Dear Future Stella,
We have had 3 attempts so far to find our Monday ritual together. Some have been more tragic than others, but none were that great. If you want to recap, here’s attempt #1, here’s attempt #2, and here’s attempt #3.
This time I decided to take Current Stella on the bus over to North Beach to see what kind of fun we could get ourselves into. I briefly researched kid-friendly places in North Beach and I immediately regreted it. Most kid-friendly anything is my worst nightmare. A restaurant that says there are kids running around everywhere or that kids eat free on Tuesday nights are exactly the type of places that make me want to click my heels and return to Pre-kidsville. No thank you.
I picked Current Stella up from a playdate and I’m informed by the mother that she had an accident but that she was wearing something she picked out on her own to borrow. Great, except that what Stella picked out was a butterfly costume over leggings (ew!) with boots. I put her cardigan on to hopefully cover the wings and just assumed this was the start to yet another worthless ritual attempt.
On the bus, Current Stella wanted to know if North Beach was on a beach, which it is not. Of course, this prompted why is it named a beach when it isn’t on a beach. Thank God for Google and Wikipedia because I had absolutely no idea. It turns out, it used to be on a beach until the city added landfill and then built on top of that. She wanted to know what landfill was. I pointed at a little girl wearing pink and distracted her the way you can with birds and shiny things.
The first thing we did was walk around upper Grant Street. I am in love with this narrow street with cute little lights stringing across it. The stores are unique (no Starbucks here) and we managed to find a few little toy stores for the Mini Lady to peruse. I told her she could buy one toy. She picked out a Tiana Magic Clip Princess, which was a huge celebration because it was the ONLY one she didn’t have already and I think some sort of special power is granted to those that collect all billion of them. Tiana became a part of our ritual and had to be included in every conversation we had from that moment on.
We made our way to Washington Square Park and sat on a bench to draw the Saint Peter and Paul Church in the sketchbook we brought. This actually turned out to be a hit and Stella noticed a ton of detail in this church that would never have been noticed without sketching it. A police officer noticed her doing this and brought over some stickers to give her. He told her she was now part of the junior police force. She already is a law abiding citizen and now she thinks she is an officer of the law. She’s worse than a mall cop as it is, so her newfound ranking is going to drive me nuts. “Mom, you just threw away a straw wrapper but that is supposed to go in the recycling.” “Mom, you said I could only have 2 pieces of licorice but you gave me 3.” “Mom, this isn’t a crosswalk. Mom, I thought we can’t cross the street without holding hands.” We were crossing a 2 foot long bike path in the middle of a park. Sigh.
Tiana posing infront of the church
Tiana checking out Current Stella’s new police badge, I mean sticker.
Next we met Current Stella’s friend Audrey and her mommy at the park so they could join us for the rest of our ritual attempt. The girls were playing at the park wonderfully until some kid ripped Tianas head off and dismantled her dress and then handed it back to Current Stella. I really thought she was going to physically rupture. The injustice of it all was a little too overwhelming and I was just glad she didn’t use her sticker badge and arrest the boy for a racial hate crime, Tiana being African American and all. Poor Tiana, she didn’t even last 3 hours. I needed the crying to stop ASAP though, so I agreed to walk back to the toy store to buy a replacement. Of course the store sold her the last Tiana doll earlier that day, but for 3 times the price I could get the Tiana gift set that comes with 3 dresses and a carrying case. At this point, I would have purchased an actual child and stuck a green dress on her and named her Tiana if it meant the whining and crying would end. It’s really bizarre, because in my day to day life I’m usually not persuaded by meltdowns, nor do I condone rewarding demanding requests by irrational toddlers, but I was desperate to save this ritual attempt.
Here the girls are showing off their new toys.
After Current Stella returned back to Planet Earth from her brief visit to Psycho Island, we set out to dinner. I wanted to try this world famous Pizza place, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana. There was a little bit of a wait so to kill time we decided to grab a cocktail (much deserved) at Tacolicious. Current Stella goes to Tacolicous every Friday with her Dad (the motivating factor behind me wanting my own ritual with her), but this is a different Tacolicious in a totally different neighborhood. This was weird for Current Stella because everything was exactly the same as the Tacolicious she was used to, but it was also obviously not the same. This brought an element of familiarity to the ritual attempt that I think grounded her. She did refer to a random Mexican worker as Sebastian (that’s the name of the guy at the other Tacolicious) so I think a conversation about racial stereotyping is in order.
Finally, our table was ready and we were all starving and ready to dig in to what apparently is the best pizza in the nation. This place gave uncooked pizza dough to the girls to play with while we waited. I usually hate kid-friendly gimmicks, but this was pure genius. The kids loved it!
But do you know what happens to pizza dough when it gets overworked? Yeah, it’s a friggin nightmare. If there is a Tony’s employee reading this, may I suggest a shower in the bathroom and maybe some sort of oil-based cleanser?
Our pizza came and it was ridiculous. Wow. Pizza is usually one of those default dinners when you have no food in your house and no energy in your body so you just need someone to arrive with nurishment that you can also continue to eat the next day. It fills a void. It does the trick. This pizza though, is everything.
Lastly, we accidentally found a candy shop on our way back to Kelly’s car, so even though it was already an hour past their bedtime we, “the parents,” decided that giving them sugar at this time was logical.
Future Stella, if I ever have the financial resources to have a house with more than just our 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, can you remind me that I dreamed of having a room with giant barrels filled with candy in it? I really think a replica of the room above in my house would be the greatest thing ever, for all of us I mean.
In summary, this ritual was way too expensive to do every week unless we decided to cut out the part where a random kid beheads one of Current Stella’s new Princesses, thus cornering me into buying whatever it takes in all of North Beach to get her to climb down from the ledge. That aside, this ritual was amazing.
I like the idea of exploring a different part of this awesome city each week instead of committing to just one spot. Let your Dad provide that tired old consistency that she can always count on and I will be the one to spice it up and expose her to spontaneous surprises each and every week? It just makes more sense this way. I just can’t beat Tacolicious Fridays. Stay tuned…
Future Stella, I love you. Current Stella, yesterday was Cinco de Mayo and as you know, Gail the Puppy is a Chihuahua. This means she is technically Mexican, and therefore we are too I guess, or at least I wish.