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They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Apparently I am a little thick headed or partially insane, because it seemed like a good idea to take the kids to the park by myself...again.

I got home at 6:30 this morning, after a red eye flight from Portland. I wasn't feeling too bad, so when Reagan crept out of her room I decided that I would just stay up with her. We sat on the couch and read stories for almost an hour before Rylee came down stairs and it was time to start breakfast. The twins were nice enough to snooze while Rylee helped me whip up some French toast. It was a pretty pleasant morning.

It didn't last, however. I tried to sneak off for a nap when the twins went down for theirs, but it didn't seem to last very long. I woke up to the twins screaming and they continued to be grouchy until I decided that we should all get out for a bit. Kari helped me get everyone dressed and I loaded the twins in the double stroller. Everything went well on the walk to the park. The twins were quite, sitting back and taking in the sights. Reagan pointed out every flower that lines our quite, suburban, street and Rylee tagged along engaging me in discussions ranging from BIG trees to little bugs.

When the park came into view the big girls sprinted the last hundred yards to the swings. I recall wishing that I had their energy. I unloaded the twins. Madison immediately began to cry and wrapped her arms around my knees. Jordan, on the other hand, headed straight for the swings. The swings turned out to be too hot to sit on, so I spent several minutes sitting on the swings to cool them off. It must have been funny to watch. Some man holding his kids back while he sits on each one of the swings.

After about six minutes of swinging contentedly (them swinging, not me) and sweating because the temperature was really starting to soar, Rylee got a wood chip in her shoe. Doesn't sound like a major dilemma, but it was a total catastrophe to her.
"Take your shoe off." I said, slowly. She shook her hands up and down and cried, making no attempt to remove her shoe.
"Just a minute. I will help you." I said. Trying not to sigh to loud.
I put the twins on the ground. They can't be trusted to hold on very long while unsupervised. This did not go over very well with them and they both began to cry. Madison, like a heavy weight boxer tying up his opponent, wrapped her arms around my legs again. It is a very effective move when you are seeking attention and Madison has it perfected. You have to untangle the youngster from your legs and step back quickly to avoid being snared again. Maybe I should get her into wrestling or maybe Jujitsu. Anyway, I left the twins squawking by the swing and moved over to Rylee, who was squawking by the jungle gym.
"Now, take your shoe off." I said again. This time she complied.
"Now, brush off your foot." I instructed. She did, but she brushed off her foot on the mulch, which cause more wood chips to stick to her foot. She burst into tears again.
"I can't do it." she wailed. So I brushed off her foot and replaced her shoe. She smiled, took one step, got more wood chips in her shoe and burst into tears again.
"Do you want to just take your shoes off?" I asked. Hoping.
"Noooo." She replied.
"Sigh." I brushed off the feet and put on her shoes again. Now it was all better.

I put the twins back on the swings and for another 6o seconds everyone was happy. Then Rylee came over, looked up at me and said. "I want a drink."
"Honey, there isn't anything to drink here."
"But, but, but, cause ... I'm firsty."
"Rylee, we will get you a drink when we go back to the house."
"I'm thirsty." she says with tears this time.
"Sigh...We will go home soon."
Then Madison began to cry, so I took her out of the swing, she cried even louder.
"Alright, that was quick...we are going home." I announced. I expected some form of protest from Reagan, who had been playing happily, but she bounced over and smiled.
I put Madison, still screaming, into the stroller and belted her in. Then had to sprint after Jordan who was running off at top speed. I wonder if she had a destination in mind, probably not. She submitted to being strapped in the stroller and we set off for home with Rylee and Madi on the verge of a mutual meltdown. It was at this point that I was really regretting walking with all four to the park instead of putting them in the car.

We had traveled about a block before Jordan joined the chorus of wailing. Reagan was still being a trooper, however, she insisted on either walking right in front of the stroller and stopping unexpectedly or lagging so far behind that we would have to stop and let her catch up.

"You are going too fast." Rylee informed me.
"Don't you want to get home and have a drink?" I asked.
"Too fast." She repeated. I slowed for about half a block and then picked up the pace again.
"Too fast, Dad."
"Come on Rylee, lets get home."
She just stopped and cried.
"Carry." She said.
"Carry me."
"Sigh." She is getting pretty big to be carried very far and we still had a ways to go. I picked her up and we made it another block before Reagan started crying and wanted to be carried too. So I put Rylee down and picked up Reagan. Reagan stopped crying and Rylee started again.
It was a beautiful, cloudless, day and many people were outdoors. I noticed most were looking at us. Most were sympathetic, but amused, looks. On the last block I put Reagan down, while she is lighter than Rylee, she gets pretty heavy before too long. So we dragged down the home stretch with all four kids in tears. I had about had enough.

I wonder how long it will be before that seems like a good idea again.


  1. *pab said...
    Oh, Mark, you are such a wonderful father. As frustrating as it must be for you, at times, imagine how much your girls must love and adore you that they just want to be with you and held by you. What a wonderful gift you have given them: your time and attention. xo - paige
    Kevin said...
    You are da man! To do all this just coming off a Red Eye and not totally lose it, amazing. The things you do to spend time with your kids! Ashley reminds me all the time I need to learn to control my aggrevation with just my two boys, and sadly, she is right. I really need to get better at just focusing on the kids and not let them get on my nerves so much at times. Boy, I never thought I would have said this twenty years ago, but you are the best dad I know! And your brother isn't too far behind. Bet you guys didn't see that happening either but look at you both now!
    Mark said...
    Thank you for your kind words. Although most of what I did was to alleviate my aggravation. The twins were really whinny I an I thought a change of scenery would quite them down. Don't think I don't lose it on occasion, I do. But I try not too.

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