Saturday, January 2, 2010

dead mall

People often say to me "I don't know how you do it." I'm sure most of the time, it's meant as a kind of compliment, or as a form of support. Sometimes it touches a nerve, though, as if I am up against some kind of impossible task -- this version of hearing is more of a reflection of my own self-frustration at not doing better at coordinating our daily life. It shouldn't seem so daunting to take care of two kids. I shouldn't be so lazy, tired, or whatever other self-defeating word comes to mind.

The fact is, just like most of the parents I know, I'm making it up as I go. I have a lot of good moments, though sometimes the bad moments seem much louder. I have routines that have worked for several months, and new possible additions several times a week. Toddlers have their own timelines for development, and what might work for one of my twins might not work for the other.

Although it's been a mild winter here in Portland, it's been nearly impossible for me to bring the boys outside to play more than twice in the past 3 or 4 weeks. They still resort to crawling when they're in a new environment, and all the rain has just made it too wet and cold for them to get that wet. Besides, they both have colds.

We all get a little stir crazy at home, but with all the school kids on vacation, I haven't felt comfortable taking them to the science museum's discovery room or the play area at the big mall. Being by myself, I just spend all my time corralling the boys, and that's really no fun for any of us.

Last week in a moment of desperation, I loaded us up and went to our closest mall where our Target is located. We almost never venture outside Target, the mall is just a vast, dark, one-story ghost land. When you google this particular defunct shopping center, is one of the first entries.

Imagine my happiness, then, to realize that this is the perfect location for the boys to blow off some steam. We park the stroller at the tiny play area, but I let the boys run around. When other people are around, they don't seem to mind the squeals and squeaky shoes - they ask questions about twins and tolerate the boys with a smile.

Here's Shoghi at the entrance of the weird Asian-style portrait studio shopfront. His newest word is "flower."

At this mall, I can let the boys run around in the halls in opposite directions. It's great to be able to let them have such a wide berth.

Max, so confident on his legs now, walks towards the door to Home Depot.


  1. Great idea! Way to think outside the box :)

    I used to take a 3 year old I was watching up to the little train station nearby just to sit on a bench and watch the trains go by -- not fancy steam engines, just regular old commuter trains, and he could NOT have been happier!

  2. I used to take B there for that exact reason. Empty play area and lots of room. Perfect for rainy, cold days.

  3. Awesome place to play! I love it, "dead mall." I'm really lucky being in San Diego - we can play outside all year. I wonder if your boys would like/stay in a wagon? That might be a good way to get them outside without the crawling in the wet ground. I know they don't get to stretch their legs, though. Do you have any indoor play places? They often have free visits/coupons. They may be germy though! We have a coffee house here with a play area that's $1 or $2 per kid. You can sit in the play area with them or watch them play from the "bar" while sipping tea and reading. It's called Java Mama - maybe you have something like that?

    The videos are SO cute. Do they actually have squeaky shoes?