It was unusually windy today here in L.A. My two year old woke up from her nap anxious to get out of the apartment but I couldn’t imagine braving the fierce wind just to appease her. Then it hit me - “Wind Fun Day.” Brilliant, I know.
I set out gathering everything in our house that would be fun to play with in the wind. There was the fancy Gymboree bubble set, the 6 pinwheels from her bedroom, a handful of long, silky scarves perfect for twirling, a large bedsheet to flap around and hide under and last but not least, the Jeff Gordon kite. This was going to be the most glorious outing ever. I brushed Penny’s hair, got her changed into crispy clean clothes and put new batteries in the camera. We bundled up in the car while I prepped her on all the wild fun we would have.
We arrived at the park and I set out all the goodies in the middle of the softball field. “Penny, here are your pinwheels! Blow these bubbles! Do you want to fly the kite? Let’s take a picture! Look at these pretty scarves!” She gave me a wide eyed stare then set off at a dead run for the playground equipment. I stood staring with disbelief as her tiny body bounced away. Perhaps I could lure her back with the kite? I quickly got it up in the sky and all the other children on the playground began pointing at it with glee, chasing it back and forth as it zig zagged over their heads. Every child but Penny that is. “Penny! Look at the kite! You can hold it! COME BACK!” But she just sat stubbornly pouring sand down her shirt.
Just when I was starting to like the little gal she goes and does something like this. Ingrate.
I flew the kite for a good fifteen minutes hoping she would come back but some kids showed up for softball practice and kicked me off their field. I gathered my sad stash of “wind fun” items and trudged over to join Penny on the playground. She had found a large puddle and her pants and shoes were soaked through with black mud. I slumped, defeated on the concrete bench. Then Penny came running up to me.
“Can I play with the kite, Mommy?”
“You had your chance.” I snapped. “Go play in the sand.”
A few minutes later she came back. “Can I blow bubbles Mommy?” With a sigh, I set out the bubbles and she played happily with them for a few minutes until inevitably she tipped the entire container of soap over.
It had been all planned out. We should be in the middle of a verdant field, I’d be snapping prize-winning photos of her twirling elegantly with her silky scarves and pinwheels, the local newspaper would show up to get her for the next day’s copy, somewhere in the distance you’d hear Cat Stevens music - but now all I had was a grimy little kid with sandy spit all over her face, her hair a disaster and bubble mix dribbling down her chin. And it was really windy.
Then my moment of equanimity - This isn’t about me, I thought. It’s about Penny and she deserves to have a fun afternoon no matter what my expectations are. Finally managing a smile, I pulled out the camera to take a shot of my muddy little girl. The camera wouldn’t turn on.
What else could I do? “Wind Fun Day” was an utter and complete failure. Penny was blissfully unaware of my crushed hopes and managed to have a great time at the park. And I’m the terrible mother who can’t help being mad at her for it.
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