Home > General > There are more balloon vendors in Central Park than Starbucks in Manhattan

There are more balloon vendors in Central Park than Starbucks in Manhattan

Let me start off by saying that most of the weekend was great – beautiful weather, lots of outdoor time, picnics with friends, sprinklers, sand, tired but happy kids – overall a lot of fun and time together as a family. But, as often is the case on Monday holidays, my husband went to work yesterday and I decided to adventure out again with the kids. After all, Saturday and Sunday had been so pleasant and I was feeling optimistic with the sunny warm weather.

Below are the two emails that I sent upon my return from Central Park on Monday.

To my husband:

Subject: There are more balloon vendors in Central Park than Starbucks in Manhattan

Finally back from our hellacious trip. Amazingly hellacious. I never want to see a balloon again. But we made it to Heckscher park come hell or high water and played for 20 minutes to make the surrounding hours of misery seem more worth it. And I got a good workout with both babies strapped on in 90 degree heat. And the kids are exhausted so bedtime should be quick and painless tonight.

How is your day going? I’m making taco salad for dinner.
Love you,
M
To the woman I was meeting for a day at the CP zoo and playground:
Subject: today
Good evening,
Things have finally calmed down around here and I wanted to send you a note before bed. I’m sorry about earlier – I don’t know what I was thinking bringing the kids into such ridiculous crowds, heat and chaos by myself today!
It was really hard to stay in one place for too long with all three kids – each of them wanted to get moving to a new section of zoo at a different time and they were hot and hungry to top it off. Then getting something quick to eat at the cafe turned into a noisy mess thanks to some screaming, tantruming kids at the table next to us. After James was on edge about all of the noise (with his hands over his ears the entire meal instead of eating anything), we kept running into balloon vendors on our way to the playground, several who approached us and tried to get us to take free balloons. James totally lost it by the 3rd vendor, and there were at least a dozen more on our windy trip through Central Park. It took over an hour to navigate a way from the zoo to Heckscher that didn’t involve balloons and by that time the kids (and I) were sweaty, stressed messes – James from the balloons and the rest of us from James’s terrified screaming. We played at Heckscher in the water for 20 minutes to cool down, calm down and for me to rest my back since I was carrying both babies – plus, I wanted my hours of heavy labor to result in something pleasant for the poor kids at that point. Of course afterward it took another hour to walk to CPW and hail a cab – on the way M found a little balloon and she and James fought about it all the way out of the park. So, meeting you at the next playground wasn’t even a remote possibility, though I would’ve liked to visit and catch up!
Michaela
I spent the day alone – much of the trip very unpleasant though none of my kids were being “bad.” This may sound crazy to some of you, but I am actually glad I was by myself. Would it have been easier with my husband there for company, to help carry a kid or man children at the zoo or playground? Of course. Am I glad he was spared the stress of the “epic balloon frenzy?” You bet. Would it have been easier to seek help from the friends I was supposed to be hanging out with in the same park? Perhaps. Was I worried about offending my friends or making them uncomfortable with James’s behavior? Actually, no. By method of natural selection we tend not to have friends who are made easily uncomfortable by a disabled child. In fact, I was probably more likely to have offended them by leaving without any notice. But, as I always say, having kids is not just a way to be popular.
The truth is that James needed the smallest audience possible if we were to leave Central Park alive. Balloons, or anything that could potentially make a popping noise (bubble wrap, plastic bags, fireworks, bonfires), are the number one phobia on James’s rather extensive list. And they are number one by a landslide – in fact, this phobia seems to be getting worse as James gets older, though many other fears have gotten a lot better. Now I know some of you are probably wondering why I brought him to the zoo if there are so many freaking balloon vendors. I swear, I have never seen anything like it, and we go to the zoo all the time. Usually there are one or two guys at the south entrance of the zoo and one to the north – I know to move quickly while distracting James and my toddler, one from flipping out and one from wanting a balloon very much.
On Monday there were clusters of them, every 10 yards or so. Several of the balloon-wielding lunatics approached us despite my death stares (I guess I need to brush up on that) and offered us free ones, which just about killed my daughter every time I turned them down. In between vendors, there were all of the kids with balloons – squeezing them, hitting each other with them, wearing them, improperly holding them – James pointed each child out by crying, telling me loudly about the balloon crime taking place, or my personal favorite, yelling at the child holding the balloon to “get away from me with that balloon, you!” and then crying. Sometimes his scream would be so loud and sudden that he would scare one or both babies, and then they would join him in crying.
Two hours after the zoo and many, many, many windy paths later, I gave up and decided to get to a street, any street, and find a cab – there is truly no place like home. I felt so bad for my children that the day had so little fun in it for all of our effort, felt sorry for James, felt frustrated with James, felt exhausted and hot and sweaty, and felt no small amount of loathing toward those balloon-wielding, plotting, devious maniacs that seemed to be more present than Nuts for Nuts carts. This is of course when we walked by Heckscher playground, our original destination.
James perked up. “Oh, good, we found it,” he said tearily. My daughter was sleeping on my back. After a moment’s hesitation, I woke her up and sent her and James racing into the playground sprinklers. 20 minutes later, wet, dirty and happy, we headed for home.
When I heard James scream this time, I turned around just in time to see my daughter gleefully running down the path with, what else. It was a very small, squishy, half-deflated purple balloon that she had apparently picked up off the ground and in her effort to keep it she was squeezing it very hard, sending James into a total frenzy. But she wasn’t ready to give up her prize without a fight – ironically my daughter just loves balloons. I thought quickly about how to best diffuse the situation without one of the kids totally flipping out.
Thank goodness for vendors. Two ice creams later we finally made it out of the park and into a taxi, where James talked about the fun sprinklers and my daughter talked about the penguins all the way home.
Advertisements
  1. No comments yet.
  1. April 3, 2013 at 12:36 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s