Thursday night was Brendan’s end of the year school picnic.  This is only the second time we’ve gone to it.  We didn’t even know the school had one when he was in Kindergarten, and he had no desire to go in first grade.  It wasn’t until second grade that he actually asked us to go.  That year it was because his principal was retiring so in addition to the picnic itself they were doing a big send off for her.  He wanted to go because of that.

He must have had a good time because we went again this year.  Luckily the weather cooperated a whole lot better for his picnic than it had for Cameron’s.  And thankfully Cameron seemed to have gotten over his gastro-intestinal bug in just 24 hours so we wouldn’t need to worry about finding a bathroom at the picnic.  So we packed ourselves a picnic lunch, and headed up to the school.

I’m sure we could probably have parked down at our friends house where we usually pick up Brendan from school.  It’s only a couple blocks from the school itself.  But knowing we’d need to lug the cooler, chairs, blanket, and keep track of three kids made us decide instead to just show up at the picnic 30 minutes early and get a good parking spot.

It’s times like these that I love having the DVD player installed in our van.  Because Brendan has always shown a propensity to throw fits and meltdown if he’s unable to watch a cartoon to it’s completion we have a fairly firm standing rule that we don’t use the car’s DVD player in town.  It’s mainly used when we travel.  There are exceptions to the rule, such as when we arrive early somewhere to get a good parking spot (situations just like this one) and when we do that we choose a DVD that is the same length as our wait.  (The other exception is when we go looking at Christmas lights.  We bring all our holiday DVD’s and let the kids watch Christmas specials while we drive around)

Once it got close to time we collectd our stuff and headed over to where the picnic was being held.  Both years we’ve let Brendan pick our picnic spot.  There’s lots of space to choose from; there’s a blacktop area where they set up all the food, and then a huge grass field surrounding it.  Most people picnic in the grassy field, or at least along the edge of the blacktop.  Not Brendan though, both years he chose the smack dab center of the blacktop.  I don’t know what it is about him wanting to sit there, no one sits anywhere near us and it makes me feel so self conscious like I’m on display.  Next year I think we’ll let Cameron choose our spot and see if he puts us anywhere different.

The picnic was not without it’s hiccups, though thankfully they didn’t impact us.  Your options were to bring your own food or you could purchase a hamburger and chips from the school.  Personally dragging my three kids through that line seems like more hassle than its worth, so we always bring our own food.  Brendan’s best friend and his family weren’t so lucky.  They’d ordered their dinner and when they went to get in line after the picnic started they were told that the food wasn’t ready yet and they’d have to wait.  That poor mom was by herself, with three hungry kids, and on top of that they were only stopping by the picnic for a short while before they had other obligations as well.  She was not a happy camper.

After dinner the kids were able to all go down to the school playground and play on the equipment.  The playground is right in sight of where the picnic is held so a lot of parents just send their kids down to play and stay up in the picnic area to socialize.  I’d love to be able to do that too, but unfortunately with Kaylee as little as she is we obviously need to go down with the kids.

For a while Kaylee was content climbing the stairs and going down the slide over and over and over again.  Despite being a full sized slide she didn’t want any help and ever single time she got to the top she reminded me NOT to hold her hand.  There was only one small incident with the slide.  She was at the top waiting to slide down when a kid around Brendan’s age started to climb up it.  My princess had no problem looking at this kid and telling him, “Hey fwiend!  You’re not supposed to do dat!”  Then she looked at me and tattled on him, “Mommy, he’s cwimbing the swide”  I told her to say excuse me please, which she did.  He looked so bewildered at the whole exchange that he jumped down off the slide and ran off.

Eventually she tired of the slide and wanted to go and swing.  For obvious reasons there aren’t any baby swings at the elementary school, and she’s not yet big enough for a regular swing.  However, the school has a couple of swings which are shaped like chairs.  So I took her over to them to see if any were open.  As it so happened Cameron was using one of them, so Matt and I had the two kids take turns swinging.  Once the second swing opened up, and there was no one waiting to use it we began to cycle all three kids through the two swings taking turns over and over again.

Knowing that Kaylee hasn’t yet learned the dangers of the swingset yet, we made sure to keep her well back when it wasn’t her turn, and to tell her multiple times that it was dangerous if she started wandering too close to the swings.  Despite all of our warnings she still had an accident with the swings.

She and Cameron were in the swings and Brendan was waiting his turn.  Then I heard a mom talking to a little girl around Kaylee’s age and telling her she’d have to wait her turn.  Well, my kids had all had a dozen or more turns so I let Kaylee swing for another minute (she’d just gotten on) then told her and Brendan that it was time to let someone else have a turn.  We could have continued to let the kids swing on the second swing but what happened next made us give up the swings all together.

I slowed Kaylee’s swing to a stop, and told her to climb down and get off to the side again to wait for her next turn.  She climbed down and took one step…in the wrong direction.  Well, there was no time to correct her mistake because Cameron’s swing was already in the middle of it’s forward momentum.  BAM!  He crashed into her and sent her tumbling head over heels.  We got his swing stopped and ran over to check on Kaylee.

She was bawling like crazy, but miraculously there was no blood or any major injuries that we could find.  We checked her over thoroughly and moved all parts of her body to make sure they were in working order and they were.  The incident was enough to make Matt and I ready to leave, but the kids still wanted to play.  Even Kaylee.  So we let them go play for a few more minutes figuring it would be better for Kaylee to leave with a good experience instead of the bad one.

About 5 minutes later we began herding our kids toward the parking lot to go home.  By the time we got to the car it was clear Kaylee was going to have one souvenir from her ordeal.  A nice big purple bruise was forming on her upper arm where Cameron’s shoe had gotten her.

Since the incident Kaylee has shown no signs of being scarred by her experience.  She’ll happliy tell you all about her owchie and continue on with her day.  No fear, no clingyness, nothing.  She’s completely content to play as she always has.  Poor Cameron is a bit more traumatized by the whole thing.  He’s apologized to Matt and I a dozen or more times for hitting Kaylee like that.  We’ve tried to explain that there was nothing he could have done to prevent it (it’s not like swings have air brakes after all).  Despite our best efforts Cameron still feels very badly about the entire situation.

I’m beginning to worry that Kaylee is not destined to make it to her third birthday and, based on this week at least, I’m starting to think that if she doesn’t Cameron is the one who’s going to do her in.  I think it’s about time to invest in a padded suit for my tiny little klutz.


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