Sunday, August 9, 2015

Indoor Playland and Ice Cream Craziness

Great anticipation grew as I planned a day with my Santa Clarita grandchildren, Kasen, 4, and Jenna who will be one in less than two weeks. Gramasylum was in full bloom as I intentionally drove after work  in rush hour traffic to get there.  It took me three hours to travel the 100 miles. Proving my youthfulness as I  approach a monumental birthday, I listened to a webinar to pass the time. Yes. I, Grama Cece, listen to, and on occasion watch webinars for my own professional development. I try not to watch them when I am driving. The challenge for me is remembering how to download them on my IPhone.

When I arrived in Santa Clarita the kiddos were in the front yard waiting excitedly for me.  I quickly forgot the three hour drive. Kasen started jumping up and down and came frightening close to the curb as I parked the car. Mom was close by monitoring so all was well. Jenna was grinning ear to ear and doing her characteristic point and jab when she wants something  or she wants to go somewhere. I call it the "Jenna Jab" and she gets pretty much whatever she wants this way. After hugs and smooches all around we settled in to the visit. Kasen immediately began planning the next day.
His excitement was displayed in his rapid fire interrogation.
“Where are we going to go, Cece?  What are we going to do? Can we go to a playground, Cece? Can we get ice cream?” Kasen asked.

“Of course! We can do it all,” I respond like any crazy Grama would.
“We will find an indoor playground if it is too hot (which is all the time in Santa Clarita between May and September) and we will find some ice cream,” I said with equal enthusiasm.

The first inkling that I had gone deep into Gramasylum and wondered “what was I thinking” came at the indoor playground.  Such venues being totally new to me this crazy and enthusiastic Grama was totally unprepared. Everybody who uses the playground needs socks. We were all sockless. But of course, they sell socks! How much? Who cares! This is Gramasylum and we were not turning back! They charge for babies over nine months? The Jenna Jab is already underway. How much? Who cares! We were all going in!
The indoor playground had four distinct play areas with lots of kids running back and forth like they had all just been taken off  sugar IV’s. Slides, and crawl tubes, an enclosed kitchen and even a small enclosed trampoline created a playing frenzy of kids. A wide range of ages and sizes comingled. The larger sized ones made the trampoline situation a bit concerning to me.  And the speed and frequency of passing children kept me vigilant in watching Jenna who though a great jabber is new enough to walking to be vulnerable to surrounding motion. The strong breeze of a passing larger child can knock her down. It was while I was watching the traffic in order to keep Jenna safe that I realized I had totally lost track of Kasen! And, a quick scan of the place did not produce a sighting. Sheesh! We’d been in the matrix less than ten minutes and I had already lost one child. I grabbed Jenna in spite of her jabbing to go in another direction and frantically searched every nook and cranny until I finally found Kasen in the corner of the kitchen. But still, there was a moment when I returned to the “what was I thinking” part of my brain. Two small children, indoors, and I can’t keep track of them for ten minutes? How did I do this with three of my own in the outdoors?!  God must have been watching over us on a fairly regular basis.

Several head to head encounters in the trampoline area, two or three near misses with fly by children, and multiple toy grabbing incidents needing intensive parental negotiations using language that I hardly recognized let alone understood well enough to participate, I decided it was time for ice cream.  The promise of ice cream lessened the trauma of leaving such a fun filled place. I think.
We found the perfect place for ice cream. Real ice cream and real inexpensive. Rite Aid. They scooped us up. A way too large cone for Kasen and a small cup for Jenna. I knew I would get the leftovers. $3.58. What a deal after the indoor playground that required a pint of blood from your wallet when you go unprepared. It was after we were all scooped up that I realized there was no place to sit indoors. This was not a restaurant or ice cream parlor. It was a drug store. And it was now 100 degrees outside. Gramasylum strikes again. What was I thinking? Cheap ice cream is no bargain with no place to sit and two children, three and not quite one, with melting ice cream and 100 degrees farenheit.  Before we left the store the cone was already dripping down the sides and the ice cream ready to fall off to the floor. I begged the clerk for another cup to put the cone in to avert the disaster. Then we headed outside.  

Fortunately we had a double stroller and I negotiated both kiddos sitting in it to eat their ice cream. I scanned the area for someplace to sit. Nothing. We walked around the corner and a pet store with a large bird swinging in the window looked like it might work. There were carpeted kitty towers of all shapes and sizes standing outside along the window wall. I found a kitty tower about the right height with a platform about the right size of my backside. I pulled the double stroller over into the shade and sat on the kitty tower. Kasen wanted his ice cream cone. Of course. So I used the little plastic spoon, almost breaking under the pressure, to cut off more than half the ice cream now tipped upside down in a cup in order  to make his cone a manageable size. I had to use my fingers, too. It was then that I realized I forgot to get napkins when we bought the ice cream. Diaper bag in the car, I had nothing. Oh yes. A little sippy cup of water is better than nothing. I opened it and poured some on my sticky hands and dried them in the wind. Finally, we were able to relax a little and enjoy the ice cream. 

This is Gramasylum at its very best. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. I did not spend any time wondering if I could navigate the indoor playground. I did remember or imagine what a challenge it is to do ice cream in hot weather with small children outdoors. I just love these kiddos and if Kasen says,
“Can we get ice cream?”

The answer when you are in Gramasylum is, “Of course!”
And wherever and whatever Jenna  jabs, Cece will find a way to go and to do. This is Gramasylum. Thinking is way down the list when crazy love takes over. And gratefully, God is always watching over us.

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