Isn't It Fun To Be Outside?
It’s like playing inside, but worse. Billy and Vivi are 1 and almost 3, so they’re both a bit more independent than last summer. Not that I didn’t absolutely treasure the moments of lugging the fucking playpen in and out of the house.
And stop. It’s a playPEN, not a yard. If calling it a yard makes you feel better about using it, then go ahead. But no matter how much organic, non-toxic fabric it’s constructed with and how many dollars you sink into it, it’s still very much a dog crate with no roof. And if you’ve seen the concrete stairs we have in the back, it’s also a literal life saver for the crawling baby with no depth perception
So this year, not one, but two of them will be roaming free! “Oh, they’ll be SO much easier this summer!” everyone says. “Just let them loose in the yard!” Well, we’re getting a summer preview this shitty spring. Can I run you through some recent afternoons? Then you can tell me how fucking laid back it is.
First, we start out in the backyard. I set the two kids up on the sweet picnic table with some cute plates and camelbaks and a well-balanced lunch. It’s picture perfect, so I snap away and send one to Tom.
This is somewhat misleading because real life is more like this: Vivi begins crying and yelling, “Noooo! I don’t want it! ‘Cause get it out of here!” Billy is squeezing fistfuls of PB&J and then throwing them and some banana at the dog.
Several near backwards free falls for Bill and lunch is over. So dining al fresco seems to be a hit! Let’s definitely make that a daily occurrence.
Okay, what next? Sandbox time! Vivi’s shoes and socks must come off. Fine, gettin’ beachy, cool, I get it.
Billy takes a seat near her, dips his pacifier in the sand, and pops it back into his mouth. Eh, hmm alright, maybe I don’t do anything and he’ll immediately realize how horrible that is.
Nope, double dipping. He does this every. single. day.
There’s a lot of shovels being thrown and Vivi making it rain sheets of sand.
Some prostest screams and sandy tears are happening now, so they make their way to the obvious next destination: the water table. These kids have everything, don’t they? At their age, I got a water spigot off the side of the house. Not even the hose. Just a handle and a spigot. And I loved it.
So anyway, the water fun starts out harmless enough. Lots of figurines floating on boats. Then the splashing begins, and really, what the fuck did I expect? Billy’s now elbow deep in cold water on a balmy 51 degree day and Vivi has now realized there’s a drop of water somewhere, anywhere on her shirt. “Mamaaaa! AHHH! My shirt got wet! It's wet all over the place!” Oh Christ, Billy looks like he belly flopped into this thing, but fine, let’s schlep inside for a quick wardrobe change.
Back outside and Vivi wants me to chase her. Not that staring into space is so much fun, but yes it is; it’s definitely more fun than playing chase. But then mom guilt makes me worry this is foreshadowing to a scene when Vivi’s making some breakthrough with her therapist and refers back to all those years ago when all she wanted was for her mom to just play a game of chase and have some fun, but "mom" was too busy trying to find live versions of Raspberry Beret on the interwebs.
I can't let that happen, so I oblige her in this game of chase, but it bores her pretty fast. “Can you pick me up and run?” Oh for fuck’s sake. Alright one lap around the yard. Okay, fun! Now go get Billy. “Can you run faster?” No, I actually cannot. I can’t even walk right now. I need to bend over and catch my breath and BILLY!! NOOOOOOO! He has zeroed in on some dried out dog shit over yonder. You missed a spot, Tom! I fifty yard dash to Billy in the nick of time (though I regret to say this isn’t always the case). “Mama, you’re running! Can you run fast again?!” And I’m a sucker, so I do.
Why do I feel like I need to your wish is my command them all the time? Like when Vivi gets panicky and weirded out when my hair is in a ponytail. “Can you put your hair down, ‘cause I don’t want it up,” she requests with nervous laughter. And I do it! I take it down every time! What is this strange toddler phase by the way? Why is this happening?! They don’t mention this on the Baby Center. Vivi prefers my stringy witch hair to be down over an 80’s banana clip every day of the week. I mean maybe this will encourage me to wash and dry my hair every morning. But, no. It will not.
Okay, finally Vivi is over cardio and she and Billy begin to yell at each other and tug-of-war with the lawn mower they’ve each only ever played with for about 20 seconds this season because I keep forgetting to refill the fucking bubbles.
And then the muthafucker that may be the reason we spend all summer indoors: BEES. Fuck you, bees! Seriously. One buzz around Vivi’s head has now put the fear of sitting on Santa’s lap into her, and she’s shaking and screaming. Billy copies her screaming and thinks it’s hilarious, which only traumatizes Vivi further and makes her scream louder. Oh, and I’m fucking petrified of bees, but I actually thought playing it cool around them in front of her would like lead by example. Look, Vivi! Mama isn’t going “Oh God, ooooh naaaaa baaaaaa ahhh no no please God no” inside my head! I’m not concerned at all about this bee flying into my ear and stinging my brain.
Vivi tells me that we have to go away from the bees and suggests the front yard because toddler reason proposes that those assholes don’t come within a mile radius of the driveway. I really hope Tom is the one playing in the front with them when this notion is crushed. So the front yard play right now is no bueno. It mainly involves me chasing Billy down our driveway a minimum of 15 times. You have ALLL this space out here, buddy! WTF with it, Bill?! When he’s not trying to play chicken with oncoming traffic, I’m usually fishing rubble and rocks out of his mouth every 20 seconds. And that’s not even an exaggeration. I’m sure my older neighbors are shaking their heads in disapproval each time they hear me shouting, “DUDE!!” at my 1 year old. But, dude, I’m seriously beginning to think Pica is a reality for us. Vivi is keeping busy calling weeds “so beautiful” and popping the heads off of some tulips that are sort of on our property.
Billy decides he’s done with this shit and heads for the front door, but Vivi wants to stay out and push the boundaries of the imaginary perimeter I’ve put in place for her, but not really. She’s just almost a threenager, so she’s required to disagree with everyone and want the opposite of everything. I lure her in with the promise of getting cozy on the couch with a movie while Billy naps. So! Being outside…more fun for them…I guess? Listen, I am grateful to be outside in the fresh air, but I’m tapped the F out and it’s not even close to 5pm yet. I’m thinking hauling that playpen in and out might have been waaay fucking easier. But hot fun in the summertime, here we come! Can’t wait!