A few weeks ago I got the idea to enroll Pumpkin in ski lessons in an effort to get her up and running such that we could eventually claim some of our regular life back. Ski holidays have become a fantasy rather than an annual plan, and I am hoping to change that. Anyhow, today was our first lesson. I wasn't expecting total compliance, and had to bend the truth a little bit to get Pumpkin to the hill, but I did manage to get her there.
The hour lesson was not unproductive, but boy was it a whine-fest. For the most part, the kids had to walk up a 50' piece of astroturf, then ski back down, with the help of a couple of instructors. Every time we got to the top, I took off for the bottom to get away from the whining, and left Pumpkin to the instructors to deal with. The kid was pretty much paralyzed with fear, but did manage to make her way to where I was standing with her knees sort-of bent, and her hands sort-of on her knees. Then there came the complaining.
"I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS ANYMORE!!!!"
"We have to Sweetie, the teacher said so." I always retorted, escorting her back to the astroturf, wondering what kind of clout a ski instructor carried in Pumpkin's mind.
The whining escalated into shrieking, but I kept getting her back up the 'hill', and practicing how to maneuver around in skis on a gentle slope, which has to count for something.
When we had put in our full hour, I suggested going inside for a snack, which was a prelude to my other promise of McDonald's for lunch, being my initial bribery attempt. Neither McDonald's, nor skiing seem ideal on a week that began with a stomach virus, but Pumpkin could do with a few calories, and I'm too cheap to skip an expensive lesson. Besides, I didn't really believe that the ski lesson would be much easier on a healthy week. Next week I'm bribing her with a trip to Claire's for something shiny instead of McDonald's though. It should be much less insane.
The McDonald's that I chose had only been open for a few weeks, but it had a playground in it, which was the main draw for Pumpkin. Little did I know that today was the grand opening, and that the 'Dirty Clown' himself was scheduled to be there at the exact time that we got there.
THE PLACE WAS A FUCKING ZOO! There were at least 1000 people in there and I'm not exaggerating! The second we walked in, we were handed a balloon, which is kind of annoying because Pumpkin wanted to keep it, but didn't want to carry it. There was a DJ yapping over a loud speaker, playing Lady Gaga or whoever, adding noise pollution to the already impossible to hear anything air. I was trying to find a table while carrying our order, and a balloon, all the while trying to hear what Pumpkin was crying about, which I think pertained to her Happy Meal toy, but I can't tell you 'cause it was too fucking noisy!
I thought for sure that Pumpkin would want to skip the VERY crowded playground, that no doubt exceeded fire regulations, but I was wrong. Despite the play structure being in a particularly small room that had to be shared with a face-painter, and despite all the kids lining up for said face-painter, and despite the dozens of parents clamouring into this overstuffed room to take pictures of their kids, Pumpkin still had to go in.
I was there on this day, at that time, purely by accident. WHY THE HELL WAS EVERYBODY ELSE THERE??? Is the grand opening of a fast food joint really the kind of quality time people want to spend with their families? Do they think their kids want to see the goddam clown??? I think about 99% of kids are actually scared of clowns, and probably 50% of adults! Did they really all leave the comfort of their homes to stuff their kids in a tiny play room in hopes of a great photo op? Really? REALLY???
Excuse me now while I go crack open a bottle of zen.