The Brookline Parent: A Grand Day Out
Late Fall in Coolidge Corner
Mid-November is an odd time for activities. It's no longer really apple-picking season; the leaves have mostly fallen so leaf peeping is not a viable activity; and the weather is getting less predictable. Darkness comes early, and the colder weather often precludes extended outdoor activities. And sometimes you don't want to travel particularly far away for amusement.
This past Sunday, we didn't have any specific plans for the day. We had some tentative plans to get together with an out-of-town friend, but when those fell through, we weren't sure how to spend the day. Michael thought it might be nice to take the girls out to Rubin’s Kosher Delicatessen, but Muffin and Squeaker had a different idea – they wanted pizza, and they wouldn't be convinced otherwise. Not even the promise of a hotdog or hamburger would sway them. So off we headed to Café Eilat, or, as the girls know it, "the pizza store."
(As an aside, it's not like they don't have pizza regularly. I frequently buy pizza dough at Trader Joe's and cheese at The Butcherie and make pizza at home. But sometimes they enjoy going out for pizza as well.)
We had a lovely lunch at Café Eliat, as we always do. The girls ate an entire pizza by themselves, plus all the cucumber out of Michael's salad and my sushi. Muffin finished lunch and wanted to wander around the restaurant, so Michael followed her on her adventures. I, meanwhile, stayed with Squeaker, who is skilled in the art of making a meal last as long as humanly possible. While Squeaker was eating, we were joined by a friend who had also come to the restaurant, and he stayed with us for part of the rest of our day.
Also while Squeaker was still eating, one of their preschool teachers saw us sitting in the restaurant and stopped to say hi. Muffin seemed a bit confused by seeing her teacher out of context, though this teacher was a friend before she worked at the girls' school. Our friend took it in stride, though, and told Muffin she looked forward to seeing her and Squeaker in school on Monday.
Once Squeaker finally finished lunch, we headed to the playground at the Devotion School, which the girls know as "Firetruck Park," where we have been many times before. Unlike most trips to this or any other park, Muffin and Squeaker were content not to spend time on the swings, instead deciding to have fun on the various slides and climbing structures around the playground. Eventually, however, we all started getting quite cold. We gave the girls a choice about what we would do next: the library, the bookstore, or stopping for ice cream. Their answer might surprise most people but not people who know the girls well: they wanted to go to the library before it closed.
So off we headed to the Coolidge Corner branch of the Public Library of Brookline. Muffin and Squeaker enjoyed drawing with the paper and markers available in the children's room, playing with the large animal-shaped stuffed pillows, and choosing books to take home. We stayed at the library until they were closing and turning out the lights.
The girls, at that point, were still not ready to go home. Since they had a large, late lunch, Michael and I were not concerned with feeding them a real dinner, so instead we headed off to JP Licks. There the girls enjoyed their usual orders: a kiddie-sized chocolate ice cream for Squeaker and a package of chocolate chip cookies for Muffin. After eating, Muffin enjoyed one of her favorite activities at JP Licks, cleaning the table with a wet wipe. Other wet wipes were employed to clean up Squeaker, who often ends up wearing a significant amount of her chocolate ice cream. I was pleased to see that, in true New England fashion, JP Licks was busy on Sunday night despite the outside temperature being in the low- to mid-40s.
After ice cream, our day was still not done. The girls wanted to go to Brookline Booksmith to pick out some books we wouldn't have to return, unlike the ones we got from the library. At first they picked out about fifteen books between them, but Michael told them to winnow that number down. In the end, each was left with three books. As we were headed out, Muffin spotted a Dora the Explorer activity book, and she immediately declared that she wanted it. Squeaker followed suit. So Michael told them we would be willing to buy them the activity books if they could choose one of their three previously chosen books to put back. With minimal fuss, both Muffin and Squeaker chose a book to put back and happily took a copy of the activity book. We then went and purchased the girls' books, giving each girl a bag containing her books to carry home.
Even with the Green Line arriving just as we returned to the Coolidge Corner T stop, by the time we arrived home the girls were noticeably exhausted. They got through putting on pajamas and brushing their teeth with only a small amount of drama, and then they listened as Michael read two of their new books, one from each girl's bag. Not long thereafter, the girls drifted off to sleep, having had a fun day of adventures in Coolidge Corner.
Much to our delight, they skipped their common nighttime shenanigans of laughing and talking until very late or popping out of their room for random things. Perhaps wearing them out by running them all over Coolidge Corner is a viable answer to the question of keeping them in their room at night.
This week’s column is written by Nomi S. Burstein.