Over the weekend, we braved the stares of the masses as we tried out our new bear and dog Harness Buddies at the Aquarium.
I found them on amazon several months ago, quickly ordered two, and then promptly did not use them. While I could say that I pride myself on not caring what others think, I have been hesitant to deal with the arched eyebrows of strangers, or even (god forbid) a comment or two. But in the end, faced with the enormity of taking two 2-year-olds to a crowded aquarium whose basic instinct is to each run in the opposite direction of the other, I caved.
This is what happened: I had John, hubbie had Sam, and we were off! I was certain that I had the harder challenge — J. is a wanderer and he lacks a sense of danger. If we are at the playground, for example, he will routinely escape from me, choosing to gaze up at the tall lamp posts outside rather than go down the slide. S. is the opposite — always aware of where we are, always seeking our approval and attention.
So I was quite surprised when John reached for my hand. He preferred to race up and down the aquarium levels with me — didn’t much care for the freedom of taking off solo. In contrast, the picture of my 6’5″ hubbie being pulled along by Sam was priceless and remarkable for his obliviousness to us both. Did we stop to look at any fish? Yes, but not often. They were both much more interested in the ambience: the dark lit up eerily by the blue and purple strobe lights; the surprise of a diver in the tank, blowing bubbles out his mask while feeding the fish; their own reflections in the tank windows.
The truth is, there were a lot of stares. But much like a shark moving deliberately through the sea (think “Jaws”), I looked straight ahead and dared comments. I had my whole script at the ready, I wanted to use some of my gems: Oh, do you have twins? Do they have autism? but I didn’t get the chance. The only plaintive plea: “Where can I get one?”