Friday, June 21, 2013

Just Another Day in Paradise

This morning I took Henry and Hudson* the crazy corgi to Fort Greene Park during off-leash hours. That's before 9 am for those of you not up on New York City's dog-park rules. Or just not up at that time, period.

Rayne is traveling for "business" this week. I put business in quotation marks because he is technically away for work, but he also gets to go out to dinner and drinks with people and sleep wholly undisturbed in a king-sized bed all to himself.

Meanwhile, I'm up at 5:55 am with Henry needing -- absolutely needing with every fiber of his being -- for me to read him The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Immediately. If I don't read it to him, he will spontaneously combust. That's a fact.

By 7 am, we're done with breakfast and the caffeine is starting to kick in. Hudson has to go down to do his business, which means I need to get Henry ready anyway. I might as well head to the park for some rare off-leash fun.

I put Hudson's favorite blue ball in the stroller and he goes berserk. He knows what we're going to do. We're. Going. To. Play. Fetch. FETCH!

At the park, Henry runs around picking weeds flowers. Hudson is positive he died and went to heaven. For a while, all is good in the world.


And then, as is wont to happen in the most treasured of moments, Henry has a Category I Poopsplosion. It's contained, but I have to change him. He won't sit in the stroller with his diaper full of poop -- can you blame him? -- but he also won't let me hold his hand to guide him to the bathroom at the top of the considerable hill.


I grab his arm. He lets his body go limp and refuses to stand. I pick him up.


Meanwhile, Hudson has gone to get water and returned without his blue ball. I see it sitting in the grass 50 yards away.

"Hudsy!" I cry. "Go get your ball!"

Henry is squirming to be put down. As soon as he feet touch the ground, he's off. Because he's a runner.

"Henry, vieni qui!" Come here! I run to grab him and yell at Hudson again, I'm not even sure in which language.

Hudson returns with a stick.

"No! Your ball!" I point to it in the distance.

He drops the stick, runs about fifteen feet, grabs another one and drops it at my feet.

A stranger tosses the blue ball in our direction. Clearly I'm making a scene, the unshowered woman with a squirming, screaming toddler under one arm, dragging a stroller with the other and yelling at her dog half in English, half in Italian. Yeah....

I give up on Hudson's walnut brain comprehending my simple request, grab the blue ball, put it in the stroller and march up the hill with Henry in the crook of my arm like a sack of potatoes resting on my hip.
Toddlers are just like a sack of potatoes. Photo credit: Grant Cochrane

I tie Hudson to the railing at the Welcome Center building, the one with the restroom. (It's off-leash hours not off-on-your-own hours.) The door is locked. I look at the hours: 9 am to 5 pm.

"There must be a bathroom in the park, right?" I say to Henry. The map's legend is surprisingly lacking in that familiar image:
Are you kidding me? I've (sort of) resigned myself to never having a changing table in any restaurant, in any borough in the whole of New York. But a public park?

It occurred to me there might be a bathroom in the playground clear on the opposite side of the park, down a huge flight of stairs. No, thank you. I changed Henry's diaper right in full view of everyone on the grass. He screamed. Hudson brought me a stick. Just another day in paradise.

A year ago, I would have been sweating and cursing and overwhelmed. Today... meh. The Moo Cow has seen worse, believe me.

My bloggy friend Jane at Nothing By the Book recently wrote an amazing post called, "They tell you 'It gets easier.' They lie."

"It doesn't get easier," she wrote. "You get better." 

The morning was not "easy." Nor did it faze me... not really. Not like it would have fazed me a year ago. On the contrary, I got to spend two great hours in the park on a lovely summer solstice morning with my two favorite maniacs. What could be better than that?

* No, for the 47th time, we did not choose those names on purpose.