A couple local movie theaters are offering free movies during the summer. Kids films. Good stuff. The catch? You have to get there early to get a spot. This has been the snag for me. Getting all three kids fed, clothed, and out the door takes... a while. Not to mention I have to look semi-decent too. But today I decided to get brave and give my kids a good (free) time.
As I was locating the right parking spot I saw them- the army of moms. With hoards of kids in tow. Heading towards the theater. In droves. I was half an hour early, but apparently that wasn't enough. I semi-panicked in the car. I had talked up the movie to the kids all morning. (and bribed them with it last night to go to sleep) A movie was going to be had.
So I was in a rush. I had the twins on foot (slooooow) and the baby in a stroller. Now, I had never been to this particular theater before. (bad idea: always do a thorough reconnaissance mission before bringing kids into the mix. Duly noted) So when I saw the gigantic flight of stairs leading to the entry, I freaked. I saw an upper level and an adjoining walkway to the theater. Bingo. I scanned the area for an "alligator" (elevator) I know the law- you can't just have stairs. There's got to be ramp, an elevator... somewhere. But all I saw were the flocks of children making their merry way up the stairs.
That's when I spotted the escalator. I'd seen strollers manned by reasonable adults descend up escalators before. Sure, it's not "recommended," but when has that ever stopped me? It was a calculated risk. But when you're in a panicked rush, reason is usually not your sidekick. No. It's the Giddy Up, Ride 'em Cowboy crazy voice in your head. That's who made the decision.
(I know. I am in the future also- might I remind you... hindsight? It's 20/20) So I shoved the stroller onto the moving stairway.... just as Bunny decided she wanted to go on first, trying to blast in front of the stroller. I saw it in slow motion. Stroller and daughter wedged into narrow escalator. More panicking.
I thought the best idea was to walk around and yank Bunny out from above. No. That initiated a chain of events that led to the stroller making a trek upwards, dragging The Bunny with it, then tipping upside down, dislodging the infant carrier, (carrying my infant) and leaving The Squirt at the bottom- on non-moving ground screaming herself hoarse.
At that point- careening up the escalator, I thought we were all gonna die. (and did I mention I was lugging both the diaper bag/purse AND the potty bag? Yes. I was) That is when I hit the rock bottom of parenting, clinging to my kids for dear life and hoping as few limbs as possible got trapped and sucked down into the mechanism.
Thankfully, the escalator spit my tangled stroller up at the top, releasing a very terrified Bunny. I grabbed the carseat with Little Man, (who was wide eyed about the whole thing, but not crying) and both bags burst open just as I planted my feet on solid ground.
Ohmygosh. The adrenaline was pumping. I got the stroller to a semi-usable state, (props to Chicco for making an awesome stroller, as it was converted back to complete normal condition in a bathroom stall at the movie theater) locked the carseat back in, gathered up all the belongings I could find off the floor and into any bag, RAN down the escalator, retrieved the Squirt, and darted into the theater. Everybody seems to be unharmed.
We even made it in time to get great seat, potty each of the girls, and watch the entire flick. (and found the elevator on the way out)
Lesson learned. No strollers on the escalator.
Chalk it up to another phobia for my girls. That, along with the lighted stairs in the dark theater, and the theater seats that fold up. Terrifying stuff. (except now, the escalator really is terrifying)
So now you can feel like a better parent than me. Because you probably are.