Aug 092013

toddlers ball game
This week, against our better judgement, we took our three toddlers (2-year-old boys and their 4-year-old sister) to their first major league baseball game. We’ve been watching games on TV in the evenings, and they’re old enough to be a little bit interested.

That said, taking all three kids downtown in the evening for a crowded sporting event seems a little bit insane. We’re pretty safety-conscious. We’re admitted germophobes. This doesn’t sound like something we would do voluntarily.

Of course, we made sure that “grandma and grandpa” were coming. We’re not that crazy. Having two extra sets of hands and eyes makes a huge big difference, when you’re worried about things like:

  • Traffic on the walk to/from parking garages.
  • Crime, vagrants, or hobos bothering us downtown.
  • Our twins running away in the crowded stadium.
  • Kids falling down the steep stairs or out of their seats.

Destination: Nosebleed Section

Because our team is popular, and we are not millionaires, we got seats approximately one mile up in the stadium. It was, ironically, much like the view that we get from the blimp camera while watching TV. Even though we were far away and high up, the view was spectacular. It wasn’t very crowded in our section, either, which is a big plus.

Our biggest fear is reliving the crowded, claustrophobic flight home from our tropical vacation. Traveling with toddlers can be brutal.

We got our daughter her own seat, and another one for the boys to share. We’d guessed correctly that the twins would be too busy to sit in one place for very long. They spent most of the game hopping from one lap to the other, climbing seats, and charming the people around us.

Kids Love Stadium Food

We intentionally chose a game that started an hour earlier than usual — this one was at 6:15 — so that the kids could see more of it. This meant that we’d have to eat dinner in the stadium. As it turns out, stadiums have all kinds of foods that toddlers are willing to eat. You just have to be comfortable feeding them a dinner that’s:

  • Not very healthy
  • Not very clean to eat
  • 200% of the recommended daily salt intake
  • Costs an arm and a leg (and then another arm)

Even so, this was our kids’ first game so I wasn’t taking any chances. During the first inning, I waited an eternity in line at the concession stand. When it was my turn, I went with the classics: stadium hot dogs, peanuts, soft pretzels, and a souvenir cup of lemonade. When we got back to our seats, the kids were quick to dig in. Hot dogs are always popular, of course — our daughter ate almost an entire one by herself. One twin liked the pretzel, the other preferred to sit on my lap and crack open peanuts.

Seventh Inning Stretch

There was also a baseball game to enjoy, and while our 2-year-olds could take it our leave it, our daughter was absolutely riveted. She sat contentedly in her seat the entire time, just enjoying the experience. We made it through the seventh inning, which is more than I expected. For those last couple of innings, we granted her only request: a giant bag of cotton candy. Talk about excitement! She and her youngest brother dug in and were quickly covered (hands and faces) in pink sugar residue.

The older twin wasn’t so sure. Something about the bright pink candy put him off, initially. Finally he was coaxed to try a bite, and the face he made was hilarious. He raised his eyebrows and pursed his lips, as if to say, I’ll be damned. This stuff is pure sugar! We had no trouble getting him to eat it then.

We left after that only because or home team was losing and it was getting late. As it stood, our children were going to be up 1-2 hours past their bedtimes, which is something we try to avoid.

Sugar Versus Sleep Deprivation

We returned to the minivan without incident and loaded up. Thanks to Grandma’s foresight, we had a cooler full of favorite sippy cups of milk waiting, and all three kids chugged them down. I thought for sure they’d pass out five minutes into the drive, but I underestimated the power of the sugar high. Our twins were wide awake half an hour later when we got home, though our daughter had quietly conked out in her seat in the back of the van.

Once home, we washed hands and brushed teeth thoroughly before bed. The next day, all three kids slept past 10 a.m.! They were worn out, but it was a thrilling experience for them. And not a bad one for us, either.

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