The Boy, The Girl, The Tot, and I left the house this morning at 9 a.m., headed for playgroup. We rolled back onto our street just before 7 p.m., after dinner out. It was a full day. If it were in an 80s film, it'd be shown as a musical montage.
My favorite part of the day was not dining at Otom (more on that later), or doing a mad dash through the Treasure Store (ditto), but the 1/2 hour I spent picking ripe mulberries out of the trees in Lincoln Park with The Boy and The Girl in view of North Pond.
Stopped at the new Mobil to fill up The Great White Moose, and buy coffee (for me) and donuts (for the kids) at the new, hotly anticipated Dunkin Donuts. Then we were on our way to meet Cheryl and Sarah at the Nature Museum.
We managed to find a decent parking spot on northbound Stockton Drive. It was a tight spot, but I squeezed The Great White Moose in there. I let The Tot and The Girl out to run around while I pulled out the stroller and got our stuff. There was a boy of about 10 or 12 walking down the path, and he came up to me to tell me that The Girl had gone up to the two homeless men sleeping on the benches in the gazebo. I don't think she had -- it is unlike her to go up to any stranger, although she had been sitting on the benches just outside the gazebo -- so I just said, "OK." I suppose I should have thanked him, because he made a face and muttered something about "...disgusting." Oh well. I get that homeless people can be dangerous, but I don't know that something is going to happen to my kids in broad daylight while I am standing 10 yards away.
We made our way around the pond to the Nature Museum and met our friends in the Hands-On Habitat. From there, we went to the green house, Lawn Nation, and to do an activity in the activity/resource area. By then, Cheryl's kids were ready for a snack (as was I), so we headed downstairs to eat something, with the intent of going back to the exhibits. Unfortunately, Cheryl's daughter started to melt down at the end of lunch, so they went home. We attempted to do the same, but got waylaid along the way. I changed The Tot's diaper, and I think I must have left the cloth diaper and cover on the top of the changing table, because I don't have it now. The museum was very crowded with camp groups, so between that and the 7 kids (with 7 different interests!) among the 3 moms, I felt very frazzled. Although I'm happy that they offer a free/donation day, I try generally not to go to the museum on Thursday mornings because it's so crazy.
The Tot, who protested going into the jumpseat of the e3, fell asleep in it five minutes later, on the way to the car. So The Girl, The Boy, and I picked mulberries while he slept in the stroller, parked underneath the shade of the mulberry tree. The breeze blew, and it was quite pleasant to be under the shade of the tree, picking off the fruit in the heart of Lincoln Park. We filled up a half a sandwich-size baggie full of the berries, then walked over to the playground, where The Boy and The Girl played for a bit.
The Tot woke up, and The Girl declared that she had to go potty. Her pediatrician had called earlier in the week to request another urine sample, so we walked over to their office in St. Joseph to give the sample. It was the most frustrating and longest part of the day, as The Girl had performance anxiety about peeing in the cup. We spent 90 minutes in the doctor's office, alternately in the waiting room and in the bathroom before she went. At one point, I had promised ice cream if she went, so when she finally did go, we went off in search of ice cream.
It was hot and sunny and we were all pretty tired, so we walked as far as Pot Belly on Diversey before stopping for ice cream. The Girl had chocolate, The Boy had a vanilla cone, and The Tot had a vanilla frozen yogurt. I sprinkled mulberries in both The Tot's and The Girl's cups. The Tot did a fantastic job of eating his yogurt with a spoon held in his right hand.
This time on the way back to the car, The Girl fell asleep in the stroller. So we stopped to pick more mulberries from a tree on Stockton Drive. The Tot was covered in purple mulberry juice; he repeatedly sat down on the slope under the tree. The berries from the tree on the west side of the park were more ripe, juicier, and bigger than those we had picked earlier.
By then, it was 3: 30 p.m. and I realized that we didn't have much time to go home and change before dinner. Instead, we got into the car and I drove over to the Treasure Store. We did a mad dash through the store to get re-outfitted in clean clothes before dinner. I broke my own rule of washing everything bought at the TS before wearing it, but it seemed necessary. I'm somewhat proud of my resourcefulness in this situation. I could have gone to Gap and spent $100 to re-outfit us all; instead spent $15 that included a skirt (Express) + top for me, polo romper (Polo) for tot, shorts (gymboree) + polo shirt for boy, and dress for girl. We used water and a few cloths in the car to clean up, and changed in car in parking lot.
Then we headed down Clybourn to Halsted and down to Fulton Market, to Otom. The timing was perfect. Our reservation was at 5:15 and I pulled on to Fulton Market at 5:05 p.m.