We had dinner at a pizza place in the mall (last night’s trip to the organic vegetarian restaurant did not go over well with the boys) and they were playing Man vs. Wild on the TV, or whatever that show is with the host named Bear. The sound wasn’t on, but he appeared to be demonstrating how to get out of quicksand. He was up to his chest in what looked like thick mud. He used a large stick to pat down the mud in front of him, making it more solid, and then slowly pulled himself up and forward. He had to repeat the process several times before he freed himself from the muck- he was sort of laying on top of it and dragging himself forward until he reached his destination. Today I am Bear. Except I don’t have a stick to help me – these boys have it and they are smacking me and each other with it. It’s Me vs. 3 year old and 7 year old. Why don’t they realize I’m trying to help them!?  (Bear, have you thought about trying your stunts with small children, and maybe a few cats in tow?  I think it would really add something to your show).

So, we’re at the mall. It has been a really long day. I think it’s safe to say we’re kind of sick of each other at this point. We went to the mall this afternoon so Sam could ride on the famous Pirate Train and we could check out some stores. (It would have been a trip to purchase some new toys to replace those left behind, but the fighting and resistance to cleaning up the current toys before we left the apartment was so great that it made my head explode and I had to declare there would be no new toys). We walked around a bit but the kids were hungry so we went to the pizza place. Aiden whined and complained about the size of plain cheese pizza we would order. Sam almost fell asleep in his chair.


I drank two beers (it really had been a rough day) and enjoyed the classic 80’s ballads playing in the mall…  Lady in Red, Right Here Waiting, Almost Paradise…. I’m knockin’ on heaven’s door!

Anyway, we ate and then went to ride the Happy City Fire Truck (no Pirate Train at this mall) and I quickly realize I have absolutely no idea what is going on. How does this work?  Where does it go?  My son is looking at me with such excitement. He already has the little firefighter hat and jacket on. He’s boarding the fire truck and I have no idea how to pay or where the thing goes.

The teenage girl working the Happy City Fire Truck shift says something about “tarjeta” and the fourth floor. So it goes around the fourth floor (though we’re currently on the second floor) and I need to pay with a credit card (tarjeta)? I hand her a credit card and she says cash only. I hand her cash and she asks me how much I want to put on the tarjeta. I’m so freaking confused and frustrated with my horrible Spanish, I just want to run out of the place and I think I did at one point say ‘forget it guys, we’ll do this when dad gets back because I can’t handle this right now.’ But it was too late. I knew I had to persevere so I just said something like ‘take the money, two kids.’

A nice mom saw me struggling and offered to help. She explained to me in English that the ride was 1000 pesos but you had to buy a card for 1000 pesos and then you could add money to the card if you wanted to go up to Happy City on the 4th floor and play games. Seriously?  Why so complicated?

The boys were on the fire truck and I told Aiden to wait for me at Happy City or wherever the @#$%@ fire truck was headed and I would meet them there. I didn’t think it would go that fast so I’d just have to run behind it. I was relieved when the nice mom told me it would return to the same spot – I told Aiden not to worry and to relay the message to Sam that I would see them when they got back. Sam still screamed at me to RUN MOMMY RUN! As the fire truck pulled out clanging its way through the mall.


Action shot

After all the fire truck excitement, and the 2 beers, I really had to use the bathroom but both boys were doing everything in their power to prevent us from getting there. Sam was dragging. Aiden was a whirling dervish. Sam got hung up window-shopping at Quicksilver and saw a skateboard he wanted to buy. Aiden couldn’t resist the opportunity to tease and insisted that the skateboard would be his not Sam’s, and they went back and forth about that until Sam was lying on the floor in tears. I yelled at Aiden and told him I really needed his help to get through this and he rolled his eyes and said blah blah blah or something like that, which of course made me lose my shit at which point I dragged Sam by the arm and Aiden by the face to the nearest bench where I said we were all going to sit until everyone was ready to behave and be helpful.  And I silently imploded.

After Aiden agreed to be helpful (which he said he would do in return for 20 hugs and 20 kisses – for even he knew there was absolutely no chance of any toy or candy reward in his future today or maybe ever) we continued on our mission which was to get to the bathroom and then the store for milk and bread and then a taxi home. But again, the quicksand. Sam could barely walk. He was moving at a snail’s pace, all the while trying to attach a tiny lego chain to a lego dump truck, which he calls dumper. He was so focused on dumper and so resistant to my pleading. If I touched the toy he would scream and stop moving; with the toy he slowly shuffled. He is impossible to carry at this point, especially when he’s mad, and he had his backpack on. I weighed my options. I really had to go to the bathroom. Then, I saw the fire truck and it was headed in the direction we needed to go. Hey Sam, (I’m so clever) let’s catch the fire truck! So he sprints, seriously sprints with his back pack flying up and down and catches up to fire truck and just keeps running behind it, past the bathrooms, around the second floor, all the way back to where we started. Aiden is laughing hysterically and we are back to square one and I am about to pee my pants.

Eventually we made it to the baño- we ended up in the special one just for niños. It was the first one we passed and I was desperate. The toilet was 2 inches off the ground. (This place is so child friendly! Aside from the cars).  Sam refused to go and then half peed himself while we were in the grocery store ten minutes later.

Somehow we made it through the grocery store, which is attached to the mall.  Sam had a massive tantrum in the check out aisle because I wouldn’t let him buy the American Chopper toy that was sitting there on top of the magazines. Who left that there?!  Some other parent who wouldn’t buy it for their screaming child?  Sam ran out clutching that thing and when I finally got it free I just chucked it towards the aisle for the next kid to find and ran out of the store screaming, on the inside.

We got into a taxi waiting at the mall entrance, even though everything I’ve read says you’re supposed to call them. But I have no phone so it’s not an option.  Our taxi driver did not bring us to the nearest ATM or dark alley. He was a very nice older man who had lived in Atlantic City and worked in a casino and tried to teach Aiden some Spanish. Aiden screamed all his Spanish words out the window into the night. Peces!  Rumbo gato microanda por favor!  Blanco gato!  Muchos puchos veces!  The nice man asked me questions and I had to ask him to repeat himself several times- my Spanish is so crap and Aiden would not stop screaming in my ear – Hola!  Hola! Microanda!  (Hello hello microwave!) We need some serious help with our Spanish. When the driver dropped us off Aiden said ‘Muchas gracias mi amor!”  When I told him he had called the taxi driver his ‘love’ he howled and continued his whirling dervish routine until I literally forced him into bed a few minutes later.  I read one bedtime story- stupid SkippyJonJones who I’m hating right now with his Spanglish- and then Aiden said I was lazy cause I would only read one story. Sam insisted on sleeping with the stupid lego chain and dumper.

Are there really only two children?  Have we really only been here two days?

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