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Why do I do this to myself?

So I made Rylee a promise the other night that I would take all of the girls on a walk to the park. Yesterday she reminded me of that promise, she never forgets things like that. This is the tale of the walk to the park, an event that will not be repeated anytime in the near future. At least not with only one adult.

Immediately after breakfast Rylee, for the third time that day, reminded me that I said we could walk to the park. I agreed. The kids hadn't gotten out much and were probably a little stir crazy. For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to let them ride their bikes and trikes on the "walk" to the park.
So I went to the garage and found four helmets, four sets of knee pads, two sets of riding gloves, and four sets of elbow pads. Some of which was still in the packaging. The packaging for kids toys these days is a little out of control. You practically need a carbide saw and a block of C4 to get the things open. All I could find was a pair of diagonal cutters, I must have left my C4 in my other pants. I put all the equipment on the kitchen table and went to work attempting to open the packages. The kids were bombarding me with questions, three times I had to pause to help someone go pee, and they kept grabbing pieces of gear and running off with it. I finally got everything unpacked, sorted and straps adjusted. I some how managed to get each of them to stand still long enough to strap all that gear on them. The gloves being the most time consuming. They still don't get that there is a hole for each finger. The whole process took nearly 45 minutes.

I then brought the bikes and trikes from the back patio, where they had been test driven, out to the front. By this time the twins had decided that the knee pads were not very comfortable and where both sitting on the ground wailing at the top of their lungs while trying to pull them off. I never wore all that stuff when I was a kid so I figured that my kids could make it to the park and back without major injury even if they didn't wear the knee pads. Wrong...but I am jumping ahead.
I got all the vehicles to the staging area. Two red trikes, one pink trike with a handle for dad power, and a pink Disney Princess bicycle. Rylee has a brand new bicycle, but for some reason is terrified of the thing. Actually everyone is scared to get on it. I can't figure that out.
I told the girls to mount up, which was unnecessary, since two of them where nearly at the street already. Reagan and Jordan were leading the pack, Rylee was in third place, after stopping to put her shoe back on. Madison was way behind and having a very difficult time making forward progress. It didn't help that she was wearing shoes that were two sizes too big. I hadn't noticed, since many of the girls Crocks are the same color. I think Reagan had her feet squeezed into Madison's shoes. I know at one point during our adventure Reagan was wearing one big shoe and one small shoe. I gave up trying to keep track.
Madison was concentrating so hard on pedaling with her clown shoes that she wasn't watching where she was going and kept running into the curb. And every time she hit the curb or her foot slipped off the pedal she would scream with frustration. Just like a little John McEnroe. So I put my hand on her back and was pushing her. That worked for about 10 feet before she turned to sharp and tipped over, skinning her knee. I guess I should have insisted on the knee pads.

It took almost ten minutes to get passed the next door neighbor's house and the other girls were starting to get farther ahead than I was comfortable with. I was starting to regret taking the bikes. I called all the girls back and told Rylee that she would have to switch trikes with Madison, so that I would be able to push her.
"But I don't want tooooo." Rylee moaned.
"Just give me a break." I told her. "Madi is having trouble pedaling. Okay?"
"Ooookay." she said and got off her trike. I put Madison on the pink trike, took up my station as the chief propulsion officer, started pushing, and we all set off again.

The rest of the trip to the park went fairly smooth as far as emotional outburst are concerned. However, being on wheels did not speed up the process like I had hoped that it would. In fact it took us at least three times longer to get to the park than it usually does. They would steer into each other, into a curb, or a car would come and we would all have to stop while I ran around scooping up kids and trikes to move them off to the side of the road. I did get many bemused looks (which offended me) and several people were unable to overcome their urge to stop, roll down their window and ask "Are they all yours!?" and "You have your hands full."
Why do people feel compelled to remind me that I have my hands full? "I already know this! Are you offering help? Get out of your air conditioned car and chase that kid that is getting away!"
I just smile "They keep things interesting." I reply.

The girls played very nicely on the play ground for a good 30 minutes and then Rylee wanted to go over to the lake with the fake water fall. So we did. The girls all took their shoes off, dipped their toes in the water, and threw some rocks. After a considerable amount of time trying to figure out who's shoes were who's we went back to the swings.

The trip back to the house is where the wheels really came off, so to speak. Reagan, who was pretty much and angle for the whole trip, said that she was ready to go eat lunch and the twins agreed. So we spent another considerable about of time reattaching all the safety gear that they had stripped off when we got to the park. Again Reagan and Jordan took the lead. Rylee turned around and headed the other way.
"Rylee. We need to go this way." I called to her.
"I wana stay here. And ride my bike." She called back.
"It's time to go eat lunch. Come on, lets go." I called.
"I don't wana."
"Rylee, we are going home. Come on."
"Rylee, LETS GO." I said more firmly.
"NO!" She called and got off her trike. Now I was starting to lose my patience. I left Madison, who I had been pushing, parked next to the curb. Madison began to scream with frustration, because that is what she does when Dad stops pushing. I began walking back toward Rylee with a purposeful stride. Rylee can obviously read body language, because before I covered half the distance she put her hands on her butt and assumed a much less defiant expression.
"Are you going to spank my bottom?" She squeaked.
"No. But you had BETTER get on that trike and START pedaling or I might." I told her. I really didn't feel like I had time for an insurrection. Reagan and Jordan were still pulling away, Madison was still screaming because the forward momentum had stopped, and I was not going to tolerate this. Rylee climbed back on the trike and with tears streaming down her face began to pedal very slowly. Rylee knows passive aggressive.
"Rylee, don't test my patience. You need to go faster." I told her.
"But I want to stay." She wailed.
"If you are going to throw a fit every time we have to leave, it makes me not want to take you to the park. You DO want to go to the park again don't you?" I reasoned.
"No!" She spouted. Despite her attitude she picked up the pace a little.
We moved as a group about 50 yards before Reagan burst into tears.
"My uvs! My uvs!" she cried.
"What?" I asked
"My uvs. I leff my uvs at a park." she continued, very upset.
"Your what? Your gloves?" I guessed.
"Yeeeah, my guvs." She said. Her eyes brimming with tears. Now we were too far from the park for me to leave them while I went back and I was considering just leaving the gloves when I noticed that the gloves in question were in the basket on her handlebars.
"THESE gloves?" I asked as I pulled them out.
"Ha ha ha ha *sniff* Yeah!" she said. Wiping the tears from her eyes. So we spent another five minutes listening to Madison rant about being stopped while we got the gloves back on Reagan's hands.
We made it about twenty more feet before Jordan just quit. We were going up hill a little and she just tuckered out.
"Come on Jo." I coaxed. She just looked at me and sat there. Sigh. So I scooped her up and put her on my shoulders. I held her feet with my left forearm and picked up the tricycle with my right hand. "How am I going to do this?" I thought. But I managed to prop Jo's trike against the handle on the back of Madi's trike and still maintain some control of the direction we were headed. After about 100 yards my grip gave out and I put Jordan back on her trike.

The traffic had picked up a little and I was trying to get her to ride closer to the side of the road, but she kept steering out into the middle. So I would stop, turn her handlebars, and give her a push off to the side. She would start steering back to the middle. So ran Madison's trike up beside her to keep her from coming over, but that didn't work. She would just keep turning and crash into us, sending Madison into a rage. Rylee and Reagan were starting to pull ahead so I picked Jordan up again. This time she pitched a full on fit, screaming and swatting at the top of my head.
"" She cried.
"No. No bike." I replied.
I notice a lady sitting on her front porch just starting at us.
Rylee asked if she could ride on the side walk. I told her that would be fine. Only a portion of the street had side walks. So she did and then returned to the street when the side walk ended. Shortly we hit another section that had a side walk and she asked again to ride on the side walk. So she took the time to push her trike through the grass and get on the side walk while the rest of us kept going. It took her quite awhile and when I looked back she was pretty far behind. About 25 yards. "Come back!" she yelled.
"We are waiting for you come on." I called.
"I'm scared." She called.
"Just come on, Rylee." I said. She just sat there. And sat there. And sat there.
"There is a car coming!" She yelled.
"It's okay, just come here." I said.
"I'm scared."
"Rylee." I said, exasperated.
"Whaaaaaaaaa! Car! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" she screamed. The car, which was blocks away, turned down a side street. By this time Reagan was getting worried about her sister.
"Whywee...Whywee...Whywee." Reagan said, tears starting to well up again.
"Rylee come to me." I said.
"Whaaaaaaaa!" she replied.
"Sigh... The rest of you girls wait right here."

I put Jordan's trike down and took her off my shoulders. I set her next to Madison who had been screaming because we were stopped and that is just what she does when Dad stops pushing. I walked back to Rylee, took her off the trike and told her to walk the rest of the way. We only had about a block and a half left to go. So she cried and pouted the rest of the way home while I carried her tricycle and pushed Madison.

I got the trikes and bikes put away and had a beer.


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