Were I to give you a blow-by-blow account of our weekend in Indianapolis with the kids, you would, with good reason, fall asleep. So, a few highlights (or lowlights, as the case may be):
– If you’re going to hit a pothole and blow out a tire, it’s best not to do it at almost midnight in the rain on a forsaken road outside a junkyard, the kind of place where a gun-toting proprietor might investigate why a minivan is lingering outside his empire. On a related note, it’s great fun to watch a traffic light change three times ahead of you as you limp to your destination on the flat tire.
– When you go to the neighborhood tire establishment the next day, it’s pretty funny when four of your five kids fall asleep on the way there and as you haul them one by one into the waiting area, the owner watches, wondering just how many more you’re going to bring in. Also, it’s good to have snacks for when they wake up.
– One more tire note: it’s pretty cool that your little girls think you’re a superhero who hung the moon because you fixed the tire. We could all use a little more of that kind of wonder and belief in our lives.
– Cousins are cool, especially new baby ones.
– April in Indianapolis apparently means that even though the thermometer says 82, it feels more like 102 at the Zoo. This will make your children whiny and tired and oh yeah, whiny. Five kids was about four too many. We did see lions and tigers and bears, but it was kinda underwhelming. Side note to the Zoo concession people: when it is 102 degrees outside, you might want to wait longer than “the ice cream is just barely frozen” before you serve it. Otherwise, you end up with disturbingly sticky ice cream goop EVERYWHERE.
– When your 4-year old foster daughter wanders away from the non-fenced-in playground in the middle of the Zoo, it takes a few minutes to realize that she’s gone, and then a few more minutes searching and thinking that surely, she’s just in a corner or underneath a slide or something. Then you have to accept that no, she’s really not there.Then the Zoo people have to radio each other to look for her.
When you see the spray park across the path and run to see if she’s over there and don’t find her, it’s nice when passers-by notice your face that says oh-no-where’s-my-kid-and not-just-my-kid-but-a-foster-kid-and-what’s-gonna-happen-when-the-state-of-Kentucky-finds-out-we-lost-her and say “Hey, are you looking for a little girl? She’s right down there with a security guard.”
It’s also nice when she’s sitting there shooting the breeze with the guard and he tells you that she had the wherewithal to go up to a nice lady and say, “I’m lost.” And then she told the guard that mommy was wearing a purple shirt – and she was right. She may be kind of a space cadet, but she handled herself really well – we were impressed. She’s got some street smarts.
– Those Zoo people know what they’re doing when they install a playground – you pay a truckload to get in, and then your kids just want to do what they can do for free anytime instead of taking advantage of actual Zoo resources. Okay, we did Zoo stuff most of the time. But still.
– Traipsing into the men’s room with four kids keeps you on your toes, especially when two decide they have to go stinky at the same time and someone has already left a souvenir on one of the toilets. Poop management deserves a high spot on any parent’s resume.
– Five kids, three of whom are within a little over a year of each other, don’t make for the easiest vacation. But you go make it happen anyway and they have fun – their favorite part was the Zoo, imagine that – and so do you and it’s even more fun to do it all with a partner who you love and have a great time with.
– One more: on the way home, the kids played a rhyming game where they had to find two words that rhyme. For one memorable set, the first word was truck. I’ll just let you imagine the second word. Yep, we’re fantastic parents!