Saturday, February 23, 2008

Next Saturday, You're On You're Own

“Mom, there’s nothing to do.”

“We could go to a museum.”

It doesn’t matter that they’ve been to the Air and Space Center countless times and loved every trip to the Natural Museum of History and spent hours poring over exhibits at various Civil War battle grounds, the answer remains as timeless as it is predictable.

“That’s boring.”

It puzzles me as a adult, for I know the same answer would have escaped my lips at their age every time and yet I know I loved those places with their well done dioramas, ancient texts, odd collection of buttons and tools and jewelry, I loved them, I loved them, I loved them, and so do my children.

And yet here are my own progeny fighting against what suspiciously feels like an “educational” field trip instead of a weekend treat.

Nevertheless, the gauntlet has been laid down, and I have given my marching orders. They said they were bored, so I’m going to entertain them. “Get in the car.”

Like opening a book that I tell them is good, they grudgingly pile into the van.

“Will we get lunch?”

Not wanting a direct mutiny on my hands, I agree. The kids spend the entire duration of the driving time to the museum discussing what they will eat and how much money they brought for the gift shop. “Museums are only fun if you get souvenirs.” My son explained. I smile and pretend he’s right.

Sure enough, the planes hanging from the ceiling, the uniforms behind the plastic casing and the actual rock from the moon they can touch sufficiently shock and awe even my jaded oldest into the wide-eyed-this-is-the-greatest-way-to-spend-a-Saturday-jazzed-by-everything kids that I know them to be. For an hour, all is bliss as we peruse “Women in Flight,” discuss past history of aviation and even reveal a touch of personal history, our own friend that happens to be a pilot in the armed forces.

As hunger pains rear their ugly heads, the glow of the museum fades just a touch, but the onsite Museum McDonalds cures all, even growly attitudes from an eight year old sulking that he couldn’t purchase the $89.00 Lego kit of the Space Shuttle.

Munching on french fries, the kids examine their treasures, plastic planes, stickers, a coloring book and few models and magazines. It takes considerable adult pull to convince the kids not to start assembling their planes in the restaurant.

Like any sensible adult at an education excursion, I throw out an open ended question to facilitate further insight and discussion. We adults are boringly predictable that way. “What did you like best at the museum?”

“The French fries.”
“The Lego Shuttle I couldn’t get.”

“The IMAX movie of Harry Potter Order of the Phoenix which we could go to if you bought tickets.”

“I mean,” I start breathing deeply, trying to avoid becoming annoyed, “of the things we saw.”


"The Shuttle.”
“The Big plane that was the Fastest in the World!”
“I still want to go on the simulation. It looked cool.”

Trying to ignore the technical answer by the eleven year old, after all, she did “see” people waiting in line for the simulation ride, I throw out a different line of thought. “Did it make you think about what you would like to do when you grow up?”

“I’m going to be a pilot when I grow up.” Says my five year old daughter brightly.
“I’m going to be an astronaut.” My son has to up the ante.
“Oh yeah, I’m going to pilot the Space Shuttle to the Space Center.” says one of his two older sisters, trying to win.

“Well, I’m going to run this museum so I can test all the planes.” says the other.

Everyone looks at her in silent envy. “No fair. You got the good job.”

Maybe next week, I’ll let them be bored.

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