A big day, Swan boats, playing in water

Today was a big day. We took the train downtown, saw my brother’s workplace, and then headed for the Public Garden, where we went for a ride on a Swan boat. And then we came back.

Hmmm, somehow that doesn’t quite relay the impact of the morning. Let’s see if I can do a bit better.

As anyone who has cared for young children knows, it’s a bit of an operation simply to get out the door. For us wimpy PacNW folk, getting outside in the serious heat and humidity is even more challenging. There’s the lathering on of suntan lotion, packing up food & clothes, diapers & other supplies, negotiating getting shoes on, getting down the stairs, out the door, and across streets with hands being held and kids staying close. There’s the mediation of the various kids’ desire to push that button, the other button, all buttons, all the opportunities to work on how to share. There’s the need to get back in time to eat and get babies and kids down for nap before they lose their margin and gain the tendency to experience everything as a tragedy.

But there are also all the wonderful moments: ponds into which toes and feet can be dipped; buildings with details to be pointed out and admired; cute squeaky ducklings to be oohed and aaaahed at; a kid-friendly bathroom with a stepstool to be enjoyed; a brilliant blue sky; lovely shade trees; a trip on a train and a good walk.

I particularly appreciated that there wasn’t an obnoxious tour spiel on the swan boat. We got to sit on benches under a canopy and provide our own commentary, sharing sights of ducks, ducklings, swans, fish, a bridge, etc.

When we got home, the twins were really hungry. They hadn’t had breakfast, and they downed a big piece of salmon, some chicken, strawberries, and watermelon. It gives me a lot of pleasure to see them eat.

After nap we sat around, slug-like, for a while. Being around five young kids does take a lot of energy. Eventually we went with my sister-in-law to a nearby park that’s got a great set of water features. We were able to cool down, which helped enormously. And seeing Hazel and her cousin zooming through the water was fun. I stuck my head in one of the jets. A couple of times I got surprised when the jet changed its angle and suddenly started pouring water down my back. I found myself squealing almost as much as Hazel was. Water has a great ability to get adults into acting like kids. It’s one of the reasons I like it. That’s especially true of water when it’s really hot outside.

Then it was time for dinner, shared bath, and bed for Hazel and her cousins. Ted and I went for a walk with the twins and got some frozen yogurt.

After Ted went down with the babies I had a good, long conversation with my brother. It’s been really great to be able to spend some time together. Living on opposite coasts, that doesn’t happen very often.

Tomorrow we’ll have another big transition, since it’s the day we’ll be heading out to the coast to meet up with three other families. I want to make sure to set aside some Hazel-Mommy time this week, because there’s so much other input right now it can be overwhelming. Even just a 20 minute walk every day or two will really help.

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