appropriately, and was a delight to me and to the employees of Pump it Up. (I'm not bragging - this was nothing I did - totally a God thing. We've worked hard on behavior, but this was exceptional and a total kiss from God for me.)

#3 met disappointment at every turn. He was the littlest guy there. He was really too little to participate and too big to sit quietly in his stroller and watch the big kids. After about 20 minutes in his stroller, he signed "Down" with a very serious look on his face. I got him out and we walked around.
An employee brought him a ball to play with, and he was thrilled. Until he dropped it, and a little girl grabbed it and started playing "Keep away from the baby" with it.
We noticed that one of the bouncers was empty, and so I took him in it. He liked it - didn't love it, but he liked it - until five three-year-olds came streaming in the hatch screaming at the tops of their lungs and knocked him down.
We went out and walked around some more. The ball had disappeared.
An employee brought in one of those Little Tikes cars that have a door on them and are operated by walking your feet. His eyes lit up. The employee pushed it gently in #3's direction, and #3 was walking towards it when a four-year-old came tearing over and got in it (knees up to his chin) and drove it off. #3 sat down and cried.
I spied the ball in a corner and got it back for him, and he was happy for a bit - until a big kid took it away again.
And then the car was empty and #3 was going for it as fast as he could when THAT SAME KID ran for it, hopped it, and tried to run #3 over - I snatched him out of the way just in time.

Know what was sad? All the parents of these children who were intentionally and repeatedly stealing toys from a baby were right there in the room. They were all watching their kids from the sidelines and talking with other moms. And not one word was said to the kids - even when the girls were playing keep away from the baby and taunting him (not that that lasted long - I rescued him before he got really upset - actually, I was no more than 5 feet from him the whole time we were there). I was just shocked that the kids were so mean to a little guy - and more shocked that the parents did nothing about it because #2 would have found himself in timeout faster than you could blink.

Even the parent or nanny of the boy who was hogging the car didn't say a word to him until he had been sitting in the car with his knees up to his chin bending the axels down to the carpet for 45 minutes. #3 was, at that point, standing and wishfully looking at the car, and the lady went over to the big boy and asked him to get out and go jump. He screamed "NO!" at her and she backed off. A few minutes later, she asked again, and tried to pull him out (gently) of the car, and he threw himself on the floor kicking and screaming - with his feet still inside the car. And then he got up and climbed back in it and stared at #3, who was still just waiting wishfully. The lady didn't say a thing to him. (If that had been #2, we would have left a couple of instances before that - actually, if that had been the kid I used to nanny for, we would have left a couple of instances before that, too.)

#3 never did get a turn in the car. He had some fun with the ball. He had a couple of other trips into empty or nearly empty bouncers. He wasn't miserable, but he kept looking wishfully at that car. That big kid was still sitting in it when the session ended - just sitting and looking defiant. We put #2's tennis shoes back on him and left (no whining from #2 - a true miracle). #3 fell asleep in the car.

The rest of the day was fun but not too eventful. Gram popped in for some crafty fun during #3's afternoon nap. I did some cleaning while they created. And I created a bit too. :) Then I stretched out on the couch for a bit while #2 watched PBS Kids from Gram's lap and #3 played on the living room floor. Then it was Daddy, dinner, bedtime.

Overall, a good day. :)


Classic MaMa said...

:( I'm so sorry that all those kids were mean to #3. I wish we'd have been there. (Ok that's impossible because we don't know you and we live in PA) Scarlett is such a compassionate thing, she would have played with #3 the whole time. I just don't see how parents could just stand by while their children intentionally hurt other children, but it happens so much. Glad the day ended up okay.

Kathleen aka Coffee Mom said...

It sounds like a fun place to go, rotten kids and their conveniently unaware parents aside!
We've gone a few times to a similar play place and even now that my boys are way too big, they would still love to go back!