Thursday, July 31, 2008

Twintertainment or Twinfection? My Love/Hate Relationship with Mall Amusements

[Composed in our pre-blog days when the twins were two. In light of our recent strep-isode, thought it might be worth a posting... CRL]

As my twins and I sat in the “sick” area of our pediatrician’s office awaiting our “Lage, Party of Two?” call to action, I finally confronted the moral dilemma I’ve avoided for the past two months.

But first, let me digress…When I attempt to identify the most beneficial innovations of the past one-hundred years, what comes to mind? Television? Modern medicine? The Internet? Sure.
From a personal “Mom-of-Two-Year-Old-Energetic-Twins” point of view? Two things come immediately to the fore: 60-Second Dry Nail Polish, and the Circular, Enclosed, In-Mall Play Area.

When the weather outside is frightful, when West Nile mosquitoes are lurking, when we want to work on our social skills with a non-sibling peer, nothing beats the “Mall Playground."

Of course, I was slow to warm to the concept. All the horror stories of germ-infested ball pits, phlegm-slimed moon-bounces, and never-cleaned fast food playplaces were hard to ignore. After a winter that entailed no less than three emergency room visits, dualling cases of RSV and a recurrent bout with The Croup (as a worthy nemesis, it deserves capitalization), you can understand my initial reticence.

Lulled into a summer sense of health security after two full months with nary a call to the pediatrician, my courage was finally mustered.

From the moment we wheeled our double-stroller to the narrow, Mommy-monitored entry/exit, all three of us were hooked. Like junkies seeking a fix, we now pile in the car at least three times a week…new-found playground bound.

At last, single-handedly I could take the twins to a place where they could be physically challenged, safely confined, and socially stimulated.

Sadly, our happy playland honeymoon was short-lived. All the brightly-colored attractions acquired a sinister undertone when our daughter woke up vomitting the day after an extended play spree. Who was the malcontentious culprit dwelling in the petri dish playground? Could it be Foot-Fungus the Frog? Strep, The Sequoia-Shaped Slide? Or were the villainous germs contracted while crawling through the Triangular Tunnel of Tuberculosis?

So back to my moral dilemma: If we continue our frequent forays to Play Paradise, am I irresponsibly exposing my twins to bacteria central? If we halt our utopian excursions am I depriving my twosome due to my own hypochondriacal germ-phobia?

Our daughter’s diagnosis? Severe strep throat. Incubation period from time of exposure? Three to five days. Eureka! We hadn’t succumbed to mall-magnetism within that window of time! As soon, as the antibiotics have done their duty, and her brother recovers from his case, (contracted five days after hers) we’re making our McArthurian mall return in triumph.

Which brings to mind another twin Mommy-appreciated invention of note: Anti-bacterial, no water needed soap. post signature


Barbara Manatee said...

So funny you posted this, this week! I took mine to a McD's play place for the first time this week to beat the heat, have lunch and play with some other twinkies. I was hesitant, but then realized, honestly, they probably encounter just as many germs at an outdoor playground that is certainly NEVER cleaned AND subject to animals, too. And despite the many visits to the pediatrician this past year, he assures me they will be the healthiest two once they enter school as they will have built up an immunity already. I can hope! Meanwhile...they are healthy this week and I'm headed to the Dr in a few hours for a confirmation of a sinus infection. Fun.

Tracy said...

I was just cringing thinking of all the germs the whole time I was reading, thinking "what about using antibacteria gel?" So funny that is how you wrapped up the post. :)

Living in the cold midwest, no doubt we will spend time in the mall playground burning off the surplus of energy that comes with being sequestered indoors for months at a time. I'll have to toughen up, germphobe that I am.

Jamie said...

We have that EXACT same play land at the mall just down the road from us. And yes, in them I often ponder the numerous variations of germs that could be lurking. But in the end the play land wins out so that I can keep my sanity in place!!!!!

Missy said...

Cheryl, It is funny that you posted this story. We are all sick today & I started thinking - we went to Chuck E. Cheese just a few days ago. Yuck! Germs!!!

Gibson Twins said...

Great post, Cheryl! The kids always point and go crazy when they see the mall playcenter, which, in my opinion, SHOULD NOT BE in the food court. What kid wants to eat when they could possibly PLAY?! I never let them (yet) because of how germy I assumed it was and you just confirmed my feelings on that.

But then I will turn around tonight and feed the twins from the same spoon, go figure :)

Renata said...

I am there with you (well I was until we moved at least an hour from the nearest indoor playground). I also love that anti - bacterial soap. What a great post. Thanks for the laugh.