It sounded wonderful. A day at the park. As soon as my work was done in the morning. Besides, I had taken all the breaking up of fights I could. Don’t you love summer vacation?
So, we loaded up the car with kids and me and the manuscript I was proofreading. An idyllic afternoon; kids on the play structure, mom occasionally looking up and smiling from the park bench where she studiously proofread a manuscript. Sounds wonderful, no?
No. A most emphatic no. For here it is mosquito season. And when I say mosquito, I’m not talking about the teeny little things you see on a bug spray commercial. I’m talking sparrow-sized mosquitoes.
Okay, it’s the park; you expect a mosquito or two. Maybe even more. Except, when I got out of the car, three of them tried to fly off with Ian. After rescuing him, I grabbed the manuscript and set off for the play structure. Surely it would be better there, away from the grass.
The kids started to play and I opened the box. After swatting about 400 of the nasty little bloodsuckers, I looked up. The inevitable “Mommy? I have to go pee.” look was on his face. I looked up at the other two who were hanging from the rafters, so to speak.
“Will you guys be okay if I take Ian to the bathroom?”
Rules laid out they continued to play and we walked across the parking lot. In the building it was no better. I stood in the dank basement bathroom wiping sweat from my brow while swatting a dozen more mosquitoes and waited for him.
All finished we headed back to the playground, me lugging the manuscript all the way. Halfway there we met his brothers. “What’s up?” I asked, trying to keep the alarm out of my voice.
“He has to go pee. Actually we both do.” I sighed.
“Okay, do you need me to come with you? You’ll be okay?” Of course visions of unspeakable bathroom terrors flashed through my mind. They assured me, I believed them and we continued on our separate ways. I sat down on my bench again, swatted another fifty mosquitoes and opened the manuscript box. I had read perhaps four words and swatted seventeen mosquitoes when I became aware of someone watching me.
“Mommy? I need to go poo.”
Sigh. Swat, slap, smack. I packed up the manuscript and hustled him back to the pavilion and down the stairs to the bathroom. Swatted another dozen mosquitoes on the way. We caught up to his brothers who were inching their way there. Okay, family bathroom trip. I slapped another mosquito and got three that were on one of the kids.
No need for details. I’m sure many of you have spent the better part of ten minutes in a very small washroom stall with a four-year-old who has a slightly shy bowel. In between swatting mosquitoes the only conversation was me asking “Are you finished?” and him answering “I don’t think so.” The excitement was added to by Tommy, my six-year-old, crawling under the wall of the stall to join the two of us in the hot, dark, mosquito ridden, dank, (and now) smelly bathroom stall.
When we got outside into the air the heat was oppressive. I was too hot and itchy and tired and I really wanted to go home. As we neared our car in the parking lot, the idea of watching them play while being chewed on by all the mosquitoes on the planet really had lost its appeal. Resorting to the one thing every parent knows will work every time when we truly want our own way, I smiled at the boys who were oblivious to me while they eyed the tallest slide on the play structure.
“Who wants to go for ice cream?”
Hands down, I won.