This past weekend was Mother’s Day, as I’m sure you know, and I got to celebrate in all the ways one might expect. Harlow woke up super excited and greeted me with my favorite Mother’s Day phrase ever: “Mom! How many more days until my half birthday???”
“Ummm…three more days Harlow.”
“ONLY THREE DAYS!!!!!” Then she ran off to tell Mazzy.
Happy Mother’s Day to me.
We actually had a super complicated weekend because, as per usual, we had to navigate both mothers and mother-in-laws to figure out when and where to spend time with who. My mom wanted to see both my sister and me, but my sister needed to be in Westchester to see her mother-in-law in the afternoon, and Mike needed to go to the house on Long Island, which are basically on opposite ends of the earth. I ended up sending Mike to the house on his own on Friday night to do what he needed to do, with the instruction to get back to my sister’s by brunch on Sunday morning in the city. Having Mike gone enabled me to make a myriad of plans on Saturday that Mike would have deemed totally impractical and ridiculous.
I love being impractical and ridiculous.
My initial plan was to take the kids to my mom’s for a sleepover on Friday night and then we would all go to a carnival at the Nassau Coliseum the following day. But then Mazzy got upset because her friends were having a sleepover and she was not. So, I asked my mom if we could stay over her place on Saturday night instead so that I could arrange a sleepover for Mazzy on Friday night. Then we could drive out to my mom’s on Saturday morning, go to the carnival, sleep over Saturday night and then drive into the city together on Sunday to Mother’s Day brunch at my sister’s. My mom was game. BUT— come Friday afternoon, I could not find someone who was available for a sleepover with Mazzy. So, now Mazzy was upset because she has no friends (“Yes, you have friends, they just weren’t available for a last minute sleepover!”) and Mike had already left for the house so we were on our own in the city. One of Mazzy’s friends was available on Saturday, so to appease Mazzy, I decided we could have a playdate in the morning before we went to Grammy’s house. Then we got an email from another friend reminding us of the Waterfront Kite Festival in Brooklyn Bridge Park that she had invited us to, but we had never RSVP’ed. Oops. So, we all decided to have one big playdate at the Kite Festival. My mom said that the carnival in Nassau Coliseum was open until midnight, so we could just make that an evening thing.
Let’s be clear— if Mike had been there, he would not have agreed to any of this. But I was just like— “Wheeeeee!!! Let’s do it!”
“How about we meet at the Brooklyn Bridge and walk there?” my friend Lucy suggested.
Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge is an event in itself and it was a beautiful day. We took the subway to the Brooklyn Bridge stop (all the kids were on their scooters) and then walked over, against the throngs of people who all seemed to be walking in the opposite direction. There were also some very angry bikers. You DO NOT want to mess with the bikers going over the Brooklyn Bridge. There’s a bike lane and a walking lane, but scooters seem to fall in a grey area. Bikers think the scooters should stay out of their lane and walkers think scooters should stay out of theirs. So, we got yelled at by pretty much everybody. Also, if you ever want to get a good photo on the Brooklyn Bridge without random strangers in it, DO NOT go on the weekend.
Once we got over the bridge, we walked down to the waterfront in DUMBO, which is under the Manhattan Bridge, a totally different bridge than the Brooklyn Bridge. Confusing, I know. Fun fact! DUMBO got its name because it’s an acronym for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass. That’s where you will find Jane’s Carousel and tons of people hanging out and taking pics on the rocks. That area is a ton more built up than it used to be with a lot of trendy restaurants along one side of the park.
For some reason, I assumed that the Waterfront Kite Festival was in the field next to Jane’s Carousel, but, once we got there, and saw no kites in sight, it was clear that it was not. I checked the invitation.
“It’s in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Isn’t this Brooklyn Bridge Park?”
Yes, it was. But. Apparently, Brooklyn Bridge Park has expanded over the years and now contains not one but six separate Piers. The Kite Festival was on Pier 5, which, let me check my map, was approximately a 25 minute walk.
“Kids, you can scoot there, right? We’ll be along the water and it’s a beautiful day!”
They scooted. We walked. It was, in fact, a perfect day for such a walk. All I had to do was drown out Harlow complaining so that I could enjoy it. When we finally arrived, Harlow said it had taken five hours and was the longest walk of her life. None of that was true.
“Look at the kites, Harlow! So many colorful KITES!”
All was well.
We found our friends, flew our kites (purchased en route from K-Mart) and had ourselves a blast. Do you know I have never flown a kite on my own? I don’t remember ever flying a kite as a kid. And Harlow has never flown a kite. The only kite-flying experience I can recollect is one time when we were on the beach with someone else flying a kite, who let Mazzy take a turn. I think Mike helped her and I just took a photo for kite-flying posterity. “Look, Instagram! We flew a kite!” Anyway, I had no idea if I would be able to fly a kite and hoped the kids wouldn’t get too frustrated with me while I tried and failed to figure it out. I got especially nervous when I saw that step one of “flying a kite” is putting the kite together. Is this even right??? I had no idea.
Lo and behold, the kite was put together correctly and WOOHOOOO!!! I am great at flying kites! Or, more accurately, flying a kite is really easy. Even for me. I think that’s the point.
Harlow, on the other hand, was not so good at flying a kite. As soon as I got it going, Harlow took the kite off my hands and started running wildly in every direction. She seemed to think that successfully flying a kite meant constant momentum. Her kite careened in every direction, nearly decapitating a nice looking couple having a picnic on the grass.
“STAY STILL!!!!” I screamed at her. “The wind is only going in one direction!”
Then her string got caught on a poor woman’s cast and she tried to run away from the situation, getting her foot tangled in the string in the process. That was a scene. Finally, we got everyone free and she learned her lesson. Kite flying is not a contact sport. Standing still is the way to go.
We all spent the next couple of hours having a successful kite flying experience. This came to an abrupt end when Mazzy’s kite got tangled with another woman’s kite and instead of figuring out how to untangle it, the woman just took Mazzy’s kite and broke the string to get them unattached. Interesting technique, lady. Thanks for sacrificing my kid’s kite to save your own. Then Mazzy’s friend decided to step on the lady’s kite, causing the lady to get pissed, and then I decided, “You know what kids? TIME TO LEAVE!”
We’d been there for awhile and were about to go anyway. But yeah, I did not want to have my name end up on some Brooklyn Parents Message Board saying something like, “And then that lady from Mommy Shorts started a brouhaha that totally destroyed the Waterfront Kite Festival. She should stay back in Manhattan where she belongs!”
After that, we went to the playgrounds in Pier 6 (there is a really awesome swing park) and then took a taxi home. No way were we walking back over the bridge and upsetting the bikers again.
From the taxi, I called my mom to tell her we were going to head to Long Island now.
“So, you are on your way?”
“Ummm…not exactly. I have to go home first, pack a bag for everyone, get the car and then drive out.”
“What? So where are you now?”
“Heading back into Manhattan from Brooklyn.”
“Ilana! You are not going to get here until dinner time!”
And this, my friends, is why Mike likes to be the planner. I told my mom it was fine, I’d be super quick packing up, and the kids could nap in the car. The carnival closed at midnight, so we could go after dinner. We arranged to meet at a pizza place off the highway and then we could leave one car there while we drove to the Nassau Coliseum. (Right now, Mike is reading this blog post, practically having a heart attack, and thinking— wait, you did what? I am so glad I was not there.)
Everything went as planned. We met for pizza, realized we were not wearing the appropriate clothes at all, and that it was probably going to rain. We ended up putting on everything that could possibly keep us warm from the bag I packed and wearing oversized sweatshirts that Grammy happened to have in her car. We got to the carnival at about 6:30pm, which I might add, was perfect timing to avoid the crowds. The day people had left and the night people hadn’t arrived yet so there were no lines for anything. Plus, most people do not go to outdoor carnivals when the forecast is predicting rain. Woohoo!
The carnival was a ton of fun. There were plenty of rides for the kids to go on but they were both too short to ride the really nauseating rides, so I didn’t need to accompany them on anything that would cause me to get vertigo for the next five days.
They both love funhouses more than anything else at these carnivals and for some reason there was a plethora of funhouses. We went in four of them.
Sam won the girls both a stuffed animal, but they were both super tiny so I didn’t have to worry about fitting them in the car. The best moment came when Mazzy spotted the petting zoo. They had goats, llamas, alpacas, ponies and camels. I have never seen Mazzy so happy. She named them all and spent well over an hour feeding and talking to them. I really have to get her a dog.
This Alpaca’s name is Alpaca. I swear she came up with more interesting names for the other animals.
After their hands were full of farm animal saliva, I thought it would be the perfect time to get something to eat! Don’t worry, there was a hand sanitizing station. I got Harlow a funnel cake (the girl likes anything with powdered sugar) and Mazzy a blue slushee thing.
“Don’t tell Daddy!” Mazzy said.
Mike is way stricter about sweets than I am. “Eh,” I said. “He’ll be happy that he got to relax instead of participating in this ridiculous day.”
Then Mazzy told me that on a scale of 1-10, this day totally fell off the charts. “Best day ever, Mom.”
And that my friends, made running around like a crazy person, trying to please everyone totally worth it. Mazzy was happy. Harlow was happy. Grammy was happy. Sammy was happy. Mike was happy. But most of all, I was happy.
“Thank Grammy,” I told Mazzy and Harlow. “It was her idea.”
And they did.
I feel like telling you what actually happened on Mother’s Day the next day would be anti-climatic, so I’ll give you a very brief synopsis: We drove back into the city, Mike beat us to my sister’s place (of course he did), and we ate bagels.
It poured the entire day, so we spent it inside watching TV. We deserved it.
I feel like in most relationships, the mom is the planner with the schedule, but in my marriage, it’s the opposite. How does it work in your house?