What I Imagined Parenting in DC To Be Like

Five and half years ago when I found out that we were going to be moving to the DC area for Alex’s job, I was kinda sad. In my mind DC was gray and dirty and unfriendly. And on the East Coast, which is obviously NOT the Left Coast, therefore inherently inferior.

(I still believe that last part, by the way.)

Even though I was worried about what DC might be like, I was always happy that “there’ll be a lot to do with my kids at least.” Because the Smithsonian! And the seat of government! And Metro trains!

But then I moved here and realized that there is no way in hell I am willing to take three kids on the metro and into the city by myself. I realized that if I did such a thing, I would probably lose at least one of my kids (Jack), maybe two (Jack and Quinn). I would also listen to a lot of whining (Sam…okay, and me.) Plus I would have to carry someone a long distance (Quinn).

But, check it: I have one kid now. Well, one kid and a nasty cell phone habit, but on any given day, it is likely that I will have one (or less) kid until 3:15. So when my ambitious friend Miss L suggested we take advantage of my reduced numbers of children yesterday and go to the Air and Space Museum, I uncharacteristically said yes.

Throwing aside any vestiges of dignity, we blew our “local mom” disguises by taking photos on the Metro. I think if you do that, it doesn’t matter where you live, you automatically qualify as “tourist mom.”

Turns out I was right about the gray and dirty though.

We had a lot of fun, although it turns out that three-year-olds are apparently incapable of using their legs to walk. I don’t know what museum is right outside the Metro stop, but next time we’re going to that one. It seems like it took us six years to get the museum and even then we had to bribe the munchkins with overpriced ice cream.

Science, schmience. This was Quinn’s high point.

You may notice I haven’t mentioned the actual substance of the museum. That’s because although I remember being there, I don’t remember much actual learning or noticing of exhibits going on. I do know that we visited way more than one bathroom and that we bought a fair amount of expensive food and that the word “behind” said over and over to Quinn on the ride home made him laugh hysterically, but I don’t remember a hell of a lot interest in such things as “exhibits.”

But it was good. I feel a little bad that I’ve given up entirely on teaching culture to my older children, but after this mostly successful trip to The Big City, Quinn is going to start experiencing a crapload of culture.

Obi Wan Quinnobi, patrolling the Mall.

17 thoughts on “What I Imagined Parenting in DC To Be Like

  1. When I lived in No Virginia I kinda took the Mall for granted. We took all of our visitors to the museums and the monuments, but we never went and just enjoyed it for ourselves. I didn’t think I’d miss it when we moved away, but I really do. Especially the Korean War memorial, it got to me every time I saw it.

  2. OK then, this is inspiring me on our planned December trip to DC. H has a conference and we felt it was an unprecedented opportunity to educate our own children about all that important historicalpolitical stuff. Right?

    Probably will be about as successful as when I took the three of them to Disney World (during a conference, of course); ages 5,3 and 4 months.

    Good times fitting double joggers in restrooms.

  3. Whew. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is afraid to take more than one child on the Metro. When we bought our house we were excited that it was walking distance to the Metro, which I guess was nice before we had kids, but now? They would DIE of exhaustion before we walked the .5 mile to the station, much less wherever we were going after the Metro-ride. (And the thought of having to beg someone to use one of those secret Metro bathrooms…ew.) Culture, smultchure.

  4. I have always been disappointed with the A&S museum. It’s a little boring. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl. My favorite place is the museum of natural history (which, btw, is one of the closer ones to the metro stop).

    Seriously, what is up with the cost of food from those vendors?! I always feel like I need an ‘I’m not a tourist, give me the REAL price’ button or something. Sheesh.

  5. Try Natural History. It’s harder to miss the exhibits. When I was young, these places were practically deserted during the week, but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. Right next to the Smithsonian stop is the Freer Gallery (and the Sackler), so perhaps Quinn will become enamoured of Asian art, like me. :)

    The Smithsonian used to offer really awesome classes for little guys, you should check into that. They were totally awesome when I was a kid, but really difficult to get into.

    I should ride up on teh VRE one day. It’d be fun. :)

  6. Whenever we try to take our three (and when I say “we” I mean TWO parents – I would never try to do this by myself) to a museum, we seem to spend most of our time in the cafeteria. If you asked me what my children liked best so far in their trips to the Smithsonian, I’d have to say the people mover/moving sidewalk thing connecting the two wings of the National Gallery. But the waterfall is a close second. Art? What’s that?

  7. When Jake was three, the train was the excursion. We’d VRE to Union station, eat food court lunch, play at the train store and take the train home.

    PS: You can DRIVE to the A&S museum in Chantilly .

    xoxo, SG

  8. know it!
    On our last trip to that museum- it also took SO long to walk there from metro, had to get ice cream and the highlight of the ‘museum’ : getting to eat McDonald’s for lunch in the foodcourt :)

  9. If you get off at Federal Center Southwest, you can walk 3 blocks to the Botanical Gardens. Until it gets too cold, the Children’s Garden there is open where kids can plant stuff, water it, and generally make a mess. At least that’s what my toddler does while my infant eats the dirt. Once it’s too cold, it’s like a trip outside – but you’re inside – so not freezing. Then, you can enjoy endless rides up and down the elevator in the big exhibit hall – and walking along the catwalk there. Very cool for the little people.

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