January 17, 2007

Lately, I am finding more value in the days I stay home with Riley because of this: in his father’s absence, I think the kid really likes me.

When JB is around, it is like the moon and stars have arrived, finally, jesus, and I am downgraded to something less important in a toddler’s life. Such as, for instance, the 1998 fiscal performance of Fidelity’s large-cap overseas mutual funds. Or perhaps the nutritional content in one serving of applesauce*.

(*Hey, did you know you can substitute 1/4 cup applesauce and 2 teaspoons of oil in a cookie recipe for each missing egg you do not have? Well, you do now! Sundrymourning.com: striving to provide both educational content and as many references as possible to the porn term “piledriver” since 2002.)

There are some (incredibly) boring stretches to the stay-at-home gig, for sure, but I like the fact that I can greedily demand all of Riley’s attention and get it, because unless Elmo is on the tube I’m pretty much his best source of entertainment. Well, unless the cat wanders by. Or he discovers a piece of fluff under the couch.

World’s #1 Mom! Right behind a piece of fluff! Fuck you, Dog, you’re fourth on the list!

I’m still not sure what the key is to a successful stay-at-home day. If I try and clean, I usually feel frustrated by the fact that I’m not really paying attention to the boy and also he’s freaked out by the vacuum and stands around pointing at it with great dismay and yelling “Teh? Bah?” over and over and maybe I’m causing psychological damage or something? (I mean, maybe that’s what happened to JB. I can think of no other explanation for the fact that he acts as though touching the vacuum’s handle will instantly shrink his penis.)

Of course, if I don’t clean, then I feel like a giant slob and once Mr. Moon-and-Stars comes home I rush around trying to corral the dog hair and so on, and let me tell you, performing maidlike duties while Riley practically swoons and asks for JB’s autograph is a great way to feel like…well, I was going to say Cinderella but that’s not quite it, because there are NO GLASS SLIPPERS IN SIGHT, maybe more like…Mr. Belvedere. Only with less sex appeal.

Also, I’m ready for the sun to come out and the temperatures to warm so I can take Riley outside, instead of being cooped up in our house that offers little in the way of open running spaces for an active kid. Of course, I live in Seattle, so that’ll be in abooooouuut — five months. If we’re lucky.

So I try and think of places to go, but man, indoor public spaces are kind of hard lately. Mostly because once he hits the ground he’s off, he’s like one of those little cars you rev up by rolling it a few times and then you touch it to the floor and bmmmmmmmm, it’s gone. He’s a crazy drunken frat boy, careening all over the place with no sense of direction nor any kind of understanding about glass walls (BAM!) or people’s legs (“Oh, sorry! Sorry! Excuse us!”) or inedible things on the ground (“No, no, no, we don’t eat cigarette butts! At least not until you’re 22 and you’re at a kegger drinking from a plastic beer cup and you taste something funny and discover someone else’s sodden Camel Light in your mouth!”). And woe unto all within earshot if I have to pick him up, or redirect him, or do anything whatsoever that doesn’t jive with his runty independent ass, because oh my god, the screaming.

Mostly I end up chasing him, red-faced and sweaty (MILF? I don’t think so. Try DOUCHEBAG [Dogged-Out Unkept Chick Heaving Effortfully, Bulbous And Grunting]), while he gallops at top speed and irritatedly swipes away my scrabbling grip. Engaging in our two-man show at a playground seems fine, performing outside of Old Navy while anorexic teenagers snicker and hike up their ultra low-rise cargos is less pleasurable.

I need an indoor toddler dog park, basically. Where parents can come and throw balls at for their children and just hang out. I don’t mean a “Mommy and Me” class, because…no, or Gymboree, or any group activity-based event (he gets lots of socialization at daycare and that gives me a Get Out of Jail Free card for that shit, right? …Right?), I mean a giant carpeted room with toys where kids can just go batshit and I can, I don’t know, read a book. While my invisible maid cleans my house. And then we can all ride home on my magical flying unicorn pony named, of course, PileDriver.

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Laura
Laura
16 years ago

Here in Dallas, there are great “play pits” at the malls. They look fun to me anyways…..

Elissa
Elissa
16 years ago
Carrie
16 years ago

I want one of those big indoor play parks for my kid too. They actually have a couple here, but I am not willing to spend $15 a pop just to take him someplace else to run in circles. Our mall has a playground but they still have Santa crap in it and the kids can’t play. It’s very irritating.

shal
shal
16 years ago

Seattle has indoor toddler parks; they like to call them “community centers” and “play gyms” but yes, they’re toddler dog parks. Go to gocitykids.com and put in your neighborhood and you can find day/time for your local community center (the majority are in the city, unfortunately, but are really nice, and just $2–I like the one in Delridge of W. Seattle, but clearly that’s a bit of a hike for you). I think there’s one in Redmond. Also, I just heard of an indoor pool in Mountlake Terrace (again, far away, but still), that is for toddlers with a soft bottom instead of concrete. The days I don’t work and we don’t go to playgroups we’re either at the Central branch in the children’s section or at a community center, oh and I thought of one more and then I promise I’ll stop–My Coffeehouse in Madison Park (Madison and MLK, I think), is a playroom with a coffeeshop. It’s wonderful.

Jo
Jo
16 years ago

Can’t offer any help on the toddler parks but I’m going to be laughing all day at “I can think of no other explanation for the fact that he acts as though touching the vacuum’s handle will instantly shrink his penis” :)

shal
shal
16 years ago

I forgot–you can also check out ParentMap (they give it away at the library, and I think it’s also parentmap.com (?)), which also has other ideas. Also! Email me if you want more suggestions, because I am clearly into information overload mode right now. Sorry.

Mama Ritchie
16 years ago

Okay – Sand Point has this open gym thing in one of the military buildings there – You pay 2 bucks and you let your kid run around and play with the kajillion toy things in there – forts, giant yoga balls, bike thingees. I’ll get the info and email it to you. It’s literally a dog park for toddlers.

Mama Ritchie
16 years ago

Here’s the info – Sand Point Magnuson Park:

Toddler Play Time
DATE: 1/2/2007 – 12/28/2007 TIME: 1:00 p.m.
Now that the rain is here, come enjoy our toddler open gym play time!
LOCATION: 6920 34th Ave SW
COST: $2 per child, per visit
CONTACT: Brian Judd 206.-684-7422
SPONSORED BY: High Point Community Center
WEBSITE: http://www.seattle.gov/parks/centers/Highpt.htm

Diana
Diana
16 years ago

How about the public library….free, quiet, puzzles, toys….and if you sit on the floor in plain sight of the toddler you can usually at least SKIM the pages of a book.

Swistle
16 years ago

Oh my god, that exact same traumatic incident seems to have happened to MY husband!

Sundry
Sundry
16 years ago

Swistle: it’s very tragic, isn’t it? Perhaps we could start a telethon.

Hey, I just figured out there is INFORMATION on the INTERNET. I’m so smart! S-M-R-T!

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/living/2003511500_indooract060.html

Caitlin
Caitlin
16 years ago

Holy shit, that was a funny entry!! DOUCHEBAG? AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Meg
Meg
16 years ago

My favorite line was “Fuck you, Dog, you’re fourth on the list!” hahaha! Priceless!

Junniper
16 years ago

Hands down, #1 Acronym for 2007: DOUCHEBAG

Pete
Pete
16 years ago

Kid at the library, that’s funny. My favorite place was Mc Donalds. You can let them loose in the tubes until they tire. The best part is you can play in the tubes under the pretense you are ‘helping’ your child. I am glad they got rid of the ball pits, there was always some kid jumping in without watching out for the other kids.

clearlydistracted
clearlydistracted
16 years ago

Your post perfectly describes my justification for our annual fee at the local Children’s Museum. I bet you have one nearby. Don’t be fooled by the “museum” part – ours is just a three story playhouse with different areas sectioned off to make it easier to watch the littlest kids.

Kelsey
16 years ago

I’m not really a freak about germs (which is the reason lots of moms I know avoid public indoor play spaces) but my daughter has a severe peanut allergy. So we have to weigh the risk of coming into contact with kids with sticky peanut butter hands vs. the torture of nothing to do on a winter day. The play area in one of our malls is adjacent to the food court and people send their kids over there, yes toddlers, while they are still eating and it is filthy! I hope you find something. We had three straight days of rain (I know, not so bad) and I thought I was going to lose my mind. I am certainly not cut out for your neck of the woods.

Elisette
16 years ago

I was going to find the indoor play places for you, but other people ahve already done it! Obviously, these things are great because then you don’t feel guilty for some TV time AND he doesn’t mess up your house, at least for awhile.

Donna
Donna
16 years ago

Oh my god, Linda, that was my belly laugh for the day. . . . I’ll never be able to look at a vacuum cleaner again without wondering about the POWERS it might have. Can’t share your entry with my husband as he does the vacuuming at our house and we wouldn’t want that to change!

ferd
ferd
16 years ago

Maybe your funniest post ever. Thank you!

Whippersnapper
16 years ago

The best place to go with small children is, believe it or not, thrift stores. Grab some toys from the kids’ section (there are always lots of them) and hang out in the book area. He’ll be entertained and you get to look through books. Beautiful!!

Liz
Liz
16 years ago

Oh god, this post made me laugh so many times. Hardest laughs:

“I can think of no other explanation for the fact that he acts as though touching the vacuum’s handle will instantly shrink his penis.”

“…maybe more like…Mr. Belvedere. Only with less sex appeal.”

“At least not until you’re 22 and you’re at a kegger drinking from a plastic beer cup and you taste something funny and discover someone else’s sodden Camel Light in your mouth!”

maura
maura
16 years ago

I’m glad to know that your boy thinks his dad is made of icecream to. My six month old baby boy blazes all smiles and sunshine when his dad gets home from work. Evin if just a moment before he was in the midst of a grumpfest.

victoria
victoria
16 years ago

So THAT’S why my husband never touches the vacuum.

Sonia
Sonia
16 years ago

The Sand Point idea rocks! Thanks for that folks, we might take a little drive to check it out.
Sundry, there’s a place called Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett that is fabulous. Totally interactive and the little buggers can’t escape. I would bet there’s one in Seattle and/or Bellevue too.

incvd
incvd
16 years ago

Your blog is gorgeous and this post is hilarious!!

“Fuck you, Dog, you’re fourth on the list!” – love it

Warren
16 years ago

I used to work with a guy from Microsoft who had a pretty good room setup for his kids.

The room was basically constructed with six walls of teflon coated material resembling white-boards. While in that room [only] the kids could lose their f*cking minds going bananas etc. It even came complete with a drain centrally located so the parents could even hose things down in there if necessary. Writing this it sounds like some kind or Orwellian “Nerd cage” for yuppie kids.

PS – yesterday some nine year old kid from Seattle managed to con his way all the way to San Antonio on Southwest air. He had previously been arrested three time for stealing cars – one time leading the cops on a 90 mph chase thru Lynnwood. I wanna party that cowboy.

Laura
16 years ago

My children have always dumped me like so much soggy play sand whenever their father walks in the door. Unless he’s in super naggy daddy (What’s this on the floor, why is your model airplane on the table?) mood. Then they’re all mine again.

HollowSquirrel
16 years ago

I’m SO having a scrambled applesauce/oil tomorrow morning.

Josh
Josh
16 years ago

I really don’t trust the egg thing, yet I doubt I’ll be able to resist my own self-destructive curiosity.

And we don’t think vacuums shrink our peni (yeah that’s right, plural) we just take our nesting instincts a little more literaly. (also were dirty and lazy)

And don’t pretend you’re not a milf, what with constantly swearing and mentioning pile drivers. You were just one boyfriend away from being a biker chick. You know it’s true.

Paige
16 years ago

Best Post Ever.

samantha
16 years ago

When you said “unicorn”, I remebered an entry that you wrote long ago that included a drawing of a “unicorn” (or something like it) with it’s horn at the space where the nose would be… freaking classic! I still laugh about that one!

Nicole
16 years ago

Don’t houses have basements in the Northwest? I grew up in the Midwest and basically every house came with a full basement that was slightly heated, carpeted with cheap industrial carpeting, with the old living room furniture and all the toys that exist. As soon as games got a bit noisy, mom kicked everyone down to the basement and shut the door behind us. We could (and did) go completely crazy. If it was set up right, you could even ride your bike around (the under 6’s anyways). 6 month long winters- if there weren’t basements, the population would have died out long ago.

MH
MH
16 years ago

Unicorn porn brings a tear to my eye.
You should repost your unicorn porn illustration.

Melanie
Melanie
16 years ago

We go to McDonald’s. I enjoy a Big Mac (Elizabeth has a healthy snack) and she goes crazy in their Indoor PlayPlace. It is basically a giant ball pit.

Ang
Ang
16 years ago

Oh, how I miss the stay-at-home gig.

Donna
Donna
16 years ago

My hubby vacuums all the time.
(is that why I’m not getting laid?)
Don’t tell him I said that! Shhh.

Jhianna
16 years ago

Huh – mine vacuums all the time too. (don’t have the not getting laid problem though – don’t tell mine either. He get’s all weird when I talk about our sex life to friends, let alone random internet blog comments)

“two man show” “Mr. Belvedere. Only with less sex appeal.”

You’re my hero (I’m snorting with the laughing over here, and my boss is looking at me very oddly)

girl in greenwood
16 years ago

I take the boy I babysit to Gymboree for their “open play time”. I assume his mom takes him to the developing-his-musical-sense classes or whatever, but when we go there, it’s just to run around and shove toys in his mouth and bounce off all the padded furniture. It’s pretty great.

Melanie
16 years ago

Mr. Belvedere!!! I love you even more for that reference.

Mandy
Mandy
16 years ago

Look for anything labeled “Playnasium” or something equally stupid. We have at least one here in Austin called Radijazz, which is an old movie theater converted to an indoor playground, complete with a “volcano” (big pit filled with red foam blocks–stinky and gross, but apparently loads of fun), a giant playscape (I mean really, really big and tall) and a fake river bed with foam/vinyl big ducks alligators and canoes that little kids can crawl all over. Also lots of running space and a big hill to roll down and slides and balls… The floor is something squishy like cork over foam, and carpeted. My 2 year old can run wild and there is really no way he can injure himself except for running into someone else. It is totally worth $7.50 on a rainy cold day. So if Seattle doesn’t have something like this, there’s definitely a business opportunity there!

And my husband has a thing for vaccums too…hmmm…

Dee
Dee
16 years ago

hee heee heee Hollow Squirrel

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Ann Magnuson
15 years ago

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