They're big kids now (sort of)
Apologies for the derailing of this blog this past week. So much for my hopes to get back in the saddle and get it recharged. (How's that for mixing metaphors?) I'm not sure where all the time is going these days, but I suspect it has something to do with the two raging ids that inhabit this house with me. Blogging seems very inconsequential compared to spending time with them. They're quite marvelous little people. I think I already mentioned this.
They've officially grown into big kids now: they no longer sleep in cribs but in Swedish-designed, Russian-manufactured discount beds. Last week I took them to Ikea to pick them up.
I quite like Ikea. The styles are simple, but with enough flair to make them interesting. And they're cheap. And I appreciate not having to pay for services I can provide myself, like transporting the stuff home and assembling it. But the retail experience still needs a bit of work.
It was almost lunch time when we got there -- as I had planned -- so I first took the kids to the restaurant to get some inexpensive food. I thought they would like the Swedish meatballs, but they both opted for the hot dogs and fries. That was fine, more meatballs for me. Now if we could just attract the attention of one of the staff behind the counter, we could order. Instead, the guy who was supposed to be serving the hot meals was futzing around arranging the food in the steam trays. He aggressively ignored us as he continued to do this for some time. Finally, as the line behind me started snaking into the housewares department, he greeted me with a cheery, "How are you today?" I should have replied, "Annoyed", but instead I just ignored the question and gave him our order. We got our meals, picked up three milks and proceeded to the checkout. That's where I got really annoyed.
The lady gave each of my kids a coupon for a free frozen yogurt cone that they could pick up at the exit to the store. I've got nothing against my kids eating this kind of stuff, but I kind of like to keep the control over it to myself. They had big grins on their faces and said, "Look Papa! Ice cream!" The coupons were now their most prized possession. Now I faced either screaming toddlers or a delay leaving so they could have their treat. Oh well, I resolved to have a coffee while they made the inevitable mess on their clothes.
After eating (all they ate was their fries), we returned to the front of the store to pick up a cart to hold our loot. Also at the front of the store is the 'ball room', which they remember fondly from their younger days a couple of months ago. They pleaded to go in, and I thought, Why not? I can do the shopping much quicker without them, and perhaps they'll forget about the 'ice cream'. I got them out of their coats and boots and attempted to sign them in, but I got a not so fast, buddy look from the ball room guardian. He directed Talia to a 'you must be this tall to enter' ruler on the side -- and Talia was half a centimeter too short. I gave the guy a Oh c'mon! look, but it didn't work -- the ball room was barred to my petite little girl. Nazi. The tears luckily didn't last too long, and we began our shopping experience.
"Can we have our ice cream now?"
"Where is our ice cream?"
"Let's go get our ice cream!"
"Papa! Is this where the ice cream is?"
"Can we have our ice cream now?"
Luckily for them, we were in a public place. I endured thirty minutes of questioning about the 'ice cream' until we finally made it through the checkout ($800 dollars poorer) and could pick up their treats. The woman working the 'Bistro' counter was extremely efficient and ran through the line quickly. I handed her the coupons and ordered a coffee. Before I could stop her she handed me two small cones topped with an enormous mass of teetering, melting yellow goop -- and a coffee. Great.
They were too big to set down, and I couldn't give them to the kids here (though they had their hands out in anticipation). I could just barely hold them in one hand and had the coffee in the other. Ripping open the sugars and cream was out of the question so I just put them in my pocket, along with some napkins. A lot of napkins.
Now, I needed somewhere for them to eat this crap. I saw a small bench near the returns counter and hoped I could get there before someone took it. In the cart were Max and Talia, mattresses, sheets and pillows. It was pretty heavy. I had no hands to steer the cart so was forced to nudge it forward with my hips. And, what do you know? The cart pulled to the right. I would push it from behind until it was hopelessly off course, then stop and use my hips on the front of the cart to adjust the direction again. It must have been a very amusing sight to see me steering this lopsided cart using nothing but my ass for the hundred feet to that solitary threatened bench. But I made it.
Toddlers do not know how to eat ice cream cones. They just don't. Left alone, they will just stick their faces in and eat until the ice cream falls off the cone. And then they'll cry. I resolved to not let this happen, so after they finally got the cones they had been whining about, I would periodically grab them away from them for 'rebalancing'. Max was somewhat resentful of my help, but Talia was very cooperative. She even called me over to fix her cone when nothing was wrong.
Even with my help, it took twenty minutes to finish off these damn cones. Max in particular was determined to get as much into himself as he could. I'm not really sure why, they tasted vile. But once he was done we finally got out of that place, loaded the extremely heavy boxes for the bed in the Improbabus, and made it home.
I learned from the last time I assembled highly desired items in front of them that doing it again was not a good idea. I put them together when they were out of the house.
And so ends for foray into Lileksian writing. A pale imitation, I know, but you get what you pay for. Expect a follow up in about six months.