Monday, July 20, 2009

Millennium Park

Yesterday (Saturday) we had a playdate with the Hannum kids (Maya and Rex) and Pat & Anna's daughter Jovy. The swingset/slide was the focus and every kid climbed up onto it at some point. Everyone seemed to get along. Nikko tolerated Maya on the seesaw swing with him, but also opted to run around the backyard exploring on his own. Right before we went outside, my package of 5 dinosaurs that I bid for and won on eBay arrived. I was so excited to finally get the Allosaurus I had been hunting. Nikko seemed to like the pterodactyl and carried it around for most of the day. We had lunch outside (until it started drizzling) and after everyone left we had a bit of downtime inside before the boys were raring to go outside all over again.

Today Denis and I planned a trip to Millennium Park in downtown Chicago. I had not been back to the park since 2003 when we got engaged at the very edge of the park. I have never seen Cloud Gate a.k.a The Bean. We had to get a bunch of gear together, including the triple stroller, plus a picnic lunch, drinks, snacks for the kiddies, toys to keep them at bay if needed, changes of clothes in case they went into The Fountain (an interactive display of faces with a water feature) and a beach towel. We finally got out of the house before noon! Our first stop was a farmer's market in the Pilsen neighborhood where we got to meet a woman named Patricia who went to high school with Denis. She has a bakery and had some yummy muffins to share with us which we took to the park as our dessert. The kids were getting really hungry and loud so we left there and went to Denis' work garage where we parked, unloaded and make a small hike to Millennium Park. There was a Chinese Festival going on at the same time so we saw some Chinese dragons in the distance and heard drums and singing. We picked a spot on the big lawn to spread out the banig and have lunch. The boys surprisingly stayed nearby but loved the freedom of running around on the grass. Ronin seems to love running and diving/falling flat onto the grass. Nikko looked skeptical of his surroundings at first, but he started twirling and dancing around so he must have warmed up to the situation. We put the kids back in the stroller and walked around toward The Bean but couldn't get nearer because of the performers. Eventually we got our chance to go up to see our reflections in The Bean. The kids looked at it but didn't really know what to make of it. There were lots of people around and Nikko was getting antsy in the stroller. I thought we could let him free and that he'd stay near us at The Bean, but when I let him free he ran out of the Bean and did some running up and down the open area in front of The Bean. Denis was back underneath The Bean while I stayed near Nikko. He made me nervous because he wasn't paying attention to where he was running. Nikko wouldn't listen to me when I tried to pull him aside. In fact, he was running away from me. I shadowed him as he ran, however, because I didn't want people to think no one was looking after him. Suddenly, Nikko pivoted and ran completely away from me and toward a huge crowd under The Bean. I panicked because he ran faster than I could keep up with him and he started weaving in between people. I began weaving, too, and then I lost sight of his red onesie. I think I pushed someone aside trying to look between people but didn't catch a flash of red anywhere. I almost started to call his name when I saw that Nikko had run back to the stroller where Denis was. I sighed internally but was a tiny bit shaken that I had lost him for two or three seconds in the melee of people. We strapped him in and headed out. Nikko had seen a wrapper on the ground that looked like it was for FS so he started to whine for them. I was getting anxious because of the whining, also because I was mad at myself for losing sight of him in a large crowd. I instructed Denis to navigate us out of the park and head home, but I forgot that Crown Fountain was the last stop of the day. Meanwhile, Nikko was getting louder and more impatient. I think he wanted FS from the food bag, but he was squirming so much I thought maybe he would walk alongside of us. I took him out of the stroller and he started wailing and refusing to walk. He struggled against me when I tried to pick him up. I could see people walking past, trying not to walk into his swinging legs, and I thought they might be wondering why I couldn't placate my struggling boy. I picked him up as he wriggled in my arms, put him in the stroller and whipped out a lollipop. That calmed him, but I felt like crying. We continued to Crown Fountain and I put Crocs on the boys. Audrey fell asleep in the stroller but we kept it close by as the boys were allowed to run and trounce around in the water at the base of Crown Fountain. The boys loved it, almost didn't want to go. Denis and I stood on either side of the area they were splashing, but I really didn't want them to venture into the bigger area of the fountain because there were so many people there. I knew that I couldn't watch Ronin and keep an eye out on Nikko while Audrey. All the kids slept on the way home. Once inside the house, however, the boys melted down and I'm still not sure why. I think Nikko wanted to stay outside, and quite possibly he just wanted more FS. I was able to placate him with pizza, which told me he was very hungry, and then mac cheese when he started up again. Ronin wanted crackers galore and I ended up heating up some nuggets and just serving an early dinner.

Tomorrow [today] is Nikko's 3rd birthday! We're going to mom's house around lunch so that Dad can be around to celebrate. Then we'll go home and wait for Denis to come home. If the weather is good, we'll play outside, then hopefully have cake after dinner.

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