Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Kids Are Not "Museum Kids"—Or "Out in Public Kids"

I don't quite know how this shit always happens to me. I don't think I'm that bad of a mom. I don't think I'm neglectful in public. I try really hard. My kids aren't bad kids. They try really hard. Why always the drama then?

My guys and I went to see the Terra Cotta Warriors at the National Geographic Museum today (maybe yesterday by the time you read this). It was a very cool exhibit and I got to go with my friend E and her two kids and also Urban Mama and her little trio.

In an effort to prove that it's not all my fault that the Team Stimey portion of this trip was a little chaotic, I will now present to you a list of things that went wrong, with the implication that they are clearly not my fault.

1. The exhibit took place in the middle of DC.

2. Our tickets were for 5:30 p.m., a.k.a. rush hour.

3. You try navigating your way to this museum at 5 p.m. what with all the one-way streets and no-left-turn signs. It took me a looooong to time to triangulate in on the museum.

4. At which point I realized that I was never going to be able to find parking and that if I left the block it would take me 16 years to close in on the museum again. It was right there, a half block away from the museum and in the full throes of panic that I saw the giant PARK sign. The sign was so enormous, colorful, and noticeable because the people who run the parking garage are presumably able to use their extravagant fees to keep it up to snuff.

5. Quinn fell asleep during the museum triangulation, resulting in extreme surliness. You might notice that I italicized "extreme." There's a reason for that.

6. You know what I remembered at about this time? Oh, right. Shit. My kids are insane, bad at museums, and extra-excitable when five of their friends are nearby.

7. We took a visit to the bathroom and settled in to wait for our friends. At this point, Quinn started to let me know exactly what he thought about everything: "I can't walk! I hate benches! I want to play Super Mario Bros! I love you, Mom! This place is boring! I want to go home!" I'd like to remind you of two things at this point: (a) We hadn't yet entered the museum, and (b) Quinn is batshit crazy.

8. Despite the pre-exhibit trip to the bathroom, Jack demands to go potty five minutes after entering the museum. Fortunately the guard sitting under the "no re-entry" sign takes pity on us and allows us to return to the exhibit after I drag one desperate and two surly children to the bathroom.

9. After leaving the exhibit (absolutely no photography allowed!), I got an awesome photo of my kids and E's kids standing in the one place you can take a photo with a (replica of a) terra cotta warrior. After I got home and tried to download it, my computer ate it and now it's gone. Gone. Sigh. Gone. I made my own version for you so you could see kinda how awesome the photo was.

Here's something else I'm bad at: Photoshop.

10. My kids and I went outside to play in the courtyard, because Fresh air! Ducks! A water feature! Fewer people to bump into outside!

Sam & Quinn and Quinn & Sam.
Those sure are some shiny rocks.

11. I'm standing down at one end of the long, thin strip of water when I see Jack at the other end. He looks determinedly at the water and starts running straight for it. My computer also ate the photo of what happened next. But I recreated it for you with this other photo that I took later. Ignore Quinn's head. And the reflection of Jack (or maybe Sam) in the rock. They are irrelevant to the substance of this recreation. Which is, simply:

Hi, duck friend! Room for one more?

12. Jack was trying to leap across the water. Even from way down at the other end, I could tell that was what he was doing. To someone not tuned in to Jack? It probably looked exactly like he deliberately planted himself in the middle of the water. The kid really stuck his landing.

13. I was rendered speechless. Jack climbed out and then stood there dripping while I both laughed and cried and he explained how he had wanted to jump across. Evidently I am not the only person in my family with poor depth perception and delusions of super abilities.

14. Later, Jack made a bridge with his body. If only he'd chosen this end of the water feature to jump across.

Huh. I don't think that list helped me out any. I still kinda sound like a lunatic. As do my children.

I was talking to my friend ALW today prior to this whole thing, and I said to her, "Man, there must be people all over this country who think to themselves about me, "That girl is a mess!"

Way to prove your point, Stimey.


  1. The whole post was great but I think I like the terra cotta warrior photo recreation best. You have a way with these things.

  2. So, you know how I thought about coming out to visit this summer? Um, yeah, something, important, has come up. Sorry... Maybe?... some other time?

  3. Sadly, it all sounds very normal to me... let's not get your kids and my kids together just yet, ok?

  4. Yeah. Our families should never go somewhere together.

  5. I would love for my kids to hang out with yours. I think team Stimey would be a great influence on Teo! (No sarcasm here!)

  6. I am extremely extremely jealous. I tried to get tickets, and they were gone gone gone. :(

  7. You really do have a set of brass ones, don't you?
    I cannot imagine taking my 2 to the grocery store...let alone a museum!

    Maybe someday we will have to take Team Stimey and the Stilwell Clan out for an adventure and document the hilarity and chaos that ensues.

    We could probably make a reality TV show off that single idea.

    Hey, that gives me an idea...


  8. Must remember not to read your blog at work, because bursting out with laughter is not professional. I have to say, you do really seem like a great mom and your kids seem awesome too. But funny things (well, they're funny to us) do seem to have a way of happening to you, especially when you're out and about with your kids.

  9. You are so brave -- I lately have backed off taking my 2 places because I don't have the energy for the drama.

    I am now inspired which is good because spring break is next week and staying home all the days is really not an option.

    So thanks.

  10. Yeah, just reading about driving around on the one way streets was giving me a panic attack. ;-) This is precisely why we never went to museums, or any place where we had to be civilized.

  11. Wow, well done getting tickets to that exhibit! And your kids sound adorable, I'm sure everyone else just thought you were a lovely family!

  12. Hi, There is also a really nice fountain near the National Gallery, right by the sculpture garden.
    There is ample seating; the fountain is very pleasant during spring and summer, and very convenient to all the Mall museums.

    However, I'm not sure whether they like children to dive into the fountain. Perhaps Jack can try this out. :)

    Also btw, I noticed a couple of weeks ago that street parking in the Mall area is limited to two hours on both weekdays and (now) on Saturday. So, plan ahead.

  13. as always, I am laughing too hard (WITH you, not at you--of course) to type much.

    This is so my life as well. My husband suggested taking the kids to a museum and I said "good luck with that!".

    :) Lisa

    PS: Can I enroll my kids in Camp Stimey?

  14. Oh, my. It's always an adventure and you are far braver than I.

  15. So funny (although not at the time, I'm sure). I'm the mom who drags her 17-month-old toddler to museums, when all she wants to do is run through the halls and yell, "Ahh" so that she can hear the echo. That goes over REALLY well with other museum goers!!

  16. We haven't really even tackled a children's museum yet, so you are really brave. And creative with photoshop! I think I will make our Christmas card picture that way next year and save us all a lot of grief.

  17. The fact that you take your children on so many adventures is exactly why you have some mishaps. It's strictly averages. If other people bravely went where no man ... wait. People like me who didn't take their children out of the house until they were 12 - didn't have the um .. incidents you have had because there were so fewer chances for them to happen.
    (Forgive the tangent and weird tenses please.)

  18. Are you kidding, Stimey? I'm in awe of you. You didn't cry, scream or threaten physical violence when all of that was happening. I think I would've done all three -- at the same time. But seriously, next time we schlep in to a museum in DC it needs to be in the summer, in the daytime ;-)


Thanks for commenting! May you be visited by unicorns and kittens.