Friday, June 01, 2012

Traveling with 4 children

This summer I plan to keep the darlins' busy, busy so they don't climb the walls of the house.  Literally.  The hallway walls had footprints up the sides.  Everyday we will go somewhere, parks, pools, museums, nature trails, the library.  We are taking the Texas Nature Challenge  for central Texas, and our team name is Ellisaurus.  [Friends in San Antonio: there's an Alamo region challenge too and it looks pretty fun.]

On Wednesday, after Isaac's speech therapy, I'd planned an excursion to the Texas Memorial Museum on UT's campus.  Before we left on I sent all the children to the bathroom and felt secure that we'd make it 20 minutes in the car- no problem!  HA!  Seventeen minutes down the road I heard a small voice in the back, "I gotta use the bathroom, now!"  Really?  "Squeeze your fists sweetie, we're almost there!"  "Okay, but I gotta go!"  We were only two minutes away.  She continued to update me on the dire situation and while thus distracted, I missed our turn. That mistake added another 2 minutes to the trip to navigate all the one-way streets.  Isaac then piped in that he had to use bathroom too.  Right. Now.

We found the museum and then tried to find parking for the general public.  A little ways down the street there was a parking garage, but I knew there was no way the small fry would make it in the time it took us to find parking and walk back to the museum.  New plan, McDonald's!  Colleges are always fast food hot spots, right?

"I need to use the bathroom!"  [Moans and wails from the backseat]

"Why didn't you go before we left?"

"I did!  But I have to go again!"

"Need pee!  Need pee!"  [Isaac]

"Mom this car trip is taking forever!  Have we been in the car for hours?"

"No, Matthew, about 20 minutes."

[Corinna joins in on the cacophony.  Greeeat.]

Finally we pulled into McDonald's and the three big kids launched themselves out of the car and raced to the bathrooms while I got Bubbles out of her car seat.

It was just as well that we stopped there, because then they were all thirsty and hungry.  Of course!

The museum was just right for the children.  It was small so we could see it all before interested waned.  We virtually had the whole museum to ourselves, and only saw three other people.  It had four floors so that meant elevators (button pushing is a highlight for Isaac) and each floor was devoted to natural things found in Texas.  Best of all?  It was free.  Matthew and Melissa are really into rocks, bones and fossils.  The first floor had the fossils, meteorites, and cave findings.  Isaac liked to roar! at the dinosaur bones.

Here he is posing with a model ancient sea-turtle.

The second floor had geodes, rocks, gemstones including a massive geode filled with amethyst crystals.

The third floor was the taxidermy floor with all kinds of native Texas wildlife ranging from mountain lions, bears, and deer to butterflies, beetles, reptiles and amphibians.  Isaac liked this floor too.

Lastly, the floor floor was the evolution and genetics floor. Matthew saw Gregor Mendel mentioned and got excited, "Hey we have a book about him at home!  He pollinated the yellow and green peas!  He showed that kids inherit traits from their parents."  Bingo.

Melissa comparing her foot to a chimpanzee's foot.

Pretending to be knuckle walking chimps.

They were good in the museum so we made a stop by the gift shop before leaving.  Matthew and Melissa agonized over what small thing to purchase, but Isaac knew right away.  He got a small bag, filled it with polished rocks, and was good to go.  He's taken those rocks with him everywhere the last few days and proudly shows them off to anyone who asks what he has.

The verdict?  It is not about the journey, but the destination when traveling with wee ones.  Not looking forward to all the driving we'll be doing this summer!  (Brian, I really love you, but Houston for the wedding?  Sigh.)

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