July 4, despite being a holiday, was a busy vacation day for the Cootie clan. After a late morning (thanks to some work-related stuff I had to do), we hit the subway and headed to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Upon walking in, the kids were not enthused, but I was determined to see everything, even if I had a whiny CootieBoy to contend with (“I don’t know ANY of these artists and I don’t WANT to know any of these artists!”). We wound our way through the halls where I got to see Warhol, Monet, Rothko, Matisse, Picasso, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Lichtenstein, Pollock, Degas, Magritte, Wyeth, Mondrian, Johns, and Cezanne. CB complained the whole time until eventually he came into a room and declared, “Finally! A painting I recognize!” It was Picasso’s ‘Three Musicians’ which was briefly discussed in one of his school classes a couple years ago. And of course, he recognized Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ (thank you, Doctor Who). And while the rest of the family probably wasn’t as thrilled as I was to see all these artists up close (or as close as one could get with the overly protective security guards forcing you to stay several feet away from everything), I thoroughly enjoyed our excursion and hope that some day when the kids are in an art class at school they’ll begrudgingly say, “Yeah, I saw that one the summer we went to New York and my mom dragged us through the entire museum.”
After that, we made our way to Rockefeller Center where we wanted to show the kids a variety of things. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, my old office building (right across the street), the ice skating rink (which functions as an outdoor restaurant in summer), the Nintendo store (which perked up CB quite a bit). We also hit up the Lego Store and a couple other places before heading over to Times Square in an attempt to find a Houdini Museum (that ended up being closed for the holiday).
By that point we had stopped to sit for some lunch but the kids were tired from all the walking, so we headed back to the apartment, where Denis and I dropped off the kids before heading to Long Island City to pick up our tickets for the evening’s big event. We had found a restaurant that was only charging a $40 per adult cover charge (kids free) to have a seat for the Macy’s fireworks that night. We took the subway and then walked for about 15-20 minutes toward the water, where we found the street we needed was cordoned off and being monitored by police. After a quick call to the restaurant from my phone, the police let us through the blockade so that we could pick up our tickets for the evening. Once back at the apartment we chilled out for about an hour before heading out.
At this point, CB wanted to wear his new NYC sweatshirt, but I said absolutely not, since it was 90 degrees outside. We made our way to the restaurant, and as we walked there, grey clouds started to form, and it started to get windy. This is when CB started to lose it, complaining about not having his sweatshirt. From there, it wasn’t long before he went into full tantrum mode, which I attribute now to him being overly tired and worn out from a long day.
Fortunately, his tantrums are no longer the toddler variety (throwing himself on the ground). No, his tantrums are to stand immovable, arms crossed, stubbornly refusing to engage at all. Good times. His complaints on July 4: no sweatshirt, no place to sit, it was about to rain. Once inside the restaurant (which was really an outdoor cafe), we couldn’t find seats (we got there about an hour before fireworks were due to start). I found a table of people willing to scoot over so that two seats on the end could be had.
I went back to where CB stood with Denis waiting for food, and told him that I had found him a seat.
“I’m not going to sit next to a bunch of drunk people!”
I said, “They aren’t drunk, they are playing cards while waiting for the fireworks.”
“I want my sweatshirt.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t let you bring your sweatshirt, but it’s the middle of summer and entirely too hot to wear a sweatshirt.”
Cue the wind and mild sprinkly rain. “I don’t want to stand outside in the rain the whole time!”
Ugh. There was no winning with this kid. And then, horror of horrors, his burger was delivered, and they put LETTUCE on it. At that point he was livid at the evening’s turn. I thought his head was going to spin around 360*.
I all but dragged him to the seat I had procured, but as soon as we started to eat, the skies opened and the torrential downpour began. Fortunately, the restaurant had a warehouse space that they opened up just off the patio, and everyone ran into the space to escape the sheets of rain that had suddenly arrived.
CB took his burger over to a spot away from us to begrudgingly eat it, while Denis, CG and I debated over the likelihood that the rain would eventually stop so the fireworks could continue. We were afraid the night was going to be a wash (literally and figuratively). After a few minutes of CB’s self-imposed solitude, I went over and sat next to him. I didn’t speak, I didn’t do anything but sit. And once he finished his food I asked him if he was done, to which he said yes. “May I throw away your plate?” I asked him, to which he said yes. I took away his trash and then went back to sit next to him. We continued to not speak to each other, but that was okay. Sometimes words are not necessary when you are waiting for someone to calm down and they need the chance to do that.
Then the rain shifted into a mild drizzle. We realized the storm had passed, so we rushed back outside and managed to secure a small table with four chairs. We wiped them down as best we could and waited to see if the fireworks would go on as planned. With the seats procured, and the rain at an end, and food in his belly, CB’s funk started to lift as well, and he slowly came out of his bad mood to speak a few sentences at us as we sat there waiting.
And suddenly, after a few more minutes, the nearby skies lit up with fireworks. And just like that, the drama of the outdoor restaurant, the rain, the lack of sweatshirt, the initial lack of seating – it all went away and the four of us stood and took pictures, and recorded video, and ooh’d and aah’d over the fireworks that were on display. Of the four barges in the East River, we could see the fireworks from two of them, and the restaurant DJ put on some dance music for us to listen to while they went on. The kids declared the fireworks awesome, and there were many we liked that we had never seen before.
Once over, we ambled back to the subway, talking about how we had had a good day – despite the rain, despite the temper tantrum, despite the general fatigue we were already beginning to feel from the two days of constant activity.
We all slept soundly that night – which was a good thing because the next day proved to be just as tiring, and just as tantrum-inducing as the day before it.
How’s that for a “to be continued?”