A Public Appeal

Are there any parents out there who can suggest stuff to do with toddlers during the summer that doesn’t involve heat stroke? This time last year our daughter Milly couldn’t even crawl. Now she is a walking, talking perpetual motion machine whose guiding principal is a profound desire not to be indoors at home. Yet a recent stroll had her baking like a chalupa in a matter of minutes. So long walks are out. So is feeding the ducks, because apparently I’ve been contributing to their diabetes. What is a dad to do? Here is the stuff I’ve tried:

The Zoo

I do have a zoo membership. The zoo is great, but much of it is inconveniently located outdoors. I have spent some quality time with her in the reptile house, which is shady and climate controlled, but I don’t want to become the Guy Who Hangs Out With His Daughter In The Reptile House.

My Backyard

Promoted as a “French Quarter-like Patio” when we bought it, our bricked-in backyard actually functions more like a walk-in Tandoori Oven. I’ve tried hanging the hose over a baker’s rack and letting Milly splash around, which works for a while, but the runoff has enticed ants to emerge from beneath the French Quarter-like patio bricks, so now we have ants.

Park Playgrounds

A few things. First, while the bum-searing metal slides of my youth have largely been phased out by sturdy plastic versions, this has been replaced by a new danger: sturdy plastic slides. For complicated engineering reasons, these new versions when used as directed generate approximately 1.21 gigawatts of static electricity, which is then discharged into the first thing Milly touches after landing, usually me. This may be more of a springtime dry-air thing, so perhaps the damp air of summer eliminates this fascinating phenomenon, but the question is moot because the playground near my house is closed for lead remediation.

The Aquarium

We do love the aquarium. This is our favorite thing right now – Milly goes bananas when she sees that first tank with the walk-through acrylic tunnel. But this option is a two-parent haul, which means that my wife has to pass perilously close to Saks at Canal Place and sometimes ends up shopping while I end up having to distract Milly from scratching up the Land Rovers on the ground level.

Cascade Stables

I’ve been spending a good bit of time at Cascade Stables at Audubon Park, where we can go admire the horses in the stalls and watch the older girls in the ring having lessons. Milly loves this. Also, as lagniappe, they have a few baby ducks. But I’m getting the feeling that I might be wearing out my welcome there as I haven’t shelled out the $5 for a pony ride yet or purchased a lesson. Or, for that matter, a horse. So the clock is ticking with this option.

Parents or wealthy benefactors please feel free to post any suggestions in the comment section below. Also, if anyone has a pool with a cabana house and full bathroom, please send me your address and/or gate combination. Thanks in advance.

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