Yesterday was Lily Ruth's Fiesta party at Parent's Day Out. On our way there, Lily Ruth spied some giant wooden Pirana that are advertising a museum exhibit. We pass them at least 6 times each week, but she noticed them yesterday... go figure. She saw their pointy, spike-y teeth and announced 'DINOSAURS! 'Uth DINOSAURS!!!'. I reminded her that we were on our way to a party, but told her that we could go the next day.
Well, it's the next day. My budding paleontologist woke up CRANKY and whiney. I reminded her about the dinosaurs. This led to an increase in volume of the whining, and the addition of begging. Great.
It took us an hour and a half to get ourselves together and leave the house. Not a speed record, but not our worst time either. *sigh*
We finally made it to the museum. It was overrun with elementary school groups. I manhandled the stroller in the door, and paid the admission. We strolled into the foyer, and were surrounded by... DINOSAUR BONES! Lily Ruth was in heaven. She leapt from her stroller (well, really I unbuckled her then hauled her out like a sack of potatoes... potato, poh-tah-toe...) and darted around like a hummingbird taking in the (4) dinosaur skeleton replicas and various dinosaur paintings.
Every two or three minutes, a new group of kids would flow around then past us. Lily danced and bobbed through them trying to make eye contact and happily parroting their phrases - 'Look at THAT', 'Oh, that's BIG', 'WOW! Dinosaur bones!' She quickly went into overload.
We eventually wandered upstairs, but mummies, Fiesta gowns and Indian artifacts just can't hold a candle to DINOSAUR BONES, so we went back downstairs. I tried to entice her outside. There are other cool things outside. Beautiful grounds. Interactive exhibits. A science 'treehouse' just for kids. They even have an exhibit that involves getting elbow-deep in water to study our river's ecosystem! No dice. We spent the remainder of our time circling the bones as Lily Ruth muttered to herself about 'T-rexsh' and 'tri-cer-tops' interspersed with roaring (by the way, it is IMPOSSIBLE to stand still when you roar, so photos are almost impossible):
Her whirling brain finally melted down, and she began to sob about dinosaurs and point in random directions. We left under the promise that we would return, and that we would have noodles for lunch.
Her reaction to the older kids reminded me of her first visit to a big playground. We had been to the little playground at the library many times, but this was a full-sized, VERY busy playground. It was a lot like our visit to the museum in that school buses filled to the gills stopped every 10 minutes and disgorged hordes of children. The activity and noise levels stopped Miss Lily Ruth in her tracks. She clung to me and stared. After a few minutes, she tentatively walked over to a piece of equipment and tried to join in. It took a while to insert herself to the action. The kids were quite a bit bigger, a lot faster and more agile than her, but she was in heaven.
She finally worked up the nerve to climb up to the spiral slide. I couldn't fit up there, so she had to go on her own. She got to the top, sat down on the slide... and froze. I couldn't reach her. I couldn't get to her from behind, and the top of the slide was over my head. She wasn't crying, but she wasn't moving. The line behind her wrapped around the structure, and down the side. Teachers were blowing whistles to call their students back, but there was no way that they were leaving without one last trip down that slide. Lily Ruth's wide eyes began to show signs of panic, and the kids behind her began to mutter.
I finally got the attention of the boy behind her 'Hey, would you mind giving her a little push to start her down the slide?' He looked at me like I had just suggested that he throw her off the Chrysler building and shook his head - 'no way'. The kid behind him snaked an arm around his side, and gave her a quick, gentle but firm shove 'no problem'. She sailed down the slide and grinned at me like the Cheshire Cat. I scooped her up and out of the way as children flowed down the slide and off the playground. My baby was one of the big kids.