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It's really a crying shame they weren't serving margaritas.

Today was the first company picnic my company has hosted since its near-demise four years ago. It was a gesture to employees to say, "See? We told you everything was fine now. SO FINE, in fact, that we're going to entice you all to come to the zoo and let your kids shriek at you when you tell them two hours of being in the Jupiter Jump is borderline excessive and that you refuse to be found an unfit parent due to THEIR crazy decision to become dehydrated! Come one, come all."

I didn't know if I was even going to bother going. First of all, we have a membership to the zoo and take the kids every couple of months (yes, that's a lot in my book) anyway. Second of all, I'm typically not a fan of large gatherings, especially ones involving heat, sun, and two heat- and sun-sensitive kids aged four years and under. Third of all, John had a wedding all day today, which meant if I DID take the kids, it would be by myself, and the thought of being one single human at the zoo with my two hyper hypos and all of the accompanying necessities (like the diaper bag for potential potty training mishaps, snacks and drinks for my apparently starving urchins, and let's not forget the clunky, heavy double stroller that gets stuck in tight places, for instance, THE ENTRANCE GATE AT THE ZOO) basically caused me to go numb with fear and loathing.

But then I thought, "what else am I going to do with them all day anyway? Take them grocery shopping?" And when that crossed my mind and I had visions of my last trip to the store with both of them (highlights: Quinn discovering static electricity and walking behind me poking me in the left butt cheek every five seconds, then becoming so angry when I shocked his hand while trying to save him from being flattened by a person shopping childless on a mission with a cart who didn't appreciate that people who shop with kids are incapable of accomplishing anything quickly, pulling his hand away from me with disdain and yelling, "STOP TOUCHING ME! STOP TOUCHING ME!" all the way to the register, while Bryce moped beside me whining, "I can't walk anymore; my legs are just so tired that I can't even walk. MOM! You're not listening to me. I need. To sit. In the cart! I'M TIRED!") I went numb with fear and loathing again and decided the company picnic at the zoo didn't sound so bad after all.

So we went, and met my sister-in-law (who works for the same company--I know, it's fodder for a whole other post -- or maybe even a series! -- and I've been holding out on you) and her kids there, but by the time they met us, Bryce and Quinn had already been looking at the animals and playing in the zoo park for half an hour. And here on the Fringe, half an hour is, well...a lot can change in that time. Like the fact that Quinn's head becomes drenched with sweat and his face becomes flushed and he becomes very irritable and whiny about everything (EVERYTHING):

Kristen: Let's go find the Jupiter Jump, guys, everyone's here!
Kristen: Okay, let's get you some water, bud. You look really really hot.
Kristen: Here's your water. Are you hungry, too?
Kristen: There they are! And there's the Jupiter Jump!
Kristen: Dude. You have water. Right in your hands!

The thing is, once Quinn is in one of those huge blow-up contraptions that only invite kids to jump and climb with so little control that they ultimately bash their heads together or, say, fall out of the non-existent "entrance door" (made out of cloth flaps--yeah, that'll keep 'em safely contained), he struggles to keep up with the rest of the kids. The poor guy is so clumsy and anytime he falls down, he just lays there. If an older cousin tries to help him him, he gets giggly and limp until the cousin gives up, his/her good samaritan act over for the day because who wants to waste their time on a drunk, clumsy rag doll? There were three large blow-up death traps at the picnic, and all the kids were going for the monster slide. Quinn kept his socks on and couldn't seem to figure out that the HANDLES ON THE SIDE were meant for holding on to as he worked his way up to the top of the slide, so he was like this flailing, dense cartoon character, taking two slippery steps up, falling down, looking confused, then starting over. In the meantime, all the other kids had climbed up and slid down at least six times. He finally figured it out, but then got a little over-zealous and in all of his sliding and jumping, got too close to that oh-so-protective flap I mentioned earlier and PLOP! fell out. Onto his head. TWICE. Both times, I was standing right next to the door hole, but had looked away from him for TWO SECONDS to attempt politeness while my sister-in-law talked to me (and by "talked to me" I mean gossipped about her co-workers' freaky family lives right before she realized they were standing right behind her and their kids were in the same contraption ours were).

Sister-in-law: So then she whipped her boob out and started nursing her toddler at the dinner table in front of all of her husband's business associates, it was SO. FUNNY. to see the looks on their faces!

Me: Uh huh. Uh huh. So then what did her husband sa---

Quinn: Roll. Tumble. Swish. KA-BLAM! AAAAAAaaaaaaAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaa!!!!

Me: What the-- for the love of God, kid, AGAIN??!! Come here, buddy. Let me help yo--


Sister-in-law: Crap, I just realized those were his kids I was talking about!

Me: Quinn, let's get your shoes on and head home, you're really tired, that's why you keep falling.

Quinn: NOOOOOOOOOONOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I will scream and shriek until I get my way, you easily-manipulated fool!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Gee, and to think I almost didn't go. I would have missed all this.