Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Our Grand Day Out

Today we enjoyed a Grand Day Out from our typical routine. Is anyone else always a little stung when the kids cry joyously, "Yay! No school today!"? 

We had scheduled dental appointments in the morning, including the first one for Margaret (4), about which she was excited.

Witnessing children reading in waiting rooms causes strangers to ask me, "Do you homeschool?"
Joseph--'reading' upside down--kept announcing, "Chapter One!"

Mary (6) kept leaping out of her chair
to tell me excitedly what was happening next
in the story of the Civil War.
Despite the fact that this pediatric dentist's office has a TV-viewing room and a video-gaming room, this Mean Mama packs books for the children and makes them read.

I told them that their big treat was going to be watching the movie playing during their actual dental exam, thereby making myself look magnanimous when really I was reinterpreting the inevitable, considering that there is a TV screen mounted in front of each exam chair!

When Joseph (2) kept asking, "When is my turn?" the friendly dentist handed him his own pair of sunglasses, invited him onto Margaret's chair, and gave him a 30-second examination plus his own "goodie bag" of toothbrush accessories.

Joseph and Margaret's first exams

For an enjoyable change of scenery, I took the children out to lunch instead of packing Yet One More Brown Bag. In fact, I realized that I had an opportunity to shop for John's needed Mass pants, so I took us to lunch at the food court at the mall.

The mall!

Likely, only my oldest children have ever been in a mall and then probably as toddlers. Mary (6) walked through a department store, particularly the shoe and makeup departments, with her hands clutched to her heart and a look of adoration in her glistening eyes.

These kids don't even come with me into the grocery store, so seeing thousands of items of gorgeous clothing was a new experience for them.

I'd like to give kudos to the South Park Mall for its fabulously well-designed family bathroom. It is a spacious, rectangular room with an adult-sized toilet plus a preschooler-sized toilet, a diaper-changing table, a comfortable sofa, and an adult-sized sink plus a child-sized sink. Taking four children and hauling this pregnant belly to the restroom in public is daunting anyway, but the South Park Mall designers made it quite convenient!

The children saw a real live 'mall cop' riding a Segway and pointed in awe. "What's that?!" I explained that a Segway is a riding device to save people like security guards from exhausting their legs all day. One of the children commented sagely, "It has a gyroscope in it. Two wheels just don't balance that way."

Riding in the elevator, someone exclaimed, "This elevator is amazing!" Then the elevator voice announced, 'You have reached the third floor.' My child gasped in hushed tone, "And it talks!"

The talking elevator

I buy almost all of the children's clothing used at consignment and thrift stores or receive it as hand-me-downs, but John needed some new Mass clothes and I've found those are one thing it can be easier to buy new. So, probably for the first time, I took the children to the mall and we shopped for John, which surely made his head spin. I showed him how it worked to go try on clothing in the dressing rooms and the girls could not be pulled away from the floor-to-ceiling mirrors in front of which they were inventing interpretive dances to the department store Muzak.

Mama had been smart at our overpriced lunch by confiscating the cookies that came with each child's meal. I spotted those cookies and thought, "That's motivation!" When it was time to leave the mall and the children wanted to examine everything sparkly or neon in the shoe department, I announced that kids buckled in their seats in the van would get cookies . . . and out we marched!

Lastly, we buzzed straight to swim class and to drop off a delivery to complete our Grand Day Out.

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

Bonus Reading: "Are These Just Words or Do We Really Believe It?" On children being "blessings," yet much of what we voice are complaints.

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