Now that the temperature is back where it should be, the boys and I spend a lot more time where we should be: out. Biking to the park, walking around the neighborhood finding garbage piles taller than Daddy, checking out the bug-eyed tropical fish at the pet store, sucking down chicken mei fun at our local Chinese place. Anywhere but cooped up in the Laid-Off Habitrail and potentially pissing off the downstairs neighbors. (We haven't heard anything from them for a while, btw. Perhaps they've been raptured.)
When we go to the park, Robert steams ahead on his bike (going 944 thousand 900 million miles per hour, natch), and I run behind him with TwoBert, ensconced and cackling in the Phil & Ted's. Honestly, there are few places I'd rather be than scampering around the boys. (Yesterday, the three of us lay in the grass for about 45 minutes pointing out stuff in the sky and deciding what the clouds looked like. Amazingly, Robert felt many of them looked like race cars.) But I can already see how this warm-weather cycle will pose a particular challenge, since it will be TwoBert's first since he discovered OPINION.
Before, it was easy. Robert and I played soccer, or threw a baseball, or ran around playing tag, and TwoBert was happy crawling around and learning about this strange, soft, green substance that couldn't be cleaned with Murphy's Oil Soap. Now, however, TwoBert has formed his own obsessions that rarely jibe with his brothers'. So much of the afternoon makes me feel like I'm wrangling two very irritable geese. With opposable thumbs.
A typical sequence goes like this: Robert pulls out the soccer ball and kicks it to me, and TwoBert throws the tennis ball to me. I multitask for a while before Robert decides he doesn't like sharing my attention and kicks the ball way the hell in the other direction. I make Robert go get it while I play catch with TwoBert, so Robert jumps in and swipes the tennis ball from TwoBert's hand. TwoBert starts crying, while Robert decides it's time to play tag. But TwoBert doesn't want to play tag, goddammit, because "Daddycatch! Daddycatch! Daddycatch!" He likes a good chase, though, and eventually he buys into running around with us. Which means Daddy has to run around on all fours, because for some reason watching me run around like a doggie makes TwoBert completely lose his shit and fall over in debilitating laughter. Robert sees an opportunity and blind-sides me, and before long tag has devolved into a scrum in which Robert shows off the moves he learned from Stone Cold Steve Austin and TwoBert head-butts my ribs. At which point Daddy suggests that maybe it's a good time to lie down and look at clouds some more.
When we're on the way home, I sometimes see other parents out with one child and a second one clearly on the way. And I'll say, "Gaze into your future!" In as mock-ominous a way as you can when you're racing with a giddy five-year-old and your lungs are about to burst into flames.