The living room looked as if the television had vomited cartoons everywhere. There was a Monster University blanket, a Lightning McQueen pillow, a Dusty Crop Hopper stuffed toy, along with a pile of superhero tee-shirts. Brianna was talking on the phone.
William squealed at me in his excitement. “Grandma! I going to see Batman and Superman and Spiderman, and I going ride a fire truck.”
Brianna handed me the phone and let Cara explain. They were having a big event at PSU, a ‘running of the colors’ (which involved throwing paint on runners as they passed). On Sunday there was a kids’ day planned, with children’s activities. There were going to be costumed superheroes walking around to greet their little fans.
Cara had to work but much to her delight, she was told that she could bring William to work that day. Brianna had to work but it turned out that little William was game for a weekend with his beloved ‘aunt Cah-wah’. I just had to meet her in Ridgeway.
I defy any grandma to deny that request in the face of all that excitement. It would have broken his little heart. I agreed, and instantly stuff began making its way to the car. One excited boy was strapped into his car seat. Grandma had time for a pit stop, and we were on the road.
It was all William could talk about: firetrucks. Superman. Throwing paint. Batman. Spiderman. He talked on and on until, evidently, he talked himself to right to sleep. His little head bobbed contentedly.
It was timed perfectly, and Cara parked right beside us. We had time for a quick bite and some rapid fire talk, and then William’s carseat was being buckled into Aunt Cah-wah’s car. She presented him with a handful of new toys to entertain him on the trip to her house. He endured his good bye kisses and then he was off for his weekend with his aunty. This weekend was a very big deal to a very little boy. William never looked back.
By all accounts, Saturday was a lot of fun. Cara posted pictures of the two of them covered in paint. William loves to throw stuff, so throwing colors AT people was great fun. He is a fan of baths, so he didn’t mind the soak afterwards. Their Burger King has an indoor play area as well as prizes in their kids’ meals. His aunty took him shopping. William was having a fine day, perhaps the best day ever. They returned home, watched ‘Frozen’, and William fell soundly asleep. For 11 hours.
Then came Sunday. It did not start out auspiciously. They no sooner started out then Cara’s little Versa was turning around. William pooped.
Once again, they headed out. The firemen were there to do some major PR with the little folks. Their very best efforts were lost on William, although he did pet one on the leg quickly after he was given a small bag of gifts from them. He was also adamant that he “did not WANT to ride the firetruck”.
It also turned out that the concept of meeting Superman, Spiderman, Batman was far more exciting than real life. He screamed his head off at every super hero sighting.
Cara thought to soothe him with a trip to an activity center. It had worked the previous day, however this day, a crowd of older kids were playing too roughly. Fearful for his safety, Cara took decided to leave. This brought on yet another screaming meltdown. He was so beside himself that he would not eat. He did not want to watch a movie. He was too agitated to take a nap. Cara was fresh out of ideas.
It was about then that I called, to confirm the pick-up time. Cara was very grateful that one small boy came with a ‘return guarantee, no questions asked’ policy. 100 miles away, I smiled. I recognized an exhausted, overstimulated boy when I heard him wailing in the background. Cara said. “We’re on our way!”
By the time we met up an hour and a half later, Cara was waiting with a frazzled, wild eyed expression. At her side, William was still crying loudly. He’d slept in her car, but it obviously was not enough. He was glad to see his mommy. We visited for a little bit while William ate two hot dogs and a mango smoothy. Cara kept saying, “I don’t understand it. I thought he’d love it”
When we got to our car, William turned to her and said, “Cah-wah, you go in your big car. I go with Mommy.” Cara looked stricken (but relieved) as she loaded things into our trunk. Trying to make a joke, I said, “Well, this has cured you of any baby fever, I imagine.” She replied grimly, “I ripped out my own ovaries a couple hours ago.”
We headed off into the sunset, and William talked. He told us all about Batman, and Superman, and Spiderman. He was still tired and over stimulated. By the time we pulled into the driveway, he was sobbing once again. He had finally decided that he did want to ride on that fire truck after all.