Family Time

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We were the epitome of class today. Justin and I took Robbie to Suffolk Downs. For those of you not familiar with the Downs, let me tell you it’s a cultural experience. Now, I come from Kentucky, and, until we moved to Boston, the only race track I’d been to was Keeneland.

Keeneland is everything racing should be. The place is always packed; the grounds and staff are impeccably kept. The horses are fast and the races intense. Standing at the fence as they come down the stretch at Keeneland is an experience everyone should have.

Suffolk Downs is the exact opposite. There wasn’t even anyone collecting admission when we got there, so we walked right in. I wheeled the stroller through the Keno machines and simulcast monitors, swerving around people who hadn’t showered in a few days and needed to get their racing fix. Outside, regulars had their own lawn chairs set up. Men wander around without shirts. The favorites always win at Suffolk Downs. They’re the horses that are just shy of looking emaciated.

So why do we go? Did you just read the paragraph above? We go for the culture. OK, OK. We actually needed to cash my ticket from the Derby (I won $109.50!) and figured we’d have a free day at the track. Plus, the planes landing at Logan come in right over the course, and, as Robbie is in a plane phase, that seemed like a good idea. Actually, it was just a convenient excuse.

There’s a playground and we thought it might keep Robbie occupied while we looked at the program. He liked it, but the whole thing terrified me. It. Was. A. Death. Trap. The slide looked like some sort of tongue, with no sides. I probably would have fallen off, never mind my 22-month-old son. Fortunately, all our efforts paid off. We left after cashing in on a trifecta. After being down $48, we walked away up $41.

From Suffolk Downs, we thought it best to continue with our family adventure by going to Chuck E. Cheese. I’m not even sure where to begin. The entire way there, Robbie told us he was hungry and wanted to eat. All we heard was, “Hungry. Hungry. Hoon-gree. Eat, please. Eat. Eat.” But, once he saw the games and lights and other kids, it was, pun intended, game over. He did not want to sit down and eat. He did not want to drink anything. He just wanted to run. This became problematic when our food actually did come, and I had to eat with a struggling toddler in my arms. We managed to survive the meal without much trouble.

At home, it was time for some yard work. Continuing with our classy streak, Robbie had to be stripped down before he was allowed to enter the house. He sat in mud puddles, shoveled mud in his mouth, and did his best to scrub down his toys. He picked up leaves and swept dirt. The only way to deal with the mess was to strip him down. He got to the door, naked, looked at me, and said, “Bath, Mama. Bath.” And took off up the stairs faster than I’ve seen him move in a while.

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