We are so lucky to live in the city that houses the children's museum that is ranked number one in the entire country. We of course have become members, and it is a place that the boys and I frequent. Regardless, I apparently now have a three-year-old who has made his own agenda and is no longer afraid of the threat of kidnappers.
As soon as we pulled in to the parking lot we noticed our friends getting out of their car, which sent The Boy into hysterics since he was still strapped in to a moving vehicle and his friend was getting ready to walk in without him. After that slight crisis was solved by their actual waiting for us so we could walk in together, the chaos began.
CJ and his friend have known each other since they were babies. His mother used to be CJ's full time babysitter, and not only does she find time to shower and put together an outfit every day, but she always seems to have complete control of her two children. (I, on the other hand, was not only rocking some sweaty gym clothes in addition to the ponytail-slash-headband look in my hair that's too short for either, but I also had to ask her for an extra diaper before I even had the chance to say hello). CJ and friend have opposite personalities, and really don't even see each other all that often. It's actually kind of weird that they get along as well as they do.
Now, we have been to this place so many times that we have our routine pretty well rehearsed. The only thing that has been throwing it off over the past couple visits is the new-found fascination with Superheroes and the fact that the life-sized collection is all the way in the back. (Skip every single thing that Ty likes just to go see a gigantic Iron man first? Ah, decisions, decisions...)
Well today, it really didn't matter what we usually do, because CJ was on a quest to impress. Not only is he usually deathly afraid of any child over the age of 5 in a public place (I'm guessing it has something to do with a fear of being trampled), but he NEVER leaves my side at the museum. If today's visit was any indication of this brand new "I'm three now" personality, I promise to no longer make inappropriate comments about parents who walk their children using leashes disguised as animal-shaped backpacks. In fact, I may purchase a few. And use them.
Every single time I thought we were settled in to play, I would get Ty out of his stroller, start a conversation with my friend, and then look around only to find that CJ had decided to show his friend something new (even though it's quite possible his friend goes there more than even we do), and chances were great that what he was showing him was something he had literally NEVER done or cared about before. Like climbing UP the railing in the Berenstein Bears room, for example. That was a new one. (But he has sticky hands like Spiderman, so he can climb stuff. Duh.)
Perhaps the highlight of my day was when we were in a room where CJ really never spends too much time. We played in the fake sand box, and made the huge fairy tale giant talk and wave his arms. As I thought we were heading out, he told his friend to follow him. The friend kept playing where he was, and CJ started climbing the stairs of a huge pirate ship. By the time I asked the friend to climb up with me to go get him (approximately 7 seconds later), I got to the top only to find him NOWHERE. Not in the secret room, or on the rickety bridge. Not around the corner, or headed back down the stairs. O.M.G. I thought my kid got kidnapped. (Well, I didn't REALLY think that, but he totally could have). Just as I was about to start freaking out about my lost child who never leaves his mama's side, I saw one of the 8 million workers reach her arm out in a sweeping motion and a little blur of tan go squealing past her fingertips. And it wasn't a squeal as in, "I'm desperate to find my mother." No, it was a squeal of pure delight that not only had he broken free from my lock, but was too fast for her, too. She looked around with frantic eyes, and I called out, "I'm his mother". Her response: "Well, you have to stay with him". Oh really? Stay with your small child in a crowded public place? I never would have thought. Thanks for the parenting tip.
After that fiasco we decided to go eat. My friend had of course, packed healthy lunches for herself and her well behaved children. My kids on the other hand were forced to wait as I picked the item off the kids' menu that seemed to have the least amount of sodium. (Well, and a side of fries. Whatev. I really do feed my kids nutritious foods. Honestly, I do.) We almost made it through the whole meal problem-free until Ty, unbeknown to me, stuck the entire cap from his apple juice in to his mouth. Choking, but unable to cough and then crying and yelling with it still in his mouth, I reached in and yanked it out. A mother stopped her stroller and said to me with her nicely put together face, "oh my, is he ok?" Yes, almost unconscious, but ok. Thanks for your fake concern, and making me feel even less competent.
So with one kid who could have gotten himself abducted, and the other who could have choked to death, we headed to the car. After all that excitement, it was nap time. The happiest hour of my day.