A Day in The Museum

>> Monday, June 7, 2010

As I mentioned briefly in my last post, Toddler and I took a trip downtown to go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  I must say, Toddler was charming, civil, and well-behaved all day.  The experience was rather surreal for me.

We took the metro downtown, and Toddler was in little-boy heaven.  He was on a "train, mommy! A train!"  When the metro went underground, he looked up at the tunnel and said, "It's really black, black sky.  It's really dark in here."  Then he looked at me, grinning, and said, "How we gonna get out?  This is TERRIBLE!  We need to find a way out!"  (Nope.  That kid doesn't watch too much Disney Channel.  Not at all.)

I'm not positive about this, but I am pretty sure I saw some of the other passengers, smirking behind their hands every time he said it.  I swear, every time I go someplace with that kid, I feel like people are looking at us.  Sadly, I know it isn't me they are looking at anymore.  I lost that kind of appeal a few years back.

Once we got into the museum, Toddler wanted to keep climbing into and out of the giant half-model airplane sitting on the exhibit floor.  I'm not sure anyone envisioned a three year old running up the stairs, through the airplane, and back down the other side repeatedly, all the while calling out, "More rocket ship, mommy!"  I am, however, pretty sure they envisioned people trying to sit on the model seats of the plane.  That's why there is a big barrier there and lots of plexiglass everywhere else.  Of course, these obstacles did not prevent Toddler from trying (once, before I could catch up to him).

Then, in my infinite wisdom, I walked us to the other side of the museum, thinking they would still have a model fighter plane for people to climb into, with working switches and everything.  Alas, it appears that this vehicle has been moved to the Udvar-Hazy museum.  On behalf of all parents, I say, "What a tragedy."  The half of a DC-10 is the only small-child walk-through remaining.  Trust me when I tell you that Toddler is less than impressed with the triva computer games that appear elsewhere in the museum, and I was not about to try to test his endurance in either the IMAX or the planetarium show.  (I can picture it now.  "Mommy?  MOMMY!  It's DARK IN HERE!  I scared!  How we gonna get out?"  Or, possibly, several loud and repeated renditions of, "Oh, WWWWWOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!!!"  Either way, a disruption for sure.)  Flight simulators?  Uh ... no.  Not until he's 18 and does it when I don't know about it.

Of course, like any good Pluto-loving blogger, I took my son through the solar system exhibit.  I don't know if he heard me mutter under my breath about the signs explaining the demotion of Pluto to a "dwarf planet," but perhaps I wasn't being as quiet as I thought.  I mean, we've been sick, and my ears are a little bit clogged.  Anyway, as I wheeled his umbrella stroller up to the display of the relative size of the planets, I sighed a little.  "At least Pluto is still up there."

He sighed too, really loudly.  Then he looked up at the display, and said in that high-pitched, penetrating voice of the very young, "Yeah, Mommy.  It's too bad."


I couldn't help it.  I wondered how far he would play along.  Already, people were starting to turn their heads.  "I agree, Toddler.  Poor Pluto."

"Yep, Mommy.  Poooooorrrrrrr Pludo."  (More heads started to turn.)  "This is just TERRIBLE."

Aaah, that's my boy.

Next we wandered over to an exhibit about weather and satellites.  Boring?  You bet, but I was looking for "less-crowded" so that Toddler wouldn't get on anyone's nerves while we waited to meet up with a friend.  We deposited ourselves in a conspicuously abandoned alcove with lots of seats and a television.  I figured whatever video was about to play above our head had to be something worth blogging about, for good or for bad.  Given how many people were not paying the slightest bit of attention, I was betting on "bad."

Little did I know, though, how bad it could be.  I just don't think I can do justice to the video, so let me summarize a few salient points for you.  The narrator was Willard Scott.  He had a full head of dark hair, and he weighed about 135 pounds soaking wet.  He started off the video talking about something that happened "Only since the 1960s," and toward the end he made a reference to flash cubes -- as in camera flash cubes.

After seeing this video, I had to ask myself why the Smithsonian was spending money to renovate the sign posts relating to Pluto's status when, clearly, here was a video in sore need of renovation itself.  But, as is so often the case, no one bothered to ask me.

Our day trip ended with a similar train ride home, except I had the added pleasure of sitting almost on top of an empty bottle of booze.  It was tucked into the side of the seat, next to the wall, and I decided I didn't really want to touch it with my hands, so I left it there.  Toddler asked if he could have the seat next to the wall, and I said no, because, really, I didn't want him touching the bottle either. (And, well, he would. And break it too, I suspect.)

Finally, I was once again blessing the forces of our nature that make most human adults think children are cute. Toddler kept telling me he wanted to "say 'hi' to the mom".  By that he meant the woman sitting behind us making flirty eyes at him.  I didn't want to turn around and look at her before I answered the question, because I figured that would be pretty rude.  I mean, if she looked ugly, was I going to say no?  I just quietly prayed that whoever she was, she was old enough to appreciate being called a "mom".  Thankfully, she was.  The 20-something in the seat next to her was not, however, when he tried the same stunt on her.  She was not amused.

And then we went home.

The end.


Dazee Dreamer June 7, 2010 at 10:06 AM  

I love the thoughts of little kids. I would much rather him them talk and ask questions, than most adults. At least they are sincere.

Karin Kysilka June 8, 2010 at 12:10 PM  

I will admit, it is a lot easier listening to wat pops out of a Toddler's mouth when you aren't the adult in charge. I am reminded of a story that happened while I was about 22 that I think will need to become my next Toddler-isms posts.

Wait for it.....

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