M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Wednesday, April 12, 2006  

Fix Your Wagon

M. Small and I didn't have a very nice walk yesterday evening.

I blame it on Mexico. If you've ever been there, you know that there are always people walking up and down the beach, hawking stuff. You could spend millions of pesos a day and never get up if you wanted to. This suited us fine, because we wanted to get something to bring back for M. Small. We selected a plastic figurine of Batman, suspended below a little plastic parasail and attached to a spool of string so you can fly him like a kite. We had seen Mexican beach vendors flying them all day, and it looked pretty easy.

So then we get home with the thing, and take it to the park with M. Small. Now, theoretically you want some wind on a day you're going to fly a kite, but we failed to take into account the fact that we don't have any experience wrangling a complicated assembly with a dozen strings coming off it while part of it is trying to blow away, and it turns into a tangled mess. Not for the first time, we wonder how the Mexican beach vendors do it, and the little para-kite goes into the kid's wagon in a wadded-up ball.

That's not even what happened yesterday.

No, that happened last week, and I wasn't even there. Trash was the one who had tried to break it in. And then on Sunday after I got home from Vegas, M. Small and I went to the park and I tried to untangle it and launch it again. Same result. Maybe I could have accomplished more inside, out of the wind, without M. Small speeding away from me at a dead run every five seconds and forcing me to stop, catch him, and start over, but we don't live in a perfect world, after all. I did manage to get the thing in the air for a few seconds, but the strings were still kind of twisted and Batman didn't look like he was parasailing so much as he appeared to riding a gallows. Probably just as well that M. Small didn't appear to be remotely interested in it. I wound it up and back into the wagon it went.

You notice I keep talking about the wagon. Yes, he's riding in a wagon these days. And no, it's not one of those cheap ones that are basically made out of a foil lasagna pan attached to the chassis from a Matchbox car. This is a Radio Flyer, all wood and metal with knobbly rubber tires. It's a sweet ride. M. Small loves it, probably because unlike his stroller, I don't have any way to strap him into it. He calls it his "car."

So last night, we get to the park, and I notice that one of the wheels is dragging. There's a weird noise coming from it, and Batman is pressed against the inside of one of the side panels at a very weird angle. Yes, M. Small has pushed out a loose string that has now gotten wrapped around the axle, and we're not going anywhere.

Okay, I figure, I'll just squat down and unwrap it. I'll snap it, if I have to. Wrong. This is Mexican thread, not approved in the United States because if you yank on it hard enough you'll just cut off your damn finger. And it's wrapped around that axle so tight that about a dozen loops of it look like one solid piece. I'd start cutting, but we're three blocks from home and I forgot to bring my machete on my walk in the park with my toddler.

But there's nothing for it but to try to untangle the mess. M. Small doesn't feel like sitting in the wagon when it's not moving, so I have two choices: let him fall and hurt himself trying to climb out, or take him out myself and put him down. Which create ideal conditions for me to work on fixing the wagon, as long as I don't mind doing it in five-second stretches between chasing him down and bringing him back to out home base.

Even that wouldn't have been so bad, except that at about the same time we came up lame, a guy had driven up, gotten out of his car, sat down on the grass, and put in earphones. I know, you're thinking, "So what? Dude had earphones. He's fine." Except he wasn't just listening to music. He was meditating or something, doing all these weird arm motions and singing along in a language and melody that couldn't have been more unfamiliar if I'd heard them on Star Trek. And here I was, stranded nearby with this kid who kept screaming past him. Literally.

Guy: Oomanuramooneee....Imalynaniyuramuuuuu...
M. Small [Excited screaming]
Me: Come back here. [Pick up child, carry back to wagon]
M. Small [Indignant screaming]
Guy: Heemeeyarimuniduranoomoooo...

Repeat for a half hour. And it's not like I could scoop up the kid in one hand and the wagon in the other; like I said, it's a solid piece of workmanship. I was almost wishing for one of those lasagna pans on a Matchbox chassis after a little while, one that I could fold up and stick in my back pocket. I could have called Trash to come get us in the car, but she was (a) doing homework, and (b) all but crippled after having oral surgery an hour previous. Calling her to my rescue would have made me feel like a cad. I might as well ask her to wrangle the jack and the spare tire for me.

Eventually I just gave up, stuck M. Small in the wagon, and hauled it home, hoping I wouldn't pop the tire that was dragging on the pavement (which actually started reluctantly turning again after a block, though not as fast as the others). Impatient with the poor time we were making, M. Small kept trying to stand up, forcing me to invoke the rule that if he stands up, we stop and I sit him down again. Which may in turn force me to create a new rule, namely that he rides in the damn stroller from now on.

Anyway, we eventually got home, and Trash watched him happily run around the yard chasing bubbles for a while as I hacked away at the string with a steak knife from the kitchen. Eventually I freed up the wheel, and gave him his last brief ride of the evening as I brought it around back and parked it in the garage. And he only stood up twice the whole way.

Naturally, Batman went as far away from the wagon as I could get him. I'm tempted to put him in the Trash before he disables the stroller as well, but for some reason I can't yet bring myself to do it. I don't know why. The kid prefers his Mexican Slinky anyway, and that hasn't gotten tangled up in anything worse than the phone cord.

Today's best search phrase: "Plastic baggie domination." The scary thing is that I can almost imagine how that would work.

posted by M. Giant 9:31 PM 4 comments


You're putting Batman in Trash?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 13, 2006 at 4:15 AM  

That was very amusing. I can actually visualise that as I have a (very quicky growing) toddler myself. She will be three in June 06, she's a bit wild too.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 13, 2006 at 4:17 AM  

My wagon has a seat belt, but I'll be damned if I can find it on Radio Flyer's site. It is just like the one you described, but it has a piece of plastic rising from the back and a little seat belt attached.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 13, 2006 at 10:12 AM  

Upgrade to the Radio Flyer Pathfinder Wagon.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 14, 2006 at 10:54 AM  

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