Thursday, July 16, 2009

National Museum of Play

Yesterday, I journeyed to the Strong National Museum of Play with Henry, as well as two of my good friends and their kids. A good time was had by all, but as would be expected when driving over an hour each way with only 3 adults but 4 children all under the age of 4, things could be challening at times.

Our saga begins at approximately 10 am, when my friend Rose comes to pick us up. She has her 2 children, Alexandra and Michael, in the car, and we have to load up 2 more car seats. After 10 minutes of effort during which time I broke out into an unladylike sweat, we are off to fetch Sarah and her little son, Jude. Mission accomplished. Away we went, with Sarah's apt comment "Boy, this is sure going to be fun" resonating atop an unhappy wail from one of the car seats; at least 2 out of the 4 children were crying or otherwise expressing discontent for the length of the ride.

We arrive over an hour later, and the 2 older children are particularly ready to be free of their car seat prisons: "WE WANT TO PLAY!!"

Ok. So, it's 12:30 and we're all starving for lunch, but we're not going to tell the kids that just yet so as to avoid a riot. We all pile out of the car, and I quickly realize that I am very spoiled with my 1 potty trained kid carrying only Teddy and a sippy cup. Rose and Sarah are struggling with diaper bags and strollers, so I am game to pitch in. I grab the nearest baby and hoist him out of his seat. I immediately uncover that not only is a diaper change in order, but a full outfit overhaul is absolutely necessary. I break the bad news, and a diaper changing station is rapidly assembled at the side of the van. I occupy Henry and a rotating assembly line of toddlers as more diapers and outfits are freshened on an 'as needed' basis.

Finally, all are dressed and ready and we head in. Henry and Alexandra are bursting at the seams for some fun times and an outlet for their caged energy. We have to break it to them that several things stand in our way for the short term: the line to get tickets, a necessary stop at the ladies room, and lunch. Frowns are had by all.

CatholicLibrarian standing in line: "Henry. Henry. HENRY. Don't play with the cord. No, don't touch that. Come back here please, honey, that's an emergency door. The playground outside does NOT constitute an emergency. Henry. HENRY. Come here dear."

CatholicLibrarian in the ladies room: "Do you have to go pee, honey?" "NO." "Are you sure?" "NO." "Let's try. Pull your pants down. Here you go." "I no want to stand up. I want to sit down." "Henry, you always go standing up." "I NO WANT..." "OK, fine." *plop Henry on toilet seat* *am nailed right in the pant leg by stream of urine*

CatholicLibrarian at food court: "Great. Taco Bell, Subway, and Pizza Hut, not exactly the height of healthy eating." *has to stand in two separate lines to secure pepperoni personal pan pizza and a Fresco "less than 9 grams of fat" bean burrito* I'm certain you can guess which was for me and which was for Henry.

Finally, we are ready to play. Henry and Alexandra make it known in no uncertain terms they are to be taken to the choo choo train, and they aren't waiting another moment. We head right there:

Henry also enjoyed playing with the giant wooden train set:

All 4 children cavort happily at the Sesame Street display for a time, and then we move to the absolute cutest part - The tiny grocery store:

Note Teddy loaded up in the front of the cart for his comfort. Too, too cute.

We play for several hours, ride the carousel, and are then more than ready to hit the road. A stop at Dunkin Donuts for iced coffees and cookies was an absolute necessity. All of the children promptly fell asleep except for my son, who was so ill behaved I was ready to post a sign on my front lawn upon arrival back in town:

Handsome, adorable personality, good teeth, potty trained
Comes with clothes, shoes and Batman bed sheets
Best offer will also receive stuffed bear complete with previously formed attachment

It was a long day. But, it was a ton of fun, and I love seeing my little guy so happy and engaged. Challenge or not, he's always a blessing.

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