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Take me out to the bawl game

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published April 9, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

The chance to watch a major leaguer in Modesto sent my fingers racing ahead my good sense. Buyer’s remorse came immediately after I bought tickets for Sunday’s Nuts game, though.

A 1 p.m. start that would disrupt Little Guy’s nap. An Easter Day game with kids jacked on sugar. Endless chasing of small people when I’d rather plop my butt in a seat and enjoy a game.

But I really wanted to see Randy Johnson, so my inner Pollyanna popped up. The last game we’d gone to featured minimal fussing and few hikes around the concourse. Maybe it would work.

I list self-delusion under “other skills” on my resume.

It was a great two innings. Little Guy sat patiently, and Big Guy was mesmerized by just about everything. The grass, the new scoreboard, Wally and Al. Mostly Wally, as long as he kept his distance. If the mascot came close, Big Guy would Velcro himself to me.

But, then: “Daddy, I’m hungry.” Never mind that we’d asked Big Guy 3,986 times before the game if he wanted to eat. Dad trudged off, hoping to buy a few innings’ peace. Meanwhile, storm clouds formed around Little Guy. Squirms turned into kicks, whimpers became wails. A kind couple across the aisle gave us a lollipop, which mollified him until the candy was gone. Dad and Big Guy returned, and I bolted.

That’s when the world decided to hate me.

We walked around the concourse between innings, then tried to stand in a shady spot at the top of the ramp, hoping to catch a few pitches. “Do you have tickets in this section?” a cheery usher asked. “Yes, we do,” I said. Then I’m going to have to ask you to sit, she replied. It’s crowded today, and I have to keep this area clear.

Which was odd, because all afternoon mothers had stood there with children. As I passed by later, I saw two men in the spot from which Little Guy and I had been banished. An inning later, they were still there. I get that rules are rules. But, please, don’t apply them selectively.

So we kept cruising, which kept Little Guy engaged as long as Wally was around. By then, Big Guy had joined the weep and walk, his gripes rotating among wanting food, wanting to go with Daddy and wanting the bounce house.

I spied the ice cream stand. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have any spoons right now.” It’s not cool for a 42-year-old to cry over ice cream, but had Wally not passed by at that moment, I might have.

“Hey, guys! Let’s go talk to Wally!” “Wawwy! Wawwy!” Little Guy cheered. Soon, Wally went into the banishment area and we were back to distraction by ice cream. Luckily, spoons had arrived.

Ice cream consumed, dribbled on clothes and smeared in hair, Big Guy remembered the bounce house. He quickly shed his shoes at its entrance, but Dad decided to have a meaningless argument. Dad wanted his socks on; Big Guy didn’t. Big Guy started crying. “Time to go home,” I said. “Want to get in the bounce house!” “OK, a few minutes.” “NO!”

Been down that road too many times to miss the train wreck ahead. I pulled the plug. Five minutes later, both kids were snoring.

A funny thing happened a few hours after that, once I’d gotten food in them that wasn’t chocolate-covered.

“Mommy, we forgot to say goodbye to Wally,” Big Guy said. “Wawwy! Wawwy!” Little Guy added.

“That’s OK, sweets. We’ll see him next time.”

“You wanna see him now?” Big Guy asked.

He went to the kitchen and came back with a paper grocery bag over his head. “Here’s Wally! You want to shake his hand?” he asked. He was Wawwy for the next half hour, which is forever in 3-year-old time.

I never will get how this child can be miserable in the middle of something but chatter happily about it for weeks afterward. Whatever it is, I’ll take it. And it’s enough to bring Pollyanna bubbling up again. Except next time, I’ll try a 6:05 start.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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