Nothing says fun to me like an afternoon at the mall with 4 monkeys. Except maybe a root canal with a colonoscopy chaser. Even with my stronger, more patient partner leading the pack, it requires mental fortitude to keep everyone focused and on task. Generally I end up with a headache and by the time I get to the car, I realize I have forgotten the one thing that I needed and have somehow acquired many things that I don't need. That and apparently my children have restroom proximity sensors and when we get to the furthest possible point from any available restroom, they suddenly have full bladders.
Phillip is back in basketball. His first game was today. We got everyone all packed up and ready to go. I wasn't sure if I was going to make it- but the game time call was good. The past two days I've struggled with a migrainish headache and some tummy trouble. I have a fairly sensitive system so it's always hard to say if it's just something I've eaten or a little virus. If no one else has any trouble within a day or two, I just assume it's me. After 2 pieces of toast this morning- there was no reappearance or dramatic exit- so I cleared myself off for a public outing.
The game was rather short. We were all quite surprised- about 20 minutes of play. Entertaining, but kinda left me feeling like- I showered for this? Don't get me wrong- I love to shower. I would shower daily, twice daily if I could. But quite frankly with four kiddos it's like the laundry- as soon as I get clean, someone wipes their nose all over me and I'm all gross again. Like at basketball games. We visit the potty no less than 3 times, they roll around on the bleachers and then climb all over me. Ew.
We all hop back in the van and Phil starts suggesting follow-on activities we could engage in. Movie? nah. Need anything from the mall? Yeah I could use some of that new fandangled foundation/sunscreen/mousturizer stuff a friend recommended. I wish I would have worn more comfy shoes. Which mall? I don't care. By the time I look up we have already passed the exit for the mall closest to our house- it wasn't a question- we were on a mission- we're goin downtown. Half way there the troops are getting restless. The post game juices they had have worked their way through. Bella is doing the potty hop in her carseat when traffic somes to a standstill. wow- this is fun, I smile at my beloved who reads my mind. Why'd you let them have juice in the car? Because beloved, when I GAVE them juice- we were 10 minutes from home and we had not formulated the 40 minute car trip plan. I get my sardonic smile right back as he starts distracting them by pointing out random things like radio towers.
We make it to the mall and I grab the children most likely to sprout leaks and make a beeline to the nearest potty. As we work our way back through the mall, the kids are fluttering here and there. This is not fun. This is merely an exercise in how many times I can apologize to complete strangers for my children running into them while a perfectly good stroller sits empty. They need to get out and learn to behave in public, Phil tells me. No, not really- I think- they need to be caged and admission charged to see them. If they can manage not to erupt into total chaos- they will be rewarded with a trip to the arcade. Oh goodie gumdrops. Nothing brings about the migraine I've successfully been fending off like flashing lights, noise and errant children. Fortunately the arcade has industrial sized containers of antibacterial at every turn. We play skee ball- at which, I rock. Lily throws a fit because hers isn't giving her as many tickets as mine. Phil points out that the goal is to get the balls in the holes, not on top of the net. I find that to be exceptionally amusing. Lily does not- I slowly back away from the explosive situation to locate Bella who is patiently waiting on the carousel for coins. She rides it 3 times and runs to me holding her stomach. I can understand, I want to puke just watching the thing. On cue, she holds her hands up and starts to puke. I don't know what error in the mommy gene causes this- but I cup my hands, not UNDER hers- but over so she can puke directly into my hands as opposed to just catching the overflow. Nice. This is nice. The 16 year old behind the ticket counter looks at me perplexed. Sadly enough this is not the first time I have been in this position and unfortunately it will probably not be my last. I calmly ask for paper towels and he nods like I had just explained the theory of relativity. I sense he wants to pretend the episode did not just happen, which I would love to oblige save for the handfuls of puke that I wish to no longer hold onto. I clean up the mess and empty about half the container of antibacterial over my hands and look for Bella, who is perched back on the darn carousel holding out her moist little hand for more coins. Phil and the other 3 meet up with us and I explain what just transpired. He shrugs- I guess it's time to go. Yep. Out we go. I don't want the kids puking, but I feel vindicated- this headache wasn't all in my head. It was probably some bug.Hopefully the others don't get it. Halfway to the door he stops- you feel more like buffalo wings or cheeseburgers? If my eyeballs could have reached out of their sockets and whipped him- they would have. I shrug and point to Bella- who is hopping up and down chanting- I'm hungry, I'm hungry. It was dinner time. What's the worst that could happen? I could get puked on. Been There Done That, allright let's go.