Liberty State Park

4th of July Heat Drives Trouble Inside

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Clear the runway, I’m coming in!!

The 4th of July was one of those dog days of summer that saw the temperature soar past the 95-degree mark. Long before the fireworks lit up the Hudson River for the Independence Day Extravaganza, trouble rolled into town in the form of my 11-month-old baby girl named Maddie.

She was not impressed with the oppressive heat and warned her parents early in the day that any long trips outside would be greatly frowned upon. However, the baby’s parents love to live on the edge and had a grand trip planned to good old Ellis Island.

Since the ferry is just a hop skip and a jump away, we packed Maddie into her stroller and began our walk to Liberty State Park. Just about 500 yards into the trip, things started heading south in a big hurry. Maddie was swinging for the fences, amazed by the complete idiocy of her parents.

Maddie doesn’t speak yet, but made her point of view perfectly clear. “You can not be serious!” It’s 12-hundred degrees Celsius and these road scholar parents of mine are dragging me into a park where no one ever bothered to plant any trees.

As the sun relentlessly beat down upon us, we realized it was time to switch gears. We made a bee-line for a nearby restaurant that I know opens at noon. We marveled at the brilliance right up until we walked into the restaurant. “Sorry, because of the 4th of July, we don’t open until 1 o’clock.”

That’s just PERFECT – How Quaint!!

It was 11:45am and I told restaurant boy that they always open at noon as indicated on their door. He chuckled and said not today. We hid in the shade for about 15 extra minutes before making a hasty retreat back home.

Once we were safely ensconced back in the comfort of our air-conditioned home, Maddie regained her sense of humor and put on a wild child display for the ages. She ripped around the house making it very clear that this particular holiday would be better spent indoors. Once again proving that sometimes my 11-month-old daughter possesses more common sense than I do.

Mass Transit Mayhem Triggers Maddie Meltdown

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Maddie the city girl made it clear that she needed to put in some time on the waterfront this afternoon. So Maddie, mom and poppa jumped a Jersey Light Rail train and headed for the action.

At 5-weeks-old, Maddie is a long-time veteran of train travel (her 3rd trip) and handled today’s eight-minute rush hour journey like a real pro. She was not as impressed with the bumpy sidewalk we encountered when we got off the train. After each bump, her little hands jutted out as if to say, “Hey driver, you missed one of the potholes back there!”

We were enjoying a nice breezy evening on the Hudson River when suddenly, Maddie ran into some Diablo-diaper issues. Her mom and I made a beeline for the closest hotel because they have the cleanest bathrooms. The change was successful and a mini-crisis was averted, but Gina and I knew that we were playing with house money and it was time to get the baby back home.

We hopped the homeward bound train and everything was falling our way – that is until we got greedy. The motion of the train lulled Maddie into a deep sleep and we foolishly decided to push our luck.

Why not extend the good times and troll around Liberty State Park with our sleeping angel? We hopped off at the Liberty stop with pep in our step, ready to let the good times roll.

We hadn’t gone more than 50 yards when lady luck snuck out the back. Maddie was in a state of sleep perfection when we got to the train crossing. We had just crossed the tracks when a CLANGING noise of cosmic proportions ripped through the day’s tranquility like a sonic boom. There was no place to hide, the damage was done and Maddie was not the least bit impressed.

The artificially induced shockwaves buffeted us – sending Maddie into a panicked rage and leaving us with the unenviable task of walking a mile with the angry baby.

And what a walk it was – there was no calming our little girl now. She was ready for war and our multiple lame tempts to calm her were of no consequence. We were now forced to make that “Walk of Shame” parents must endure when they have unwittingly unleashed the fury of a tired child.