A few weekends ago, it was over 100 degrees in NYC. I was alone with Mazzy while Mike was away on a golf weekend. (Feel free to take a moment to yell profanities at my husband for leaving his wife and child in favor of selfish leisure activities. At least when I abandon my family, it is for work purposes.)
Staying in our apartment was not an option because a) our air conditioner was not cooperating b) there’s not enough space to run around to sufficiently tire a toddler out for a nap and c) there was a small chance I’d throw myself off my balcony due to sheer boredom.
As I fed Mazzy breakfast and changed her into the lightest apparel I could find, I quickly planned “Operation: Beat The Heat” which involved finding toddler activities in a five block radius of our apartment that were air conditioned.
Unfortunately, successful operations require some trial and error.
TODDLER ACTIVITY PLAN #1: THE LIBRARY
Books and toys in just one block walking distance. What could go wrong? How about every parent in the East Village having the same idea resulting in a children’s section hotter than the sun.
TODDLER ACTIVITY PLAN #2: THE MOVIES
Winnie the Pooh was playing at a theater two blocks away. I had never taken Mazzy to the movies before but I bought a ticket based on the following false assumptions:
1) She would be so entranced by the huge screen that she would sit still for 60 minutes.
2) Everybody in the theater would have kids, so if Mazzy did freak out, I would be in an understanding place.
3) There is nothing more harmless than Pooh.
I armed myself with a sippy cup and a snack trap of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. Then I escorted Mazzy into the packed (albeit wonderfully air conditioned) theater just as the lights dimmed and the coming attractions filled the screen.
She sat still for about five minutes.
By the second preview, Mazzy was up, off and running, full speed towards the screen.
When she got to the front row, she plopped down on the floor in the middle of the aisle, craning her neck upwards to see the movie. All eyes were on me as I ran after her, scooped her up and brought her back to our seats.
Two seconds later, she was up and running towards the front again.
This time there was some snickering from the audience. (Thank you, thank you very much.)
I ran after her once again, brought her back to our seats and attempted to occupy her with copious amounts of cheddar bunnies. She inhaled the bunnies and was promptly off again.
(If you’re wondering why I didn’t put her on the inside while I sat on aisle, you underestimate both me and my daughter. I was on the outside. Mazzy is quick, resourceful and undeterred by a pair of legs.)
On the third time down the aisle (as people continued to laugh at my inability to control my child), I decided to let her stay there. If I sat in the first row, she would be sitting next to me on the floor. While it might not be a stellar parenting moment, at least I’d give the appearance of supervision and attentiveness.
I ran back to retrieve my bag, the bunnies, and the sippy cup. Then I gave a few parents my best “sighing smile” as I hurried to the front and took a seat next to my daughter.
You know what Mazzy did next?
GOT UP AND RAN TO THE BACK.
(Did I mention how well-behaved everyone else’s kids were?)
Once I got to the back, MAZZY RAN BACK TO THE FRONT.
At this point, I became aware that I was more of a spectacle than the movie. I also realized that the rest of the kids were staying in their seats because they were several years older than my daughter.
I thought about turning to the audience and shouting “I’m not a horrible parent! I’ve never taken her to the movies before! It’s just REALLY FUCKING HOT!!!”
But decided to pick Mazzy up, take her to the back of the theater and try watching the movie while standing up and holding her in my arms.
It was at this exact moment the coming attractions ended and the actual movie began.
Winnie the Pooh filled the screen.
“BEAR!!!!!” Mazzy shouted as loudly as someone yelling “FIRE!!!”
I have never fled a place so quickly.
TODDLER ACTIVITY PLAN #3: PC RICHARDS
Four blocks away, 100 flatscreens, endless room to dance and no judgement.
Am I the only one that has attempted to take their toddler to the movies? What do you do to beat the heat with your kid if a body of water isn’t nearby?