Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Field Trip

In my six years of gnomeschooling, or however long it's been that I've been keeping almost-3-years-old GK and almost-2-years-old Mr. Baby at home on Monday and Tuesdays, I've never left the house with them. Sure, we've gone outside when the frenetic Memphis weather permits to look at birds and argue over swings and flowers and such, but I've never taken them into public.

Scared? Some may call it that, though I regularly, willingly, take four to five kids out and about, so it can't be fear.

It's probably something closer to disinterest, or downright apathy. These two toddlers are happy-ish at home, why mess that up just so they can experience new things and see some of their city? They don't know how big this city is, I'll take them across the yard and tell them that bush is called "Overton Park;" I'll let them wander around the outdoor storage and say, "Welcome to a mall."

But today I took them to Davis-Kidd Booksellers and it mostly went as expected. Upon entering the children's section with its books and toys and, for the moment, serenity, GK declared she had to go potty. So I trudged them both off to the men's restroom where she used a public toilet and I threw up just a little bit at the thought.

Once we were back at the children's section, Mr. Baby declared that all he surveyed was his. He opened his chubby arms wide, held his head up and said, "Mines!" And the arguing over toys that didn't belong to any of us ensued.

Shortly, another parent came over with her child and this stopped GK and Mr. Baby in their tracks. For the rest of the time they just stood and stared at these people as though they'd never come across another human, as though a couple of Morlocks had just surfaced and GK and Baby, having forgotten their cameras, needed to memorize their features so they could describe them in detail to the authorities later.

Sometime during all of this staring the clock struck 9:12, so Mr. Baby pooped.

Eventually the two in my charge returned to playing and bickering and stinking. Not too much later, having finished reading my magazine, I declared the field trip over and headed for the door with the two little ducks following.

They behaved well, overall, which means ... absolutely nothing when it comes to the possibility of future outings because, with the exception of Mr. Baby's bowels, these two are as unpredictable as the weather in Memphis.