A perpetual motion machine is impossible, but Yusuke and Yukari’s two-year-old girl comes pretty close. From the moment her pink sneakers hit the grass labyrinth in Smale Riverfront Park, she was a constant blur. I thought that she would burn out and have a meltdown after twenty minutes at this level of activity, but she held up really well. She occasionally needed a drink of water or a couple of crackers for fuel, but other than that, she was nonstop movement.

Her younger sister had less mobility, but also did really well in tolerating the sun and the activity. Not to mention the strange American photographer making occasional animal calls and other nonsensical noises. (My usual child wrangler had the afternoon off.) She looked me over, decided I was harmless enough, and went back to trying to eat the pretty plastic wand her mother had given her.

Yusuke and Yukari wanted to have some pictures in downtown Cincinnati before their planned return to Japan in a few months. Yusuke showed off his biceps endurance by toting his baby girls around while Yukari pushed the stroller. The only time I remember the baby being resigned to the stroller was on the long uphill walk to Fountain Square to see the Genius of the Waters fountain. Both girls really preferred being carried, so on the way downhill, I pushed the stroller while the parents hauled their babies. I tried to take pictures while hanging onto the stroller, picturing the chaos a runaway stroller would have caused if I lost my grip.

The two-year-old was initially delighted at spotting a familiar English word on a sign in Fountain Square, “Graeter’s,” marking the favorite local ice cream chain. Finally, this was a Cincinnati landmark she could get on board with. Since we were nearing the end of the session, her parents promised her a visit. She was quite disappointed when we got close enough to read an additional sign that said “Closed for renovation,” but her parents said they could stop at a store on their way home.

I hope everyone enjoyed their ice cream as a well-deserved reward!