Even though I'm tired and still grumpy--a result of sleep derivation due to Mali's unwillingness to sleep without literally being attached to me and then Pat the Cat's uncanny ability to wake the baby up right as we're finally going to sleep--my own little navelsphere has been mostly good lately.
I even had a fantastic afternoon six days ago with Leelo, Mali, Iz, Violet, and Eliz at the Montterrey Bay Aquarium. The big girls were in ecstasy the entire time, especially in the remodeled littoral area, where they turned themselves into wave-summoning priestesses of Poseidon. The two biggest girls brawled over who got to help with Mali the most, which then made Iz want to jump in the fray, too. I got to focus on Leelo.
Our boy couldn't have had a better time. Non-Summer weekday afternoons are mellow, so Leelo didn't get overwhelmed by crowds and noise. He got to spend plenty of time blissing out in front of the various aquatic holding tanks (with only the occasional passerby-felling, ear-splitting shriek of joy), found many circuits in which to easily busy himself (e.g., up stairs, down slide, back to stairs, repeat indefinitely), and then the clouds split open and Nemo himself appeared in the form of a tiny little tank with two clownfish. Who were obviously the real characters from the film, in Leelo's mind. He sat quietly in front of that tank for more than fifteen minutes, watching the fish toodle about. Perhaps we need a pair of clownfish.
click to view more aquarium shenanigans!
Mali thought everything was super great: "Pish! Eeeeyul!" She also could care less whether or not anyone was joining her in her enthusiasm:
The aquarium adventure made me overconfident. The following day I figured that, since I could handle five kids in a very large public space, surely I could manage my own three at a tiny neighborhood park.
Oh, no. No indeed. Though the adventure had a highlight in a chance encounter with Sage's wonderful friend DoubleTrouble and her son A, Leelo's newfound love of squirting water out of his mouth--be it tub water or nasty kiddie-crud-laden playground sand pit water--made our visit a brief, incredibly stressful one. I made Ep, Jo, and kids come over to my house instead.
I wish the Aquarium was next door. I've yet to find a place around here that engages Leelo independently and for such extended periods, without an adult guiding him and prodding and poking him the entire time.