We stopped at McDonald’s today because 1) Monopoly is still happening and 2) it is the only establishment within 50 miles of our home with an indoor play area in which my child can expend her excess energy since the outside world is soaking wet.

The play area looked a little something like this.

McDonald's Play Area Schematic

Julia would climb up the net thingy while her Daddy ticked her feet from underneath. Then, when she crawled through the tunnels to the tube slide, he’d hide and suprise her when she got to the bottom. He’s pretty stealthy and has great timing, so he made her jump and scream every time. Then, he’d tickle her and they’d laugh and laugh until she’d shout, “Let’s do it again!”

We’d been there a while and Dave had run out of hiding areas, so we told her she could go down one final time, then we had to go.

She started up the net, and I tiptoed across the floor, ninja-ed myself in the little area next to the slide (which is represented by the yellow circle in the schematic above) and gave Dave a wicked little grin and a thumbs up. This would throw her for a loop. She’d never expect Mommy to jump out! Ha ha ha! This was going to be great.

And so I waited. And I waited. She was trying to make her last time stretch and kept fake falling down the net climbing thingy. My legs started to get sore, so I got on my hands and knees. She still hadn’t reached the top. I sat on my knees and leaned on my elbows. Dave was encouraging Julia to climb! Fast! Go! And then he noticed me, with my big butt sticking up in the air. He pointed out the giant window behind me. And the customers looking through it. Damn, that’s embarrassing, but it’s too late to give up now. I shifted my position and waited some more.

Julia finally reached the top. I made myself as small as I could. I put my head against the plastic tube and my heart started to pound faster as I felt the vibrations of toddler feet hitting the slide entrance. Here she comes. This is going to be great! I heard her slide down. She was at the bottom. Now’s my chance! I jumped out from the side and yelled, “Boo!” and laughed wildly, just as she and her Daddy had before.

She turned her head and looked at me. She gave me a little smile and forced a, “Ha ha.”

I tickled her tummy and said, “Time to go!” I got up and walked over to gather our stuff, smiling to myself.

Julia climbed out of the slide, grabbed her Daddy’s hand and said, “That wasn’t funny at all, Daddy. Mommy’s not very good.”

He quietly told her, “That’s okay. She tried. She just needs some practice.”