Monday, September 14, 2009

The Tree Of Panic

As Elijah 2 fast approaches, I’ve dubbed Saturday mornings as “Mommy Peace And Quiet Time.” Which means I get Elijah out of the house for a few hours so Diana can feel a quiet house for the last time in her life.

Luckily, Steve’s wife Pam also subscribes to the concept of a peaceful house. So I can always count on my brother and his wee ones to come along.

For the last few weeks we’ve been doing the free Lincoln Park zoo. Which is great in theory, but by the time you add in the cost of parking and uneaten Lincoln Park fried food, the bill quickly escalates to “Sorry kids, we can’t even afford Clown College” territory.

So I suggested we do something actually free last Saturday instead of fake free. Steve offered going to the Northbrook Mall. I asked him if we were attending a Tiffany concert or planning on racing elderly mall walkers. After not acknowledging what I said, he said the mall would be empty in the morning and the kids could run around and act nuts without getting busted by Paul Blart.

Once we got to the mall I realized Steve was right. The place was empty and somewhat contained, so we let Finn and Eli run along the Abercrombies and Fitches for a while. But then we spotted the Northbrook mall’s main attraction several floors below: A big plastic tree for kids.

Elijah and Finn suddenly needed to climb on the tree more than anything in the world.

“Cooome on. I want there,” Eli moaned as he led me by the finger.

Steve had to take Rory via the elevator so as not to lose her to the monster who eats infants under the escalator. But Finn and Eli were willing to take their chances and I had to jog to keep up.

When the three of us arrived at the big plastic tree, I suddenly flash backed to urban myth kidnapping story I’ve ever read. In my memory, every child who has ever been kidnapped in the history of the world was taken from a plastic tree at the mall.

As Eli and Finn gleefully chased each other, I ran around the tree like a madman, trying desperately to keep both of them in my site at all time. Less bizarrely scared parents peered over their coffees at me as I grabbed Eli’s arm and shouted at Finn, “Finn! Stay with me and Eli! Do not have fun! Watch out for the woman with the Coach bag! She looks like a gypsie! (To a man not looking at my son) What are you looking at? He’s not for sale, pervert!”

By the time Steve arrived with Rory, Finn was in tears. Eli could care less. He continued to run around the tree hoping to get kidnapped by someone less neurotic.

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