our night at the stadium.

after months of

letting madeline teach

me things i

know nothing about

(comic books, superheroes, star wars, etc),

it was time for

me to give her

a bit of an

education on something

that i love

(and so did liz).

baseball.

yes, maddy has been

to a few games

in her young life…

3 or 4 games

at dodger stadium,

one in san francisco,

one in anaheim

and one in minnesota

(before the new stadium was built),

but not since she

looked like this:

maddy, or manny?

maddy/manny on the big video screen at dodger stadium.

maddy is so tired of this.

maddy with the mayor of los angeles.

maddy with the owner of the dodgers.

about to fly...

maddy = good luck charm for the dodgers.

lasorda, madeline, me.

as i watched

a game on tv

with brooke, she suggested

that i take maddy to

a game while she was

out of town for work.

(great idea).

so i bought some

tickets for last friday

night’s game and

prepped maddy

all week, telling her

that we were

going to the stadium

and that we’d be out

very, very late.

(game start time was about 30 minutes before her normal bedtime, and i hoped to stick around for the post-game fireworks).

she seemed sort of

interested, but i don’t

think she really

understood what

we’d actually be doing,

so i tried to

tell her about all

the great stuff

that happens at baseball games.

friday night we

arrived at the stadium

outside the stadium.

outside the stadium.

and she was

excited as soon

as she pulled in.

i remember that kind of

excitement when i

used to go

to twins games as

a kid.

there was nothing in

the world like

heading downtown,

parking a few blocks

away and running

the entire way

to the stadium,

knowing that i was

about to have

the time of my life

(it would be years before i was introduced to outdoor baseball, and to the realization that my childhood baseball experiences sucked because i was stuck in that awful dome).

in her case, her

excitement was more

about all of the

things i told her

about my,

and her

mom’s

trips to dodger stadium,

april 19, 2004.

(we had season tickets for 3 years)

i told her about

how much her

mom

and i used to

love to go

to the stadium

after work.

i told her about

all of the great

food we used to eat,

(dodger dogs, especially)

and how her mom

used to bring a

blanket to the

early season games

because the stadium

got really cold

when the sun went down.

and that on

nights when the dodgers

have fireworks, we

used to sit on

the outfield grass

and watch them.

and then i showed her

this photo:

on the field.

“can we sit on the field, daddy?”

“i think they still do it, but we’ll find out on friday.”

before we even got

to our seats,

we stopped in

the parking lot

pop-up store and

maddy picked out

a new hat

and a tiny baseball bat

(oh how i loved my tiny baseball bat when i was a kid).

then we headed

up the seemingly endless

steps to the

upper reserve section

of the stadium, not far

from where her

mom

and i had our

season tickets.

maddy wasn’t hungry

but she was ready

for a giant icee

so she got one

and i got a bag

of peanuts and we found

our seats

maddy & daddy.

waiting for the game to start.

maddy wasn’t all

that interested in

the peanuts until

she saw me throwing

the shells

on the ground…

it was then that

she got really excited.

“i can throw the peanuts on the floor?”

“well, just the shells, maddy.”

she let out the

awesome little laughing

squeal sound that

she makes when she

gets to do something

she didn’t think she could.

she insisted on

cracking open as many

peanuts as she could,

throwing the shells,

and stomping the

shells into a fine dust.

she got a little

overzealous a few times

and the shells

flew a little too far

(luckily the seats in front of us were empty until about the 2nd inning),

so i had to explain

that it would be

best to just drop them

at her feet rather than

throw them.

the game started

and maddy sat at

attention taking everything

in, until we saw this:

one too many.

she laughed pretty

hard when i suggested

that the baby in

the front pack

also had a baby in

a front pack.

about 20 minutes her

body started to

let her know that

it was her usual bedtime

and she demonstrated

it by laying in my lap.

tired already.

she laid there

until she announced

that she had to

go to the bathroom.

as we bolted up the

stairs, terror hit me.

this trip to the

bathroom would be

unlike the trips we

took when she was a baby.

dome diaper change.

now she’d have

to sit on

an actual toilet.

in a men’s room.

at a baseball stadium.

for those of

you who’ve never been

inside one

of these things, just imagine

the most disgusting

place you can

think of and multiply

it by, like, 10,000,000.

she was dancing by

the time we reached

the entrance to the

men’s room, and

when i

opened up

stall doors 1, 2 & 3,

i was near the

point of vomiting

(i’ll spare you the details).

“maddy! we have to get out of here!”

“but daddy! i really have to pee!”

“okay, okay, just hold it as long as you can.”

i knew we didn’t

have enough time to

make it to the one

(one!)

family restroom in

the stadium because

i know from

experience that it’s

on a lower level

(we were in the cheap seats).

so i took her

to the women’s restroom

next door, stood just

outside the doorway,

got down to her

level, looked her in

the eyes and said,

“maddy, you’re gonna have to go into the bathroom by yourself.”

as she danced

and had a pained

look in her eyes

she said,

“you have to come with me!”

“maddy, you can do this…you’re a big girl…just like at home.”

“but daddy!”

i felt so helpless.

“maddy, just go in and do what you do at home…”

just as i finished

my sentence, some

kind of angel appeared

from the bathroom

and said

“do you want me to take her?”

hmmm…

i had a split second

to think about

that and give

her an answer.

do i send my child

into a bathroom

with a strange woman

or do i keep trying

to find a clean

men’s room?

i looked at maddy

and i saw

that look in her

eyes that meant

there wasn’t

much time.

“please! are you sure you wouldn’t mind?”

she responded,

“i have kids. i get it. come with me, sweetie.”

maddy didn’t

even look to me

for approval as

she followed the woman

into the bathroom..

i said,

“oh my god. thank you. all you’ll have to do is lift her up on the seat…she can do the rest!”

my voice getting

increasing louder as

they disappeared inside.

holy shit.

i was freaked out.

had i made

the right decision?

were there

other alternatives i

could have pursed

instead of sending

her into a bathroom

with a stranger?

as every scenario,

good & bad, entered my

head, maddy came running

out of the

bathroom with a giant

smile, her hands

dripping wet,

followed by

the kindest stranger

who ever walked the earth.

“i did it!” maddy yelled.

the woman laughed,

i said thanks

and she assured me

it was no problem at all.

we headed back

to our seats having

survived another

one of life’s inconveniences.

as we sat down,

maddy noticed a

dude walking up

and down the aisles

yelling about dodger dogs.

she spun to look

at me

excited.

and said,

“i want a dodger dog!”

“okay. put your hand up and yell, ‘here!’”

she did, and the

vendor nodded his head

in acknowledgement as she

jumped up and down.

i gave her some

cash and told her

to pay the guy when

he got closer.

he handed her a hotdog,

which she grabbed,

and with pride,

held out for me

to see.

she was so excited

about the moment

that she forgot to

give the man

the cash…

the vendor just

stood there with

a smile on his face,

seemingly unconcerned

about the cash.

(i know he was just being patient).

maddy eventually paid

him and sat down

to enjoy her

first dodger dog.

first dodger dog!

(she finished the entire thing).

from that moment on,

every single time

a vendor walked

up and down the aisles

maddy’s hand would

go up and she

would yell, “here!”

and while i

reached out to hug her

(thus keeping her arms at her side).

eventually the fun

of hailing vendors

wore off

and she started to

get really, really tired

tired.

fading...

which meant she

needed to use me

as a pillow.

very tired.

but as the

(very close-scoring)

game got closer

to the 9th inning,

the crowd got loud

and maddy was reenergized.

clapping.

doing her

best to get on the

jumbotron by jumping

up and down.

many years ago,

as i sat just a few

sections to left of

where we were,

i watched a couple

of little girls jumping

up and down,

arms and pom-poms

flailing, screaming

at the top of their

lungs about nothing

at all,

their only goal?

to get on the jumbotron.

i said something to

liz

about how annoying

they were, and she said,

“you will love it when your daughter does it someday.”

i didn’t believe her

all of those years

ago, but now…

in the moment she predicted

(long before we had decided to have a child),

i watched as our

little girl jumped

up and down

for no reason,

except to get on

the jumbotron,

and i felt something

i never, ever imagined

i would, or could have.

the game ended

and as i hoped,

everyone in the

stadium was invited

onto the field

for the fireworks.

maddy and i rushed

to make it

down to the field

level, running into

our dodger stadium bathroom

angel and her husband

on the way down

(maddy talked to them the entire walk, telling them about every single thing she tried to order from the vendors, all of the food she ate and all the jumping around that she did, much to their amusement).

we made it down to

the field level, maddy’s

excitement level

at an all-day high,

when her tiny dreams

were crushed…

the security guard

on the field closed

the gate as we approached

and informed me

that they were at capacity.

fuck.

you’ve got to be kidding me.

i appealed to her

in the nicest possible

ways, pleading to

let me little lady

onto the field.

she told me

it wasn’t possible,

even as two other

people left the field.

maddy was devastated,

(partially because she was exhausted, but also because she was really, really excited to get onto the field)

and there was nothing

i could do

to fix it.

(no need to pile on the security guard…she was just doing her job).

we sat down

in the second row

as maddy cried her

eyes out

so sad because they wouldn't let her on the field.

and i promised to bring

her back again soon

(next time we’l sit in the lower level so we can get to the field before the gates close).

i saw the security guard

looking our way

throughout the fireworks

display, wiping away tears.

(now i’m felling bad for her).

just as the fireworks

2012-04-27 at 22-19-21

were ending, she called

us over and gave

maddy a lapel pin

while apologizing to me.

i assured her

it was okay and

that i know it

wasn’t her fault

(she was following some strict orders, i’m sure).

maddy stopped crying

as we walked

back to the car,

we talked about

all the fun

we had

and she asked me

all sorts of questions

(about the game, the food, and when we would be coming back).

she was clearly over

the earlier injustice,

her night at

the stadium filled

with the kind of

memories that will

make her want to come back.

which is great,

because those great

memories are

the reasons i

keep coming back.

dodgers win!

i think she was ready to leave.

at the game.

me & liz.

Copyright © 2007-2012 matt, liz and madeline. All rights reserved. This blog may not be reproduced on any other site without the expressed written consent of Matt Logelin.