Friday, August 13, 2010

I Love Friday the 13th

We have these friends in Richmond who I've mentioned before but who we definitely don't see enough, considering we're only an hour apart. So when I decided we were going to the Children's Museum up there this week, I coordinated a playdate with Wyatt's female match, Lyla. Now, I'm no fool so I mentioned exactly none of this to Wyatt, only telling him last night that we had a surprise day today. Trust me, the questions were abundant, but his enthusiasm was manageable. Had he known we were meeting his best girl it would've been awful.

We got to the museum shortly before lunchtime and Wyatt was like a giant balloon whose air is being let out - pinging from one thing to the next at breakneck speed. I could hardly keep track of him. Natalie was content in her stroller for, oh, I don't know, twenty-seven seconds and then demanded to follow suit. So we were off to the races.

It's a really cool museum and so refreshing to be somewhere that kids can - and should - literally touch EVERYTHING. We started by digging for dinosaur bones and sliding, then raced to the water table and on to the 'apple' tree that sends a jillion red balls up an auger, through thirty different tubes and down the chutes where kids 'harvest' them into their baskets then race back inside to dump them back at the starting line. Nowhere on this tree does it say it's a race, but clearly every. single. kid. believes wholeheartedly it must be done as fast as possible. And approximately 50% of those kids believe screaming is an inherent part of the job.

But then, once Lyla arrived, it was on. Well, actually there was lunch and then it was on. More pinging to check out all the exhibits and more digging and sliding and then we headed to the little farm. But first we suggested Wyatt & Lyla pose in the tree cutouts. It went so well.

Or not. But American Gothic? Yeah, we got that.

And then there's the "let's be monkeys together" pose:

But that was tiring so required a quick rest in the truck.

And please, don't worry about Natalie. She was doing quite nicely on her own. First there was the cow to "milk" (totally cool, I thought, since Wyatt and I have had multiple conversations lately about dairy products and where they come from).

And then there was more sliding:

slip sliding away from Stephanie Rock on Vimeo.

And finally some driving. She's earned her class C truck license through all her practice in the cozy coupe.

Mind you, this was all during naptime. While both kids held it together pretty well, Natalie was physically unraveling. I'm incredibly sorry I don't have any video to show you how her gross motor skills deteriorate as she tires out - kind of like she was having to navigate four-foot swells as she moved through the exhibit. Trust me when I tell you it provided additional comic relief! 

It wasn't all sugar and spice. There were two not-so-brief moments of believing a child was lost (one mine, one not - and FYI, approximately 80% of the boys in attendance were wearing orange shirts and orange crocs. Who knew?) and there were a lot of reminders to not scream for no reason and to not push little sisters, but in the end it was such a great day. So great, in fact, that I loaded my kids into the car and took them to Carytown Cupcakes afterwards.

Let's be honest: I like a cupcake as much as my kids do and I also feel like the whole cupcake shop phenomenon is baffling, so feel compelled to visit them and decipher their magic. I visited one in Annapolis back in May and now this one and will tell you this: they are nothing special. The cupcake today was good - I had lemon blueberry with lemon buttercream and Wyatt chose a lovely red velvet concoction, but at $3 a pop, they didn't floor me. And the sour attitude of the lady behind the counter did nothing to make me feel better about the concept; sorry I brought two kids to your cupcake shop and chose to eat there, didn't realize you'd have such an issue with that. Maybe since I cleaned up all of our crumbs and all of those left before us you could quit being so blatantly disapproving of kids in your store. BUT, there's always a silver lining and this one came in the form of:

True, authentic Japanese treats from Tokyo Market, located right next door to the cupcake shop. It was awesome - like every favorite thing from Japan culled into one little storefront - beverages, candy, packaged groceries, bento sets, cute little dishes, you name it, they had it. And there was Japanese being spoken inside. It warmed my heart. I'm confident Wyatt had no idea why I was more excited about random Japanese stuff than I was by the cupcakes, but whatever. It was awesome (except for the part where Wyatt wanted to know why they were speaking Spanish). One sip and I was back in Okinawa - let me tell you I savored that tea all the way home. And Wyatt? He'll be loving it once I share those chocolate-filled koalas with him!

After two weeks of missteps, backfires and serious frustrations with my little people, today was nearly perfect. I loved today in all its Friday the 13th glory  - for its fun with friends, pleasant surprises, lack of traffic jams, crockpot dinner waiting for us, early bedtimes and cooler weather. If this is the "bad luck" that superstitions foretell, then I say bring it on! 

Wyatt and Lyla say "peace out."

P.S. Lyla's mom, Elizabeth, has written a book - Finding Thalhimers - go check it out!


Mom said...

What fun! But where's the baby girl who wasn't particularly eager to start walking? Will you have a copy of Elizabeth's book? See you soon!

Adrienne said...

What a fun day! Wyatt & Lyla look so cute together! I can't wait to have some fun outings with you too, although I won't promise they will go nearly as smooth. Lyla makes my 4 look like terrors!

The Blake Family said...

Sounds like lots of fun was had!! Love that you found some Japanese treats...we, in the Blake family, continue to try to recreate Tan Tan Man spicy level...uh...whatever level is the top (Cody loved that!!). And we have a great Japanese restaurant that we attend no less than twice a week! I miss those "Japanese things!" glad you enjoyed your tea!!

The Thomas Crew said...

I totally 'get' your love of reminders of Okinawa. They are so fun and familiar. You need to come visit because you can get a lot of that around here, too. :)