I’m sticking my neck out a bit in hopes that Jodi and I aren’t alone in what happened to us today. Actually, today was all my fault. Allow me to explain …
We took the older boys to tai chi class, then all of us (the entire family, including Betsy), went to Como Zoo in St. Paul. It was hot, but we were drinking lots of water, and there was a nice breeze blowing. No worries, right?
Now, our kids are generally gung-ho for a visit to a park, a zoo, a mall, you name it – at least until we get there. The enthusiasm generally wanes after a little while of walking, and they start to complain they are tired, hungry, bored, etc.
So as we’re going through the butterfly garden (slow going in “bumper-to-bumper” pedestrian traffic), Gabe keeps crouching down in the path, sitting down, flopping around in front of people. And I’m getting after him about it, because I figure he’s getting lazy and grumpy and now is not the time.
Finally he basically sits on by foot, and I give him a light kick in the butt and say, “Gabe! Keep moving!”
Jodi puts her arm around him and asks if he’s feeling alright.
“He’s fine,” I growl.
We’re headed back to the car, but Jodi, Emma and Trevor need the rest room. Bren, Gabe and I decide to walk the little rainforest loop near the entrance. Halfway through, Gabe says, “Dad, I need to get out of here.” I look, and he’s pale as a milk jug – even his lips are white. We rush him out, sit him down, and give him sips of water. Jodi asks if he’s gonna be sick. He thinks a moment, then looks at me and says, “I need to get to the bathroom …”
We made it about halfway. I was trying to steer his through the crowd and keep my cupped hands in front of him. When he erupted, those big ol’ hands successfully made the mess twice as bad by keeping it close to us. Gabe’s shirt, shorts and shoes; my hands, forearms, and shoes. Once bystanders realized what was happening, the sea of people parted, and we made it to the bathroom … just in time to clean up.
There is no worse feeling in the world than to blame your child for something they didn’t do, except maybe to not recognize there’s something genuinely wrong until it’s too late. Combine the two, and it’s miserable. I apologized to Gabe. He thinks puking on me was pretty good revenge.