The other day we went on a family outing to San Francisco, taking the ferry across the bay from Oakland. The ferry was a nice half-hour ride, just long enough for the girls to get their fill of viewing life from the water, without being long enough for them to get bored or too curious about exploring every nook and cranny of the boat. The only downside (upside, if you’re under 5 years old) was the balloon-animal making man on board, handing out yellow balloon dogs and red and white balloon butterflies for tips, which of course the girls loved, and we had the privilege of carrying around the city for the few hours we were visiting.
We had my sister-in-law along for the trip, which was excellent, as the two-year-old Peanut wanted to be carried everywhere. It’s manageable with two parents, but so much easier with a third set of arms (and legs) to put in the rotation. One thing about our little Peanut, she would make a lousy monkey. She never holds on to you while you’re toting her about, she just goes limp and trusts you go keep her from slipping down your body.
We didn’t make it far from the Ferry Building in San Francisco, we had lunch there, hit the gelato place, and wandered around the fountain across the street. There were some street vendors set up near the fountain, and I realized, as my girls gawked and squealed about all the pretty jewelry laid out to see, that they’ve never experienced anything like that: jewelers with their wares on display at a child’s eye level, all those crystal earrings and beaded necklaces and woven bracelets. We managed to make it back on the ferry home with only the balloon animals, which is a tribute to our remarkable restraint.