DCMM: The Lowest Common Denominator

Before I moved to the DC area four years ago I bought a bunch of books to ensure my success. Books with titles like Washington D.C. With Kids or Around Washington D.C. With Kids or Fodor’s Washington D.C. With Kids. You get the picture. (And see how truly original the travel guide industry is.)

Then I moved here with my 21-month-old son and my 2-month-old son, and less than two years later, had a third son, and those books are gathering dust on my shelf. Because while DC may have amazing places to take kids, I am deathly afraid to take my ill-mannered brood anywhere.

And it’s not really because they’re soooo badly behaved. They’re three kids under six years old and subject to the Lowest Common Denominator Rule (each child’s behavior will drop down to the same level as that of the child who is misbehaving the most). I mostly don’t take them to busy places like the Smithsonian museums because I’m slightly afraid that I’d come home with fewer kids than I set out with.

I went to a farmers’ market a couple weeks ago, and while we all made it out together, rest assured that my family will be eating factory-farm produce until the youngest is at least five.

One of the biggest problems (other than the LCD Rule) is that one of my kids is a fast walker, one of my kids is a slow walker, and one of my kids is a do-my-legs-work?-I’d-much-prefer-to-be-carried walker. So I do a lot of yelling, “Slow down, Sam! Catch up, Jack! Put your feet on the ground, Quinn!” This is why we don’t do things like take the Metro very often. Sam would jump on a train, Quinn and I would be running for the platform, and Jack would still be back inspecting the ticket machine.

I’ll be posting here now and again as a contributing writer. Keep your eye out for me around town, because I’m quite a scene. I’m loud, often gesticulating wildly, and usually swearing under my breath.

Jean also blogs at Stimeyland.

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