Sometimes, in my mind, I’ll come up with something I think will be really fun for the little big man. And, invariably, it’s not. Or, I should say, it’s not fun in the way I thought [wanted] it would [to] be.
Like, let’s say I decided to be fun mom and schlep the offspring to the children’s museum after dropping J off at the airport.
(En route to which…. as the babe was wailing and the preschooler was bemoaning the fact that he only got a real car at the car rental place, not a toy….I had to try really hard not to be bitter at a few facts: That J was flying on a plane – all by himself. And going to stay in a hotel – all by himself. And possibly sleep for 6 or 7 hours straight.)
So we get to the children’s museum. Park the car. And I get out, despite the fact that I can immediately tell it is ‘Spring Break’ for the entire city and ALL of the school age children are inside said museum.
Load the stroller with so much stuff it looks like we are going to the airport after all. Observe the mother of all tantrums (thankfully by someone else’s child). Give G a very stern warning that if he tries to emulate this we will go home pronto.
We go in. I cough up $22 to enter. We walk all the way to the 4th floor. Find some fabulous fake mulch and digger-like apparatus. I’m excited just thinking how much fun G is going to have. But my 4 year old who loves nothing more than spending hours outside digging in the dirt is almost panicky with displeasure. ‘I don’t want to dig in the dirt….I want to see the trains.’
And in my heart of hearts, I KNOW exactly what he wants.
But I just paid $22 to enter the MUSEUM – not hang out in the (free of charge) GIFT SHOP.
So I steer him 5 floors down to the basement to look at the museum’s trains. Which he does glance at for 3 minutes… after which he clarifies, so there is no misunderstanding him: ‘I want to see the Curious George trains.’
Translation: I want to go to the Thomas train table at the gift shop – the place that is filled with Curious George paraphernalia. Because there is a huge Curious George exhibit at the museum – which my 4 year old, who also loves all things George, didn’t want to see due to his one-track mind. (Pun intended).
So that’s what we did. I stood at the Thomas train table in the gift shop for an hour while big brother had much fun pushing trains around the track.
The thing that gets me through this marathon of standing (and standing while trying to feed the baby applesauce and sweet potatoes) is the possibility of stopping for lunch at one of my favorite spots. So, I cajole G into putting on his coat and leaving in a happy manner. ‘We can come back after lunch’, I promise, even though the lunch spot is a 10 minute drive and it would be kind of a hassle to come back.
‘Let’s have lunch right here’, he says – and points to the cafeteria less than 100 yards away. The cafeteria that will not have yummy quiche or tasty ham and cheese baguettes or cupcakes with buttercream frosting. The cafeteria that will have gross pizza and chocolate milk.
‘Okay’, I say, trying very hard to let go of the dream that had sustained me for the last hour.
(Maybe just a latte then, for the drive home).