Alternatively Titled: “Stimey and Her Stupid Fucking Hubris”
Oh, he looks like he can be quiet:
Today was the day the little dudes and I were scheduled to take a tour of the capitol building. Why were you all so encouraging when I told you I had signed up to do this with them? Why weren’t you all, “Hey, you moron, things are going to go really, really badly for you! Snap out of it!”
Why didn’t you say that?
No…you were all “the capitol tour sounds great,” and “good reminder to take advantage of all the stuff so close by,” and “yay for Camp Stimey! YAY!!!”
Thanks a lot, assholes.
I was high off of finding a $3 for 2 hours parking spot only four blocks from the Capitol when the security guard turned us away from the visitor center for trying to sneak in a weapon. I’d forgotten all about the miniature life hammer I keep on my keychain. I should have taken it as a sign.
The guard told me that I had to take the blade back outside and that he “couldn’t tell me what to do with it once it’s outside” and “it’s up to you, what you do with it outside.”
I think he was using code to try to tell me something about how I could get around the rules. I couldn’t figure out if he meant that I should hide it deep within my purse or try to use it to take a hostage and bully my way in, but I was too fucking dumb to figure it out.
So I hid it in a corner crevice in hopes that it would still be there when I came back out.
After that, security went mostly smoothly other than the fact that Jack almost got away from us.
We were still standing in line in the visitor center waiting for our tour’s turn to see the introductory movie when it really hit home about how badly this was going to go for me. Like any good mom, I then turned away from my children and reached out to my twitter support group:
The movie didn’t go too badly, and I think Sam actually learned some stuff. Then we headed off to the rotunda where we had exactly one moment of awe and wonderment. This moment:
I don’t know if it was the other seven million people in the rotunda with us, the echoing noise, or what, but Jack and Quinn retreated to a statue of James Garfield and Jack started compulsively tracing the etching with his finger.
Quinn moved around the statue one way. I went around the other way to intercept him. During the .06 seconds he was out of my sight, he stepped up onto the bottom of the pedestal of the statue and then plummeted to the ground.
Commence sobbing, frantic hugging, and shrieks of, “I want to go home! I want to go home!” (From Quinn, not me, I swear.)
Cue Sam, who hears someone complaining, and chimes in with “I want to go home! I want to go home!”
Notice Jack, who is pointing at some room the tour doesn’t go to and saying, “I want to go in that room! I want to go in that room!”
We hung in for the tour’s visit to The Statuary Room with the Listening Spot (a.k.a. The Room with All the Statues in which the Tour Guide Made Us Stand in a Claustrophobic Little Huddle to Hear Absolutely Nothing Because There Were Seven Million People in the Room) mainly because I didn’t know how to get back to the visitor center.
Although I did see one woman leave holding a plastic bag under her vomiting child’s face, so I guess we didn’t have the worst tour of the day.
As far as I can tell, there was at least one more stop on the tour, in a room with something like six hallways branching off from it. Our first guess was wrong, but our second guess led us straight back to the visitor center and this statue of Freedom (hallelujah!), which is a copy of one that sits atop the Capitol Dome.
It was here that another tourist saw me rolling my eyes and apologized, thinking she’d stood in the way of my camera. I had to assure her that, no, in fact I was rolling my eyes at my horrible children.
We departed the visitor center and Jack finally started to have fun by chasing what were possibly the slowest moving pigeons in the world.
While wondering how long exactly my shirt had been unbuttoned (Maybe that was why that older gentlemen in the rotunda had been so nice to me?), I looked at my watch to discover that I had ten minutes to hustle my three tired kids to the car before our meter ran out.
We started moving fast, me holding Jack and Quinn’s hands because, left to their own devices, they MEANDER. VERY. SLOWLY. We were in the middle of crossing a street when a combination of my momentum, the hand holding, and Quinn’s unfortunate act of stumbling led to my pretty much hurling him face first flat into the asphalt.
That’s some quality parenting there, people.
We were late getting back to our car, but we didn’t get a ticket. (Phew.)
So, to sum up, I will give you my recommendation for Touring the U.S. Capitol With Children. And my recommendation is: Maybe don’t do it.
I think that going to see the Capitol is a great idea. Maybe play on the lawn, take a picnic, stare at the very cool architecture. Based on my experience with a four-, six-, and almost eight-year-old, I would say that eight is probably a good age to start touring the Capitol. And let me be clear: your youngest child should be eight.
All in all, this wasn’t the worst experience we’ve had. But neither was it the best. I’ll tell you how it goes next time we visit, in 2013.