Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The children's museum and the parenting exhibit

Day three of the family road trip had one, and only one, objective. Go to and enjoy the hell out of the Portland Children's Museum. This time is was me and the kids sans wife. She had to attend more work meetings which meant I was the sole parental entertainer for the day. I had the plan and it was going to work to perfection or there was going to be hell to pay!

OK, that is a little extreme, but a little extra drama could be good for the ratings, right? After we all kissed my wife goodbye I jumped in the bathroom for the s, s & s, got dressed, got the kids dressed, made sure everyone brushed their teeth, packed up the stuff, took three trips to pack up the car, double checked the room, got the kids packed in the car, forgot the glasses from the room were in the car, make another trip to the room, triple checked everything, got back into the car and hit the road for our big day.

We arrived at the C.M. and found the same parking chaos that greeted us the day before at the zoo. Don't people in Portland work for crying out loud? And if they don't then shouldn't they be saving their money instead of paying to see the local attractions? Actually, we only had to look for a spot for about 10 minuets so not too bad. The kids were still fired up and we were ready for fun.

Now, I'm sure you are thinking "kid's museum, why in the hell would you subject yourself to that?" "are there exhibits of ugly kids, asshole kids, fat kids next to tall kids?" No, nothing like that, but it is a place that parents can turn their kids loose and catch up with them several hours later without having to lift a finger, answer a question or do anything remotely resembling parenting. In other words...a little vacation within the vacation.

What is great is that while you, the parent, can take a break from parenting your own kids, you can observe other parents either doing or not doing the same thing. Some parents just can't let little Jimmy do anything on his own so they are their, helping him mold his clay, shoot the water gun and get dressed in silly costumes. Poor kid probably hasn't wiped his own ass, ever. Then there are the parents who do such a good job of "non-parenting" they don't notice when their sweet baby is tearing apart the exhibits or eating the fake rocks or kicking the poor volunteer who thought "helping kids" was what they wanted to spend their retirement years doing...poor bastards!

I think I fall somewhere in-between. Staying out of my kids hair long enough for them to feel a little Independence yet keeping enough of one eye on them to make sure they see mom in one piece later that afternoon. Plus, I can just enjoy relaxing, something that family road trips are not known for.

Day 4 tomorrow, bring on your best Seattle...cause we are coming!


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