we let oliver take a gander at Småland through the glass and he was quite eager to go inside, even after i notified him he would have to go in alone. first, we went upstairs and consumed lunch. brian had macaroni, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, french fries, and a daim torte. i had the penne with marinara. this cost $11 and change. oliver had a sandwich from home, which he ate in between beggings for french fries.
then, we proceeded back down to Småland, whereupon oliver grew excited. we filled out the little form, put his jacket in a bin, and eyeballed his height on a measuring stick. he was a little shy, but come on... the kid's 3.75 years old. we waited in line and then approached the worker bee. she had him stand in front of another measuring stick and he was like two or three inches too short. i wailed, "BUT HE'S THREE AND A HALF YEARS OLD," having not yet done the proper calculations. she shrugged and looked sorry and we began on our way. i was heartbroken. i wanted to cry. i was more upset than oliver by this overt display of heightism.
oliver proved himself to be very resourceful and asked if he could go to the other playroom. it took me a second to remember the toy department, which had been eclipsed in my memory by Småland.
we went up the stairs and oliver tentatively played here and there. brian asked me with much excitement if i had seen the toy oliver was playing with.
and i was like... didn't you play with those in the 70s (as ikea's was a direct rip off)?
and it was like he had never heard of such a thing ever as playskool's cobbler bench. as soon as he saw oliver was getting up from the old hammertime, brian sort of danced back and forth a little, from one foot to the other, to make sure oliver was really leaving and then he dashed over there to play with it himself.
meanwhile, violet sat on a chair on a shelf and rocked.
i can't believe i didn't tell you about last saturday. boy howdy. oliver was invited to former classmate beck's fourth birthday party at this place called planet pizza up in plano-town. it was like someone took a little bit of sandy lake amusement park and dragged it inside and served a piece of pizza on top of it. this place had four amusement-style rides, in tiny form, a bunch of money-killing ticket-giving machines, and one of those big structures kids can climb way the hell up in and drop down into a ball pit, when they're ready. there was even a little section for kids two and under with little tikes business up in it. all the rides were free and each kid got a handful of tokens. oliver was into getting tickets just for the sake of getting tickets. he had no idea they could be exchanged for worthless crap. it was kind of funny because at the last minute, he kind of spied the crap-selling store and we were like, "hey kid, if you want to exchange some of those tickets, you can go over there and pick out a piece of crap. but the tickets, they'll be gone." and, after much soul searching, he decided to exchange some of the tickets for a little packet of tiny, photocopied money bills.
but anyhow, before all that, there was an hour of doing whatever the heck you wanted to do and i was so impressed that oliver got on the mini-scrambler all by himself. i got a little freaked out because the youthful ride attendant had to spin each car on its axis by hand as they revolved on the central axis past him and he spun oliver's car and i was all, "oh god don't spin him!" because i was terrified he'd be pushed past his comfort zone and want to cry. or throw up. but he did fine. it was hard to read his face, but he didn't fall apart. or puke. then, he went on the bumper cars. but he was way too short to reach the pedals, so brian had to cram himself in there with him. even more impressive, he went on the alpine sleigh ride with brian. i think the attendant was confused by the law of centrifugal force, as he instructed brian to climb in on the inside seat of the car, thusly squishing the bejeezus out of oliver on the outer perimeter. and then, even more impressive, oliver later went again by himself. the swinging pirate ship scared the crap out of him and everyone else around by making these terrifying noises, like it was going to fall apart at any second. and it was kind of weird to watch each end swinging up into the spaces where the ceiling tiles had been removed. he didn't want to ride that one again.
at some point, everyone shimmied on over to the eating place and oliver ate both of his soy cheeze pizza
slices i had brought him and then he didn't give a shit about the birthday cake, opting instead to head back to fun town early.
meanwhile, violet was as cool as a cucumber and not overstimulated by the overstimulating place.
they both crashed super hard upon their arrival in the car and brian and i managed to fritter away something like 2.5 hours in the auto while they slept. or, while oliver slept. i recall nursing violet while brian disappeared forever into borders books.