The Day That Word Search Puzzles Became Science And My Toddler Learned To Surf

This is just going to be quick, because… have I mentioned it before?  We have a toddler who moves at the approximate speed of light, and he tends to make me tired.

And I realize that sometimes when I say that I’m only going to write a couple of paragraphs, I end up steering the cart off on a fourteen-mile tangent, complete with stops at rest areas and holler-outs of WHO WANTS A STARBUCKS DRINK BEFORE WE FINISH THE LAST SIX MILES HERE?, but tonight, I’m staying focused on SHORT.

It’s because I need to get myself into bed and find the real sleep of young children who have spent an entire day outside in the fresh air.  Last night, this kind of sleep eluded me, because I was very busy dreaming that I had a stench in my Suburban that would make a skunk sit up and holla at his neighbors.  I remember thinking that I was going to die of horrible, toxic fumes of who knows what, while I was driving around town, and then… THERE!  There was my darling friend Carrie on the side of the road, and she needed a ride.  I told her to just get in already, and then I said, “But something stinks in my Suburban.  It smells like death died, right before it lost control of its bowels, and I’m not sure WHAT is causing it.”  And that Carrie!  She’s never one to just sit around, so she crawled into the third seat of my Suburban to do a little sleuth work while I continued to drive, and she said, “It might be because you have six jack-o’-lanterns back here that have rotted.  They all, in fact, have flies.”  So we pulled over, and I unloaded a slime-fest of pumpkins-gone-bad in a random dumpster, and then… well… we smelled remarkably better.  My biggest question is just HOW DID I NOT KNOW I WAS CARTING AROUND SQUASH THAT WE HAD HOLLOWED OUT AND CARVED SEVEN MONTHS EARLIER?

Honestly?  Who dreams things like this?

The other thing that I have to tell you is this.  On Friday afternoon, I had to take the boy to the orthodontist for a good, old-fashioned tightening of the braces.  While he was off with the man who is taking all of our money to build himself a condo in Aspen, I sat in the waiting room, WITHOUT OUR TODDLER.  And THAT, people, is why I had brought my own book from home.

I was very busy reading, when a youngish grandmother walked in with her two granddaughters, who must’ve been about ten years old.  Grandma had obviously been to the salon very recently for the WHOLE WORKS TREATMENT.  Her nails were as long as a grizzly bear’s and painted up in BURN THAT HOUSE DOWN red, and her platinum highlights looked better than anything Jennifer Aniston has ever pulled off.  She was also wearing very classy wedge sandals AND a Lily Pulitizer shirt in white, and her base tan screamed, I JUST GOT BACK FROM MAUI.  Her entire demeanor spoke of I HAVE LUNCH AT CLUBHOUSES DAILY and I COULDN’T TELL YOU WHERE THE VACUUM CLEANER IS KEPT IN MY HOUSE IF MY LIFE DEPENDED UPON IT, BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER HAD TO USE IT MYSELF.

One of the little granddaughters was dressed every bit the same as Grandma was, with her hair braided fancily.  She was wearing a sweater dress and cowgirl boots, and I sort of coveted her outfit, because TRENDSETTER!  The other granddaughter, who was a cousin of the little darling in the sweater dress, was wearing a baggy pair of flannel pajama bottoms that were almost worn out, and the biggest, sloppiest sweatshirt I have ever seen in my life.  Her hair was uncombed, and she was every stinking bit as cute as her cousin… she just was dressed like she had very recently stepped out of the ghetto’s gutter.

I smiled at her as she sat down beside me and said, “Don’t you love summer vacation, when you just get to stay in your pajamas all day long?”  And she smiled at me and said, “My dad always tells me to wear my worst clothes whenever I’m going to my grandma’s house, because she hates it when I look like a slob.”

Seriously, people.  I was speechless.  I think I stared in dazed silence, because WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT?

And then she leaned over and told me, “My dad always says that fancy clothes don’t make a person nice.”

I said, “That sounds like some serious wisdom there.”

And my little friend replied, “My dad is very smart.  He’s 38 already.  And he told me that I’m the nicest person he knows.”

The little girls were so cute, I wanted to adopt them both, and they asked Grandma for a pen from the depths of her Coach bag, which she gave to them.  They were very busy doing a Word Search puzzle.  The little one in the pajama bottoms called out, “Hey, Grandma!  Do you know that store called Sears?”

And Grandma said, “No, darling; I don’t.”

And her granddaughter replied, “You know, Grandma.  It’s a big building, and it’s called Sears, and they always have riding lawn mowers parked out front that people can buy?”

Grandma said, “Honey, I’ve never heard of this Sears before.”

Because OF COURSE SHE HADN’T.  I’m rather certain that her children NEVER wore a pair of Toughskins jeans to elementary school.

The little ten-year-old held up her Word Search puzzle page and said, “Well, look!  I found the word SEARS right here, but it’s not one of the words that’s on the list of words to find.  It’s just an accident that it’s in the puzzle.  Isn’t that kind of cool?”

To this, Grandma said, “Honey, you are so smart in science!  You always amaze me with how brilliant you are in everything related to science.”

The little gal in the pajama bottoms just looked at me and gave me a secret little grin, before she quietly shook her head and went back to circling words in her puzzle book.

I flat-out ADORED her!  Honestly, her little ten-year-old self might be my new favorite friend of EVER.

And that’s about all the INTERESTING that has happened around here this weekend.  Thing 2 and I did slip out to the park this afternoon, while the boy and Hubs stayed home to accomplish some mowing and gutter-cleaning.

IMG_5283 IMG_5285 IMG_5286 IMG_5287 IMG_5290 IMG_5292Thing 2’s new Extreme Sport is called SLIDE SURFING.  He kept standing at the top of the slide today… and then he would hold his arms out and run down it, as he tried to remain upright, without crashing.

When DFS knocks on my door to talk about this, I already have my speech prepared.

Yes, I told him it was dangerous.  Yes, I told him that he shouldn’t be surfing down slides.  Yes, I encouraged him to JUST SIT YOUR CABOOSE DOWN AND SLIDE LIKE A NORMAL TWO-YEAR-OLD, BEFORE YOUR MAMA DIES OF ANXIETY!

But the thing is, our toddler quickly learned that he’s VERY GOOD at surfing down slides.  He really DOESN’T fall… that often.

And so… I just adopted the Frozen attitude and LET IT GO.

We suffered NO broken collarbones or crushed noses or shark bites, so we called the afternoon a complete success.

IMG_5298 IMG_5299 IMG_5302Our toddler is also one of the very few who SEEKS OUT THE BIGGEST SLIDE AT THE PARK.  He’s not afraid of heights.  He’s not afraid of fast speeds.

He lives for danger.

And yes, DFS, I tried to discourage this, too, but listen:  THING 2 IS GOOD AT BIG SLIDES, so I just sat back and let him enjoy himself.

IMG_5303 IMG_5288 IMG_5289

All those black streaks on the yellow slide are the BRAKES OF MANY SNEAKERS, as hundreds of sliders before Thing 2 have tried to stop themselves in fear.

Thing 2 kept his tennis shoes OFF THE SLIDE, because he didn’t want to accidentally stop himself and ruin his bullet-like momentum.

Rockets don’t like to be stopped during takeoff.

IMG_5305 IMG_5309And yes, DFS.

That really IS a big chunk of playground bark in the toddler’s hair.

IMG_5311We are learning that Thing 2 will bring half of his day home with him in his curls.  We have found pieces of purple sucker in his curls at bedtime.  We have found sand and pebbles and leaves and crackers.

Playground bark isn’t anything.

He’s just so dadgum smart at science, he amazes me!

Happy Sunday, y’all.

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