Monday, August 29, 2011

Come Monday, It'll be Alright

Our weekends seem to by flying by these days.
No sooner do we settle into the routine of lazy mornings and action packed afternoons, than it's already time to layout our clothes for the Monday Morning Races.

This weekend was no exception. It was exhausting, but in the best kind of way.
We bounced from birthday parties to concerts to parks for two full days.
Saturday saw us at Holliday Park in the early morning. And it was nice, after battling traffic on Meridian and then again on Spring Mill for nearly an hour combined, to let the kids just run. Holliday Park is amazing, by the way. I'd never been to this sweet little IndyParks gem, tucked back in behind Meridian on the near-northside. It has graduated playsets for all ages and a slew of things to climb on, under and around.

I'm constantly amazed how true-to-life the nickname "Monkey" is when The Munchkins all get anywhere near a playground. I ought to be more nervous than I am to see them scramble hand over hand to the top of a spindly rope structure. But I remember being that age and hoisting myself up to the top of the monkey bars, just to sit & survey. It was the greatest feeling there, on top of the world. You felt invincible, and not so self-conscious of yourself to think that you even could fall at that age. So I bit my tongue these days when I see Mr. Man shimmy to the top of something or the Biz swing upside down from just her knees. They're kids. It's what they do.

By two o'clock we were kicking our heels in the East Gardens at the Central Library downtown. Kidlets swarmed the grassy knoll and parents sort of lolled in the shaded areas beyond, all eagerly awaiting the circus-style punk marching band Mucca Pazza. The band, in its entirety is a 30-person collaboration. Mucca Pazza, in Italian translates to "Crazy Cow" which I suppose is an apt description as any, allowing for the fac that "Most amazingly awesome band I've ever seen live" probably does not translate so prettily. It was a mashup of covers and classical and marches and original compositions supported by all the expected instruments of a marching band and then some (see also: electic ukelele?!) and accompanied by a score of hyped up gymnasts/cheerleaders. It defies explanation really.

The show started out in the gardens, then formed a parade of band + spectators out around the building, up the steps of the main entry and INTO THE LIBRARY. Where, instead of being shushed, the band played raucously to a crowd of hundreds in the atrium. They marched in and around and through the crowd, like some giant, drunken conga line; each loop and whorl bringing them closer to a new wide-eyed kid, arms outstretched just to touch the hems of their uniforms.

They were amazing musicians and spectacularly entertaining. I may  have dug it even more than The Munchkins, if that's possible. Man you should have seen the Monkey rocking out. It was a sight to behold. Hips swinging, hair flying, hands and arms and legs akimbo...
And Mr. Man, social butterfly, that he is becoming, instantly found four additional kidlets from his class at school to go sit with. His growing independence kills me; the show that the four of them provided was almost as good as the band down front. The pointing and giggling and animated discussions happening across the aisle spoke to their appreciation not just of the band, but also to their burgeoning need for peer interaction. Will I ever be ready for him to choose them over me? Too late I's starting. Better make my peace with it now!

 The group's energy was a palpable thing, and by the end of the show I was exhausted from just watching. I can't imagine playing and marching and dancing and climbing and interacting to the degree they did for as long as they did.  It was amazing. Period. If they come to your corner of  the world? Go.
photo credit ~ I am NOT this good but this captures the action SO much better than my version

 But the fun didn't stop there, oh no.

Sunday held a dearth of activity to keep us happy and suffiently worn out and off each others nerves, so we created some. We headed allllll the way out to Avon to the Washington Township Park to the new SplashPad they'd built. Now I remember Avon Park as a fairly new park, devoid of much playground equipment with plenty of hills for sledding, from when I was a kid. Let me tell you, it. has. changed. The play equipment nearly met the kids' new Holliday-Park standard.

We packed a picnic and a blanket and lunched right there in the park in a nice little shady spot between the tire swings and the picnic benches.

 (We're a big fan of Bugles. We put them on our fingers and wave at each other, then eat them one by one)
 And, after we'd eaten and played a bit, we ventured on down the hill to the Splashpad. It's hidden back quite a ways, and was tricky to find the first time. But it's such a great little secret that we'll be back for sure. There were only a few kids there, and it was divided in half - splashpad vs. dry climbing equipment - by a double row of comfy benches and some picnic tables: A perfect for parents to park themselves.

 I parked myself for a good two and a half hours while The Munchkins exhausted themselves. Each had found multiple little ones their own age to pal around with. It's good for them, Mr. Man especially I think, to have other kids to interact with. And I find myself alternately beaming with pride and smothering giggles at the way I spy them acting with their peers. 

Isabelle can be bossy and overbearing to her siblings sometimes, but this just translates into motherly when she encounters a small brood she can adopt in public places. Squiring them safely from one end of the playground to the other; pushing swings and assisting with monkey-bar crossings.
And Mr. Man is always drawn to the kids that brought footballs or soccer balls. He always manages to get himself adopted by other families...
...which is fine, because I usually find myself feeding all the strays that The Monkey brings my way: cajoling them into friendship with promises of snacks or tricks her mom can do, then clubbing them and keeping them like a little caveman; dragging and ordering them about the place to play this game or that.

It gives me a chance to peek into what their lives must be like at school, when I'm not around to shepherd them into proper behavior. And, if I'm quick and quiet about it, I get small little glimpses of what they're growing into. Isabelle, with that bossy, motherly instinct always taking care of other before herself.

Sebastian: not a trace of self-consciousness about him, is brave in society, and eager to engage others one-on-one and in a group...

And Sophia, gregarious and outgoing to a fault, she puts new faces at ease instantly with her openness and joy. She shares selflessly (even when something might not be hers to share...) and is quick to defend a new friend.

What can initially seem like a lost-cause weekend; its 48 hours stretching out into infinity when you wake up to arguing kidlets Saturday morning before 6am, can so quickly turn into manageable blocks of time when you remember they need to get out just as much as you do. I so often forget that I get on their nerves just as much as they get on mine some days. And it bears remembering that oftentimes just a change of scenery is all it takes to restore order to the chaos of a weekend...

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